Rune Vapor: Three Eliquids Reviewed
(UPDATE AND CORRECTION: In the following review, I mention that these eliquids were 24mg nicotine strength. That was an error on my part. They are 6mg strength. I put this error up to the fact that the throat hit and nicotine satisfaction delivered by these liquids feels like 24mg strength to me. I find that especially impressive.)
One of my favorite things about reviewing eliquids is discovering new vendors out of the blue. That was my recent pleasure when I was contacted by the good folks at Rune Vapor. They generously supplied the three liquids you’re about to read about.
Rune Vapor is an interestingly themed lineup; much as is the case with Cyclops Vapor, these liquids are themed on icons from myth and legend, although in this case, the source of the legendry and mythology being invoked is more broad and eclectic than is the case with Cyclops Vapor.
These 24mg liquids were tested in a variety of hardware combinations, but the most prevalent testing setup was the standard 1.8 ohm Kanger 510 cartomizer powered at 5.5 watts via the Innokin iTaste SVD. The liquids I will be reviewing for you today are Lilith, Nether Gloom, and Viking Tobacco.
The Rune Vapor lineup is available in 15ml cobalt glass bottles, and at no other size. PG/VG ratios for the lineup aren’t disclosed anywhere that I was able to see, but nicotine strengths of these liquids are Zero mg, 6mg, 12mg, 18mg, and 24mg.
Presentation & Common Characteristics
As always, I like to begin with presentation. And as is the case with a lineup I’ve only seen online, that presentation begins with the online storefront. Where Rune Vapor’s storefront is concerned, I find the presentation to be quite nice.
Although it isn’t as ornately decorated as some I’ve seen, it’s intuitive to navigate, easy to read, and well laid out. The eliquids are divided into “Fruit” and “Tobacco” categories, which are accessed by a submenu that fades up when the user hovers a cursor over the “eLiquid” item on the navigation header bar. Simply clicking the “eLiquid” menu item will take the user to the full collection of eliquids irrespective of category.
One element of the online storefront that I’m tempted to take away points for is that, once you’ve selected your eliquid of choice, the path to your shopping cart might be a little subtle for some users: It’s just a shopping cart shaped icon. When you compare that to the fact that all of the other navigation links in the header bar are clear, easy-to-read text, just a teeny little icon to denote the shopping cart seems like an odd choice, and it may throw some potential customers off track.
Next, let’s move on to the presentation as expressed in the bottling. As mentioned in the introduction, Rune Vapor bottles their liquids in 15ml cobalt glass bottles. Each bottle is capped with a pipette (or, “eye-dropper”) cap, and features a white label with black text. This is just the sort of clean, minimalist labeling style I prefer, and it’s evocative of the higher end eliquid houses like Bird’s Nest Vapors and Five Pawns.
Rune Vapor does break from the labeling of those houses in one important way, however; although the label does list most of the information I would expect to see on a higher-end eliquid, a few items are missing, those being the PG/VG ratio, bottling date, expiration date, and lot number.
Rune Vapor Says: “This eliquid is named “Lilith” for its bold independence, fierce qualities and distinctions from other flavors. If you are someone who respects these qualities you will enjoy each vape from this flavor of a simple, clean and yet complex combination of tobacco, carmel(sic) and vanilla.”
In hue, Lilith is an almost rose gold. Its motion is neither nimble nor sluggish, but the ripple effect displayed in the rotational test is pronounced. This strongly suggests to me a 40/60 PG/VG ratio, possibly even higher in favor of VG.
The nose on Lilith is an… interesting affair. Two thoughts occur to me simultaneously when I sample the nose of this liquid:
First, it doesn’t precisely deliver what I would expect from the description above. I don’t exactly smell tobacco, and I don’t exactly smell dark, and I mean dark, dark roast coffee. What I smell is an interesting hybrid of the two scents which is both and yet somehow neither.
The second thought which crosses my mind, hand in hand with the first, is that despite the fact that it doesn’t exactly align itself with the description, it’s extremely pleasant. I can’t name for you, item-by-item, what I smell when I take a whiff of Lilith, but I can certainly tell you emphatically that I really do like it.
Moving on to the visual vapor output: Big, thick, and fluffy clouds are bound to become a signature feature of Rune Vapor liquids, and Lilith provided me with my first introduction to that signature. Flavor carriage in the vapor is minimal if the liquid is vaped for short periods, but it does have something of a cumulative effect. Chain vape Lilith for 15 to 20 minutes, and the scent will linger for a subsequent half hour, although it’s unlikely that anyone will complain, as the scent is, to reiterate, extremely difficult to identify as tobacco.
The throat hit on Lilith is also excellent. At 24mg strength, it’s extremely potent compared to other 24mg eliquids I’ve vaped; however, while it brings plenty of intensity, it leaves all the harshness out. I’ve been comfortably vaping this liquid quite heavily for the past several days and haven’t yet experienced the scratchy or dry sensation which some similarly potent eliquids bring to the game.
It’s on the flavor of Lilith that the description from Rune Vapor is delivered. While the tobacco component is detectably synthetic, it isn’t unpleasantly so. In fact, as far as synthetic tobacco flavors go, this is one of the better ones. It’s earthy and dry, and for that reason strongly reminds me of an English Navy pipe tobacco. Additionally, the caramel and vanilla are as readily present in the flavor as they are not detectable in the nose, balancing the dry, earthy bitterness of the tobacco with creamy sweetness.
