I have been looking forward to this one. I quit smoking tobacco a number of years ago, moved onto to smoking E-Liquid instead. Even before I began smoking a knew the hazards, and for the life of me I don’t know why I started. When you first smoke tobacco you don’t like it, it tastes foul. The same is true of alcohol in my opinion. Eventually you acclimate to the flavor, you begin to notice the nuance, and with tobacco products that is spurred along by the addiction. Of course the price of cigarettes in my neck of the woods is a little on the high side, so I made the move to self rolled smokes. I miss it, I think a part of me will always miss the old roll ups. Buying a good tobacco, getting the right gauge of papers so as to impart as little flavor onto that golden brown as possible. Making sure it’s an even load and rolling it just right. And the smells. There comes a time when you stop smelling the bad and only smell the good, different tobaccos have different notes to them, like wines or beers. My go to smoke was a Virginia blend, a little sweet, hints of ginger, but mellow with a smooth draw. I dabbled in all kinds over the years, and now after the fact all that knowledge seems wasted. My go to E-Liquid is a simple menthol, low nicotine, something to just give me that bite in the throat. I tried tobacco flavored E-Liquids at the start, pretty sure most of us who make the switch do, but the flavors just could not match up, it seemed pointless to try. That all changed when I got a case of Black Note E-Liquid in the mail.
Black Note have looked at the current E-Liquid market and saw something missing. A good tobacco flavored product. Something that could replicate the flavors, but without the massively increased risk of cancer and heart disease. They have devised an excellent method of extracting the subtler flavors of a variety of blended tobaccos, and I have to say off the bat, they nailed it. I bought me a case of their products, one of everything and have spent the last two days trying them all out.
I bought a new vape pen the other day, an Aspire Pockex. I used to run with a cheap Chinese Nautilus and I wanted something with a similar draw. The Pockex uses the same coil types, and while it burns a little hotter than I am used to, for day to day addiction sating vaping it does the job.
About Black Note
Black Note are a California based E-Liquid company that specialize in making the most authentic tobacco e-Liquid on the market. I have looked into their methods and their mission statement. The whole thing is a little grandiose, but I think they are sincere when they talk about their passion for tobacco. One of the things they do right is their charity initiatives. They donate 1% of their profits to Water.org and the Save the Music Foundation, both excellent charities.
Black Note Tobacco E-Liquid Breakdown
I bought a complete set of their E-Liquids to try out, and did so one at a time. They have 6 different varieties, if you include their Quartet. The Quartet is a limited run item, so I was glad to be able to check it out. The Ensemble package comes with the lot, so you can figure out which of their blends you like best. Love when firms offer package deals like this, makes it much easier to review.
Black Note Quartet
Quartet is Black Note’s Latakia tobacco blend, and let me tell you, it was something else. I have only smoked the real stuff the once, I found even the blended Latakia tobacco I tried to be a little on the strong side. I remember being bowled over by the initial mouth, rich and spicy, but the inhale was like getting punched in the chest. With the Quartet I still got that full, spicy taste, smoked woods too, but the inhale was only slightly sharper than other E-Liquids. It was comfortable, but not nostalgic. Not favorite of the bunch, but if you want the blend with the most traditional kick this is a great option.
Black Note Prelude
Probably should have started with this one, but I really wanted to try the Latakia one first. I am far more familiar with the feel and taste of Virginia tobacco. It was my go to, my day to day. Smoking this E-Liquid was like returning to an old friend. It was missing something, and I am now convinced that I conflated the taste and smell of the burning paper with the tobacco itself. This blend had what I was looking for, airy and sweet, hints of ginger even, the whole hog. If you are looking for an all day smoke this is my pick.
Black Note Forte
Burley tobacco was my second most smoked. A rougher hit, less sweet than the Virginia, far more earthy, but that roughness came with its own sort of satisfaction. It feels like what it’s called, burly. The Forte hits as hard, but stops short of shredding the way the Latakia does. Burley based blends were used by most of my friends back in the day, so it was always a shared experience more than anything else. Tasting this brought that all the way back, I have that connection in my brain. It brought back memories, one of the reasons I’ve had such fun with these E-Liquids, and if you are more used to Kentucky blends then this is a great option.
