It has been a long time since I got some E-Liquid to review, and what a batch to return to. I first checked out Black Note in the middle of last year, with the release of their range of tobacco flavored E-Liquids, and I was blown away by the qaulity they offered. From their product, to their business model to the way they look after their customers, Black Note are the benchmark by which I judge all other tobacco e liquid firms.
I quit smoking tobacco a number of years ago, switched to smoking E-Liquid, and after some initial difficulty found it to be an excellent replacement. But even if I go my entire life without smoking another cigarette I know I am a smoker. There is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance in the following paragraph, but if you are or were a smoker you will get what I am talking about. Smoking tobacco is akin to drinking wine. There are nuances that you would not pick up on unless you were an addict. To a normal person it just smells bad, tastes bad and is overall a terrible thing. But to the smoker it is a small joy. An experience unique, and while I know that a large part of this poetic description is coming from a place of addiction, I also know that not all of it is.
When I made the switch to E-Liquid I started out with a tobacco flavored blend. One that was marketed as being a close match for my preferred tobacco blend. A Virginia style tobacco, with notes of ginger and a touch of sweetness. What I got was a lackluster experience, one that simply tasted bad, and didn’t conjure my sense memories in the same way that an actual smoke would. I quickly moved to menthol, if only for the bite. I didn’t expect much from Black Note when I got the batch, but they really hit the nail on the head. The original blends, all named for music terms, brought me right back to my late teen years, they simply tasted right.
These three are new, Jazz, Reggae and Pop, and they are aiming far more broadly than the core set. Rather than emulating a certain kind of tobacco, Kentucky, Cavendish, Virginian etc, they go for a more broad spectrum smoking experience. Needless to say I was excited to check them out.
I will be using an Aspire Pockex for testing. They are coil based, with a nice heavy duty burn. Nothing too obnoxious, but enough to provide a lot of flavor. Made the switch around the time of my last review and this one is still cooking nicely.
About Black Note
Black Note are a Californian E-Liquid firm that specialize in crafting bespoke quality E-Liquids. They noticed that none of the major E-Liquid makers were really addressing a core issue with the product. The fact that none could provide an experience that matches smoking. Using carefully crafted cold press processing they have managed to extract the nuance of smoking tobacco, and bringing it to the healthier, not healthy, healthier experience of E-Liquid smoking. They donate 1% of their profits to Water.org and the Save the Music Foundation, both excellent charities.
Black Note V Tobacco E-Liquid Breakdown
So I got three new ones to try out. The Jazz, the Pop and the Reggae. I started out with a taste of the Jazz, as it seems to be the closest to the Prelude, a Virginia based blend.
Black Note V Jazz
Oh my god does this one hit the nail on the head. It has the same starting notes as the rest of the range, but the complex flavor comes out in full force. It is lighter than I expected it to be though. I like a good solid hit in the back of the throat, and this one is really more of a light tickle. Not a major downside to my mind, but if you want something a little stronger you are better off looking elsewhere. It reminds of straight up cigarettes rather than tobacco though, and if you have smoked both you know there is a major difference in terms of hit and flavor. The sweetness is here, and for my money it is the best all day smoke of this very fine bunch. Black Note are off to a great start with the Jazz.
Black Note V Pop
Ah, the Pop. Not sure how I feel about this one personally. It is a bit on the rough side for me. The flavor is far closer to pipe tobacco, and I am not a fan of pipe smoke. I love the smell of it, really reminds me of my Grandfather, but it was never my preferred nicotine delivery service. In short bursts though this is a floral masterpiece. There are people out there who will adore this blend, of that I have no doubt, and for the intermittent smokers it is perfect. If you want something a little smokey, haha, spiced in the initial pull but leading to a more floral/ fruity finish, with a damn fine back end kick, then Pop is the go to Black Note blend for you.
Black Note V Reggae
You’d think that Reggae was made for me. It seems to combine my favorite things, Menthol and Virginia blend tobacco, but it sadly isn’t the case. The mint is a little over powering, almost drowning out the Virginia, with little other than the sweetness of Virginia coming through. The back end hit is damn nice though, hitting that middle ground perfectly, and clearing the old sinuses at the same time. The issue with menthol based blends is that you are never going to get all the notes of the symphony. Menthol overrides the cell membrane, and sends cold signals to the nervous system. For me it undercuts the point of the blend. By no means is this a bad E-Liquid, and it is certainly more complex than any other menthol I have tested, and I have tested a lot of them, but I would go for the Pop and the Jazz before the Reggae, if only for their complexity.
Black Note V Tobacco E-Liquid Pricing and Warranty
And the price. Black Note make the best, and so you can expect to pay a bit of a premium for their goods. It’s fairly priced though, and well worth paying. Each of the V series of E-Liquids comes in at $23 per 30ml. I’m a bit of an all day smoker, so that $23 would last me the guts of a week, which is a little more than I used to pay, but honestly I don’t notice the added expense. I took a look through their site, hoping to find a new Ensemble price package, but they don’t have one. if you want to try out all three then you have to buy them on their own. I mentioned last time that Black Note really should start a subscription service, with a half dozen bottles a month, but it seems that idea is a long way off.
The warranty is actually amazing. I have talked about Black Note’s dedication to customer satisfaction before, but no where is that more evident than in their warranty. If you look at other firms they tend to be a little cavalier with your money. Once they get it, that’s it. No recourse for crap products. With Black Note, not only do they sell the best, but if you don’t like it they will pay to have it returned, and give you a full refund. More than that you have 90 days to make your choice. I review a lot of different products, part of the whole gig here, so I have read an awful lot of warranties in a lot of different markets, and this is the only one that matches the quality of those on offer in the direct to consumer mattress market. Top notch.
The price is terrific. Depending on how you smoke you could be looking at as little as $13 per week, and considering the price of rolling tobacco or cigarettes that is a major saving. Considering the price of cheap low grade E-Liquid you might be looking at a little more per week, but the quality more than makes up for the added expense. The warranty is great, and speaks volumes about Black Note’s customer service in general. Great all round here.
Black Note V Tobacco E-Liquid Conclusion
It has been a long time since I had this much fun reviewing a product. Most of what I get these days are inexpensive phones, or coffee makers, so it’s nice to get to test out something I am actually passionate about. Knowing that all those years smoking, getting used to flavors, finding the nuances, rolling just right, were not a complete waste of time is an added bonus. The Black Note V series, the Jazz, Pop and Reggae, are fine additions to the Black Note stable, complimenting the core range with some nice experience based E-Liquids, rather than tobacco blend E-Liquids. Granted they are all tobacco blends, but these are less rigid in terms of their flavor profile.
If you want the best tobacco E-Liquid on the market then you have to at least test out Black Note’s range, and this new V series is an excellent introductory flavor set to try out.