Smoky Mountain Vapes – It’s all about the Juices!

(click on a juice product line below)

Triple Extreme

Triple Extreme is a VG-heavy blend specifically designed to ease the transition from smoking and provide an enjoyable vaping experience on common hardware. The complexity of flavor, volume of vapor, and precision preparation are the trifecta of extremes that have proven nearly 100% effective and 100% enjoyable.

Orchard Sauce

Orchard Sauce is the perfect line for the fruit lover. With clean crisp flavors, custom designed for all-day vaping, there is truly something for everyone. Most Orchard Sauce juices are available in 69% and 89% VG in a variety of nicotine levels.

Pie Hole

The Pie Hole line brings all the deserts and creams you need together in the perfect combination of unique blends which are “spot on” as they say. Again, designed for all-day vaping, there is truly something for every creamy flavor lover. Most Pie Hole juices are available in 69% and 89% VG in a variety of nicotine levels.

Hot for Bartender

As one of the very first lines of bar drink flavors every made, Hot for Bartender still holds the distinction of being the best! As always, designed for all-day vaping, these flavors are built to please. Hot for Bartender juices are available in 69% VG and in a variety of nicotine levels.

DEFIANT 120ml

We never intended to sell our house line outside our local customers in Pigeon Forge, TN, but this juice is making its way across the country. Great flavors, great variety, and a price that answers The Struggle have created an accidental runaway success.

And How They Are Created

A Vape Juice with a Soul

The origin of a venture often reveals more about it than even the longest explanation, so we’ll start there. My name is Steve Jackson and I was a three pack a day smoker who picked the habit back up after having been off tobacco for several years. This wasn’t just a personal failure, it was a devastating betrayal to the love of my life. As I slipped from taking that first cigarette offered out of politeness from a friend, down the spiral to three packs a day, every step of the way was a new level of shame and personal defeat. I had promised to never do it again because my wife’s parents were both in very poor health at relatively young ages and their problems are attributed by their doctors to smoking.

But after that first cigarette, I felt an amazing ability to focus my thoughts I hadn’t had for a long time. At the time, I was struggling my way back from a long term illness of my own and trouble concentrating was a daily battle for me. It was like living a custom hell made just for me because my 30 year career had been based on achieving the extremely high levels of concentration required to be a Research Process Analyst. To have a break from that hell was just more than I could pass up. Somewhere deep in my subconsciousness, little voices justified the smoking by citing studies that nicotine is like Ritalin. I should’ve just smacked on a patch and moved on, but there is the trap of cigarette smoking: There is clearly more to the addiction than nicotine as this discussion of several studies on denicotinised cigarettes clearly shows. I tried nicotine gum constantly, bummed a patch off someone once, struggled to abstain, and even rubbed my own nose in the betrayal to my dear wife to the point of tears, but nothing worked.

So there I was. Beaten. Powerless. Desperate. Then one day, a friend shows up with a little cigalike. Having never seen one before, I was very curious. She let me try it and I was amazed. It wasn’t a really good experience, but it was the first thing I’d tried that had any hope of satisfying the unstoppable need for another cigarette. My friend, and now business partner, Michelle, spent over $100 to buy a two battery kit with cartridges for me. From there it was up to the usual Ego-T/CE4 kit and then up to a bigger relabeled Ego with an MT3. I was buying name brand juice at what seemed like a “legitimate” vape shop.

I was finally ready to come clean with my wife, but of course she already knew I’d been smoking. She was very skeptical of the electronic cigarette and she asked a very reasonable question, “How do you know that’s any better than a cigarette? What’s in it?” I grabbed the bottle, and there was not the first scrap of ingredients listed on the label. So I called the shop where I bought it and asked them. Their answer: “Vape juice.” :-/ Seriously? So I called the place that made it and asked them. Their answer: “That’s our trade secret.”  >:-[  My first thought was I had gotten myself all excited and spent a lot of money on a sham.

Instead of just giving up, I started searching for the answer. The answer eventually became Smoky Mountain Vapes. It was a venture born not of a lust for profits in a new wild and booming market, but from a resurrection from a the most shameful days of my life. Smoky Mountain Vapes is the manifestation of a burning passion to take the answers I found to anyone who would have them.

Truly Hand Crafted, Truly Premium

Here at Smoky Mountain Vapes, each one of our bottles of juice, from the most expensive all the way to the least expensive, is carefully produced with the end result in mind: A real human being with a life that matters is going to put this juice in their body and to an extent, even into their blood. There is no chance a bottle we would not vape ourselves ever leaves our hands. At every point in the production process, from the acquisition of materials, all the way to the application of the individually printed water resistant label, we are constantly mindful of the risks of even the slightest lapse of diligence and our guidance is simply, “Would I vape it?”