Black Note Sonata
Sonata is based on the Cavendish curing method. It is the E-liquid I was most concerned about, due to the fact that the flavors are derived from the curing process itself, rather than from the blend of tobacco. I had never heard of the Cavendish method, so for a brief few minutes I thought this was a banana flavored blend. Without tasting the original I can’t tell you how close this is, but I found the draw so sweet. It was lighter on the draw than I thought it would be, and if you are after something almost candy like this is the closest you’ll find from Black Note.
Black Note Legato
The Legato confuses me. They claim it is a Kentucky blend grown in Italy, and I am not going to argue, but when I think Kentucky tobacco I think Burley. I imagine growing it in Italy impacts the flavor, so again I am sitting here unable to compare to the real thing, as I have never had an unspecified Kentucky blend grown in Italy in real life before. This was the least sweet to me, I like the smoked flavors, with that strong wooden or dark chocolate undertones. It scratched on the throat, but again, lightly. One of the nice things about E-Liquid when it’s done right is that it can scratch, but it seldom bits on the way down. A great one to sit and chill with a Guinness or a single malt.
Black Note Solo
Ah, the least interesting one to me. A menthol E-liquid. It uses the core Virginia blend overladen with fresh mint during the extraction process. To me that diminishes the tobacco flavors, but not in a complementary way the Cavendish does. I was never a menthol smoker, I thought they were something of a cop out, you acquire the taste for the thing that’s killing you or you don’t damn well do it. I get the market they are aiming at with this one, but the whole thing left me cold.
Black Note Tobacco E-Liquid Pricing and Warranty
Now the price. This is a premium tobacco E-liquid, so you can’t expect a pair of bottle for a tenner. I advise your first purchase be one of the package deals. There are three options to choose from. The Classical Notebook, which comes with the Prelude, Legato, Sonata and the Forte for $39. Those are the core four, so you get access to a nice variety, allowing you to hone in what you want. The second is the wonderfully named Instrumenthol for $49, coming with the aforementioned four plus the menthol. Not as big a pull for me, but if you want to check out something that is very light on the tongue, and will clear your sinuses, then this is a good choice. The full package, dubbed The Ensemble, comes with everything, including the Quartet. I feel you really owe it to yourself to check out the Quartet. It was a bit much for me, but the experience is well worth having, and at $59 it is well priced.
Once you have your option narrowed down you can buy the larger phials of individual blends. The 30ml bottles are $29, but the Quartet is a limited item, so it comes in at $35. I get around 15 refills per 30ml bottle, so with the way I smoke I get a little under 3 weeks per. If you are more conservative you can extend that to a month, but $40 per month is still a good deal. I would like to see them expand into a monthly subscription service, with E-Liquid of your choosing being dispatched in the same way the Dollar Shave Club operate.
Now the warranty. Black Note sell an amazing product, there is literally nothing on the market right now that comes close to their tobacco E-Liquids, so I expected to be let down somewhere. The warranty is where a lot of firms fall flat, but after doing a little digging I have found that their warranty is amazing. You have a 90 day money back guarantee. If you do not like the product for any reason just send them an email, they will pay you to have it returned to them and then give you a full refund. I have reviewed a lot of different products over the last year, and this is the first time since the mattress reviews that I have been impressed with customer service practices.
I think Black Note have landed on a good price for their product. If you are a heavy user then you might want to buy in bulk, and I would advise the firm to start thinking about subscription services. They make it easy to dial in your preferences, and land on an experience that is right for you. The customer support offered by Black Note is excellent, a real surprise, they care about how you feel about their products, and I wish more firms would follow them.
Black Note Tobacco E-Liquid Conclusion
This has been such a blast. Black Note have made something very special here. A product that conjures up the old memories. All the good of smoking a fine blended tobacco with far fewer downsides. Going forward I think the Prelude will be my go to smoke. I bought an extra Quartet along with my 30ml Prelude, just for those times where I want something that hits a little harder. They have so many experiences on offer, and I am sure that you will find something that not only suits you now, but can remind you of then.
The price is excellent, and the after sale care is top notch. This is a company that cares. Cares about so many thing, from charity to the authenticity of their product to the thoughts and opinions of their customers. it is business done right. If you are looking for something a little old school, or want to finally make the switch to vape, then this tobacco E-liquid is the one to go with.