Smokeless: Rebuildables And The Liquids Made For Them
One of my first discoveries, on successfully building my first coil, was that some eliquids just taste better on rebuildable atomizers. That one’s a relatively elementary discovery to make — hand-built coils tend to offer greater flexibility when it comes to how much power can be pumped through them.
But there’s more to it than that. Rebuildable atomizers were the first devices to offer adjustable airflow. Granted, on the early rebuildables, “adjustable” meant something quite a lot different than it does today. The airflow could be “adjusted” primarily by using a drill press to enlarge the airflow holes in the top caps of those early rebuildables, which meant that it could only really be “adjusted” in one direction, never back.
But even that is only touching on one side of the satisfaction equation. Modern rebuildables have come a very long way, but so, too, have eliquids. Some eliquids offer an entirely new and expanded satisfaction landscape on rebuildables, and I had always assumed that this was simply incidental to the different performance characteristics inherent to a rebuildable atomizer versus, say, even the best clearomizers.
But it’s not. In this post, I’m going to explore the idea not only that rebuildables are really made to cater to the performance-hungry vaper, but that there are some brands of eliquid which are fashioned to cater to the very same crowd, and do so specifically through the medium of rebuildable atomizers.
Come along for the ride, won’t you?
Part 1: Rebuildables
For those who haven’t yet experimented with rebuildable atomizers, the concept is relatively basic — the atomizer heads in your favorite clearomizer are essentially the same assembly of components:
A length of steel resistance wire is wrapped around a wick, typically a silica wick, in a coil — then the two leads at the ends of the coil are connected to the base of the atomizer head in order to complete a circuit which is powered by the battery when your clearomizer is screwed onto it.
A rebuildable atomizer operates according to exactly the same principle, except that you, the user, create the coil yourself. One of the major benefits of the rebuildable atomizer over the pre-assembled atomizer is that you have exclusive control over the quality of the coil and the materials used in its construction.
For example, many types of material can be used for the wick, including several different types of silica, sterile cotton, or even hemp. The wire can be of the standard, or round, type, or it can be flat (ribbon) in cross-section. Finally, the number and density of the coil’s wraps is also up to you and determines the resistance of the coil.
Additionally, while a pre-assembled atomizer head may have single or dual coils, rebuildable atomizers can accommodate anywhere from one to eight coils. All of this variability in materials, layout, and the number of coils allows the experienced builder to create a setup that satisfies his or her exact tastes in performance.
But what is the end to which this level of customization is the means? How, exactly, does all that flexibility add up to getting exactly the vape you want? Heat. How hot your coils get, and how fast they get there, has a massive impact on the visual presence, throat hit, flavor fidelity, and mouthfeel of your vapor.
Part 2: Eliquids
Now we come to the other side of the equation, the eliquid you drip into that beautifully built coil each of us is so very proud of. While any eliquid is bound to unleash a wider and higher version of its flavorscape on a well-crafted rebuildable atomizer coil, it’s been my experience that some liquids are deliberately crafted for use in rebuildable atomizers.
So what do I mean when I say that some liquids are tailor-made to take advantage of the greater flexibility in heat and airflow options offered by rebuildable atomizers? Well, it’s really very simple: Some liquids employ a greater degree in the subtlety of their blending of component flavors than others.
For example, a bargain-basement brand like Vapor-Tech offers flavors like, “Raspberry” or “Watermelon” — and flavors from brands like this tend to be not only unpleasantly synthetic but entirely elementary. If you broaden and deepen a flavor like “Raspberry” by running it on a rebuildable atomizer, you’re still only going to get “Raspberry” — and possibly an even stronger taste of just how “off” the Raspberry is, of course.
On the other hand, in a flavor such as ”Maestro” from Bird’s Nest E-lixirs, you have several components all working together: dark, rich coffee; sweet, creamy vanilla; warm, smooth, hazelnut; zesty winter spices.
In even the best clearomizer, while those components are detectable, they’re nowhere near as deep or as vivid as they are on a rebuildable atomizer. The higher temperature of the coil and the faster ascension to that temperature vaporizes the liquid in a flash, unleashing more of the flavor, more of the nicotine, and bursting the vapor into the atomizer’s chamber to create a thick, billowing cloud of profound deliciousness.
A second benefit to the combination of premium eliquids and rebuildable atomizers — one that I never expected — is both a health benefit as well as a satisfaction booster, and it’s this: When vaping from a well-crafted rebuildable, it becomes not only possible, but — in my case, at least — necessary to use eliquids with much less nicotine than you may be accustomed to using in clearomizers or cartomizers.
The answer really is obvious, but it only became so to me in hindsight: Rebuildable atomizers deliver the vapor with such potency that the throat hit and nicotine rush will hit you much harder than you expect. This is particularly true with atomizers that feature adjustable airflow.
For some reason which I grasp intuitively but can’t really articulate just yet, the more air is mixed with the vapor, the stronger the throat hit and nicotine rush tend to be.
For example, while I typically take four or five drags at a time of 24mg vapor from a clearomizer, every half hour or so, I can only vape at that same pace with 6mg vapor from a rebuildable atomizer that has a really good coil on it. If I use 24mg on that atomizer, instead, I can only take 2 or 3 drags before I get light-headed from the nicotine, and then have to let the device sit for 45 minutes to an hour.
Getting the same satisfaction at a quarter of the nicotine strength? To me, that spells progress.
Recommendation & Conclusion
So what do I recommend to achieve this level of synergy between rebuildable and eliquid? My rebuildable of choice, at the time of this writing, is the iGo-W3. With its five passthrough posts secured by Philips screws, and its adjustable airflow, it’s easy enough for a beginner to start out with a single coil but robust enough for the wizard to create quad-coil builds on, and with a wallet-friendly $19.99 asking price, it won’t break the bank.
What are the best of the best eliquid brands for enjoyment on rebuildables? I have three recommendations from personal experience. In alphabetical order, they are:
Bird’s Nest E-lixirs: Beautifully executed beverage, dessert, and tobacco blends that will satisfy your palate without bruising your wallet.
Five Pawns: These liquids are, in my opinion, the pinnacle of the mixologist’s art — but, fair warning, they come with price tags to match.
Friend Or Faux: The first truly premium label from right here in the Phoenix area, now available online and deserving of every accolade I could give. Friend or Faux brings an authentic old-school vibe to the vape scene.