Rune Vapor Says, “In Nether Gloom Angels would sit around a roaring fire and pour the liquid essence of dragons on scalding hot rocks and inhale the vapors. The vapor tasted of a harmonic combination of Dragon fruit, melon and a heavenly sweetness.”
In appearance, Nether Gloom offers one interesting difference from Lilith, while retaining the same viscosity; the hue on Nether Gloom is a deep but vivid pink. I’ll follow up with an update on this particular attribute of the liquid.
Also as is the case with Lilith, the nose on Nether Gloom doesn’t match what the description would lead me to expect. In point of fact, when I take a whiff of Nether Gloom, the combination of flavor components in the liquid, to my nose, adds up to Bubble Gum. Specifically, Bazooka Bubble Gum, with a hint of watermelon.
We’ll ride right past the vapor on Nether Gloom, because in every respect, I would find myself saying precisely the same thing about that attribute with this liquid as I already have with the other, and there’s not really much purpose served by doing more than simply letting you know that this attribute is identical for both liquids. The same is true, also, when it comes to throat hit.
So let’s move right on to the flavor of this liquid. With the flavor, we almost run into similarity again because, just as with Lilith, the flavor is loads more complex and nuanced than the nose led me to expect. I’d like to draw attention to the fact that such is almost never the case. Typically, you can hand me any given liquid, and I can guess — to within a percentage point — what the flavor will be based on the nose of the liquid. It’s remarkable to me to encounter a lineup of liquids where that’s not the case.
The flavor of Nether Gloom, as stated, is a well layered and nuanced affair which matches the vendor’s description quite nicely. I get the kiwi-like sweetness of the dragonfruit, just under the surface of that melon — I would peg it as being close to watermelon — with a faint overall sweetness I can’t quite identify as either vanilla or custard.
Rune Vapor Says: “Odin reaches into his bag and retrieves a pouch. In his pouch is the booty of the best tobaccos from the four corners of the earth…Aromas of rich tobacco, banana, coconut and a heavenly sweetness fill the air as he loads his pipe.”
Well, I have to take a quick detour before I get directly into this flavor, and let my inner geek out just a little bit. I can’t in all honesty fathom why banana and coconut would be associated with the Scandinavian god of war, insanity, and poetry.
If I were to craft an eliquid flavor profile meant to evoke Odin, I would craft it to include a pipe tobacco base like that of Lilith, then sweeten it with Blueberry (as Blue was the color most often attached to Odin, as in the poem Grímnismál), and honey — particularly honey, as Odin was often associated with the drink called mead. (The mythology goes that the reason why Odin has only the one eye is that he traded one of his eyes to Mimir, the guardian of the well from which was drawn the Mead of Wisdom.) Anyway… thus endeth Nerd Mode.
In hue, Viking Tobacco is a light gold. Its kinetic attributes are identical to those already described.
The nose on Viking Tobacco is unique among the three in that it actually does accurately reflect both the flavor and the vendor’s description — almost. While the banana and coconut come through loud and clear on the nose, the tobacco is significantly overshadowed, and it takes half a dozen light sniffs and a lot of concentration to detect it.
Visual vapor output, likewise, is consistent with the other two offerings under review; the flavor carriage, however, bears special mention because that tobacco that’s so elusive on the nose is present in equal measure with its companion components in the vapor’s flavor carriage. With that in mind, vape this only in circumstances where no one is likely to object to the smell of a well sweetened tobacco scent. Throat hit is identical to the other two offerings.
It’s on the flavor that the tobacco note of Viking Tobacco steps forward and announces itself. Even there, though, on the flavor, it has to muscle its way past the big, big notes of banana and coconut, and this is the reason why I felt compelled to get all nitpicky and nerdy about the association with Vikings.
To put it mildly, it’s something of a stretch to associate this very, very tropical flavor with Viking… well, with Viking anything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really a very nice flavor — but the mind is somewhat jarred by the incongruity between the mental association and the flavor that’s linked to it. It could stand to be renamed, I think. And, then again, it’s more than just probable that most folks just won’t be affected, since knowledge of Viking stuff isn’t exactly pop culture material.
Recommendation & Conclusion
Would I recommend Lilith, Nether Gloom, and Viking Tobacco? Well, first, let me get this reminder out of the way:
Taste is subjective.
That’s shorthand for: Yes, and no.
These are eliquids which I think are going to find a base of loyal customers, and I can readily understand why. They produce big, bold clouds of vapor. They have throat hit that’ll knock you on your butt — but do it comfortably. And the flavors are tasty, if not exactly organic.
And that’s where we have to look at the other hand. The descriptions are more suggestive than descriptive. And it’s a good thing they are, because I still get a strong perception of “bubblegum” from Nether Gloom, of “tobacco and coffee” from Lilith, and “Bananas Coconut and… something else” from Viking Tobacco. Without the descriptions, I might not have known what it was I was supposed to be picking up, never mind that all three liquids are very, very tasty.
However, at $12/15ml, I believe the price of sampling for yourself is sufficiently friendly that I can recommend you try them for yourself. Thanks for reading, and until next time, please remember to support this blog; do good work, and be good to yourselves and each other.