We make every single bottle of juice by hand. We do this because of the sensitivity of the nicotine to aeration and the need to keep the juice free of atomized industrial lubricants from machinery. It is extremely labor and time intensive, but the results justify the effort. None of the precise measurements are left vulnerable to an unseen misstep by a machine, making the consistency of our juice unmatched. But we don’t just count on our measurements to be correct. We test the nicotine level and specific gravity of every batch to be exact.

Throughout the process, each time any material is combined with another, internal lot numbers are created, logged, and labeled. Every batch is made from an actual written prescription and each compound, measurement, and lot number is double checked by at least two people. The final batch lot can be tracked back through the logs to every original supplier and the supplier lot numbers. This full pedigree gives us the same assurances a prescription medication would need. These logs, the facility, and the sources materials are inspected by a state licensed pharmacist who accepts no payment for his services and is not swayed by the conflict of interest created if we were his customer. Both our VG and PG are 100% pure USP grade, our nicotine is obtained from a reputable U.S. source with documentation, and our flavorings are certified by our supplier to be free of diacetyl and cinnamaldehyde.

But it’s not just the handling and quality of the components that make our juices premium. Flavor is as big a part of a premium juice as purity. Our recipes are developed using extensive headspace techniques, a process that condenses the aromatic discharge of a studied material and makes it available for analysis and comparison. All of the means of our magic aside, the result is our completely tobacco-free tobacco flavor, Burley Red, tastes exactly like the first two puffs off a freshly lit premium cigarette. Our watermelon flavor, Dr. Z, tastes like actually biting into a piece of fresh watermelon instead of a watermelon candy. In short, flavor is not an afterthought or an area where something can be “close enough” for us. It is nothing short of an obsession.

Why a Pharmacy?

When we decided to move our tiny mixing room from our data center offices and open a retail store, the question of real facility inspections was the first to be posed. There are no current regulations for the production of vape juice, and although we have seen a lot of claims about FDA inspections, the question remains, what kind of inspection? Commercial kitchen? And what of the materials and procedures? To what standard would they be inspected? There are numerous regional and national “certifying bodies” for vape juice production, but after an exhaustive search, none of them met our standards and most of them suffered conflicts of interest.

From there, it was time to go outside the box and really think about what process is most similar to producing vape juice. The answer is such a perfect fit, we were amazed no one had thought of it before. Although there is an endless ambient noise among juice makers about chemists, chemistry, and labs, there is no real chemistry involved in the making of a vape juice. It is simply the mixing of several existing compounds. It is literally compounding. From there, making the connection to a compounding pharmacy was instant.

We contacted a state licensed compounding pharmacist and described what we do, how we do it, our concerns about having an outsider monitor our production, and our desire to create the safest possible product. He pointed us to the standard for a Category 2 Complex Compounding Pharmacy. Amazingly, this is exactly, no less and no more, the perfect fit. Despite the widespread claims that new regulations need to be penned for production environment and process standards, it turns out they not only already exist, but have existed for a long time.

Our adoption of these pharmacy standards and the inspection provided by a licensed pharmacist we do not pay (hence no conflict of interest) provides assurances for our customers and us, but in addition, it creates an opportunity for a proof case. We are carefully documenting our operations at Smoky Mountain Vapes with the intention of packaging and distributing them to law makers nationwide. The vast benefit of this model is it leaves plenty of room for existing small businesses who make juice to continue to exist after regulation. Creating the facility for a Category 2 Complex Compounding Pharmacy is well within the reach of any existing juice maker as is following the procedures required by that standard if the compounders are properly informed, trained, and monitored.

Clean, Crisp, Satisfying, All-Day Flavors

The development of our flavors keeps safety in mind by only qualifying flavors for production that are full and rich at only 5% concentration to keep any unknown health impacts of the flavor itself or any of the flavoring carrier components to a minimum. Any non-flavor components required to produce our juices are clearly labeled on each bottle and are less than 1% of the total volume.

This commitment to safety sounds rather dry and sterile at first glance, but we have learned at Smoky Mountain Vapes, it provides yet another winning aspect of our juice in the customer experience. It is common for a new customer who currently vapes to return for their second purchase with a wry statement that always sounds about the same, “You’ve ruined me! I can’t STAND anyone else’s juice now. It’s all just so sickeningly STRONG and yours is so well balanced. It just tastes clean.” It is not an occasional customer, it is the majority of customers who report this.

We were intensely curious about the frequency of this response to our product so we did a little research. Apparently to attract customers, many juice manufacturers actually compete to put more flavoring in their juice. We even found published concentrations approaching 30%, which to us is astounding. Flavorings are culinary in nature and designed to swallow, not to breathe. At 30% concentration, these flavors wouldn’t even be pleasant to eat, much less safe to inhale. And the effects of these high concentrations is being noticed in the customer experience as more customers abandon these “dirty juices” in favor of a cleaner, fresher feeling juice.

Another alarming trend we have noticed is some vapers having less sense of taste than a smoker. Flavorings and pain medications seem to have a common trait: The more you use, the less they work. The sale of “extra flavor shots” in some juice lines is an attractive offering to the consumer, but the consequences are not what the consumer expects. Suddenly, the standard amount of flavor is no longer satisfying. Just like quitting smoking brings the sense of taste and smell back, these vapers have been very happy to get the same return to their senses by switching to Smoky Mountain Vapes juices from over-flavored juices.

Completely Stabilized, Completely Fresh

Smoky Mountain Vapes juices are completely stable within about 13 hours of their production. A juice is “stable” when the flavors are consistent over time, in other words, the same flavor now as a week from now. One way to stabilize a juice is to force-spoil it, also known as “steeping” it, so it always tastes as degraded as it possibly can. We do not steep our juice because in its most literal sense, “Leave the lid off and set it in the window sill in the sunlight for 3 days,” translates directly to, “Force the nicotine in this juice to oxidize as fast as you can so the spoiled fish flavor of the oxidized nicotine will overwhelm the unpleasant aspects of the flavoring and the flavor won’t change because it’s already as bad as it can get.”

As mentioned elsewhere, we go to great lengths to avoid aerating our nicotine. In addition, temperature control, light exposure, and the passage of time itself are all things we obsess over with a single goal: Keep the nicotine fresh so it doesn’t interfere with our beautiful flavors. Instead of force-spoiling the nicotine to hide bad aspects of an inadequately pleasant flavoring behind an even more unpleasant flavor, we have developed a method for handling the compound we refer to internally as the TM30 and TM60 protocols. These protocols bind fresh flavorings and fresh nicotine into a juice in a way that provides unmatched consistency and shelf life. These protocols do not require the addition of any chemical components or the forcing of any chemical reactions within the juice itself but does induce a huge change in the stability of the compound.

The results of TM30 and TM60 are best explained by the surprise of one juice reviewer. He asked, “How long do you have to steep your juice to achieve such a mature flavor?” Our response was simply, “We don’t. That juice will taste about the same six months from now as it did 13 hours after it was bottled.” His shock was very gratifying.

More on the Importance of Avoiding of Contamination

There are things that happen during vaping that are counter-intuitive to what most people might think. For instance, vaping and smoking are completely different, physically and chemically. There are certain leniencies that smoking provides that vaping does not. Smoking involves burning things, which requires a much higher temperature, thereby sanitizing the smoke stream and completely converting or breaking down certain chemical compounds. Vaping happens at a much lower temperature, thereby allowing subtle impurities and contaminants to be atomized and carried right into the bloodstream, unimpeded.

This requires a much higher level of diligence on the part of the compounder to ensure sanitary conditions and knowledge of what chemical contaminants to avoid. For example, atomizing tap water can flood the body with chlorine and fluorine, while atomizing well water could carry bacteria and sulfur straight to the blood. Both usually contain oil-based pesticides that can be tolerated in the body once combined with the strong acids of the stomach and broken down, but are extremely dangerous if introduced directly into the blood or brought into contact with sensitive lung tissue.

Just rinsing out a container with tap water is more than enough to cause problems, which is why you should never clean or rinse your vaping hardware using tap water. But, something as innocuous as petting a dog before or during production could carry dangerous levels of neurotoxins from flea-treatments into the brain of the vaper. Using the wrong plastic containers can leech the plastic’s own chemicals into the juice. It only takes trace amounts of toxins or contaminants, measured in units like micrograms and nanograms, to ruin a batch of vape juice.

At Smoky Mountain Vapes, we are very aware of all the risks and ways to turn a good juice into poison. As mentioned elsewhere, our guiding principal is the simple question, “Would I vape this?” It is a simple principal, but a powerful standard to maintain on behalf of our customers and ourselves.