P.O.E.T. has done a pretty commendable job in the pursuit of excellent taste. The e-liquid hits the mark on pretty much every level, with complex flavors that justify the Italian café-menu descriptions and classy design. The price is really the only down-side (a couple of extra dollars per bottle than most at VapeRev), but if you want to try out some gourmet-style e-liquid P.O.E.T. is definitely up there in the recommendations.
The selection is sweet all-round, which is a good thing for most vapers, but the beautifully mixed combinations sets them apart from eye-watering sugary concoctions you can pick up for $5 a bottle. For traditionalist tobacco or menthol lovers, there isn’t much in the selection (the only real tobacco option is more sweet than anything), but for most vapers the selection is well worth checking out. We didn’t get test out the three newer options, but based on the five we tried, it’s hard to imagine them being anything short of great, and there’ll undoubtedly be some more fantastic creations from Randy Freer in the future too.
It might be simplistic, but you can roughly separate e-liquids into the more standard, one-flavor or basic combination peddlers and the ones whose descriptions sound like something you’d read on the menu of a high-end restaurant. P.O.E.T. firmly falls into the latter group, the name itself being an acronym for “Pursuit of Excellent Taste,” and the brand has attracted a lot of attention for their range of gourmet-style e-liquids since it was founded in 2013. The only problem is that it’s easy to write a flowery description and stick a few pretentious labels on your bottles, but it’s much harder to actually produce a juice that warrants it.
P.O.E.T. is the brain-child of Randy Freer, who set out to add some culinary flair to the world of e-liquid when he established the brand. He talks over his goals for his e-liquid in an interview for RPAD.tv at the E-Cigarette Convention in 2013, but the short version is that quality is the name of the game for P.O.E.T., as the name suggests (not to mention the use of the phrase “electronic nectar” in place of e-liquid). The intention was to re-create some of the flavors from La Crema Café – an Italian bakery – and when this hobby began taking up more of his time and he got five of them to meet his discerning standards, they went on general sale. 15 ml costs $14 and 30 ml costs $22, though, because quality of flavor often doesn’t come as cheap as we might like.
The original line-up has now been expanded to eight e-liquids (available at VapeRev), complete with fancy Italian names like Torte de Arnicia and Americano Ciambella, and we’ve put the original five to the test to see if they live up to the gourmet image and slightly inflated price tag.
The PG/VG ratios of the P.O.E.T. e-liquids are fixed. What they’re fixed at is something of a mystery, but from what can be gleaned from comments on YouTube videos and collected snippets the ordinary PG/VG ratio is 40/60. For the Americano Ciambella it used to be 30/70, but Randy Freer has confirmed to us by email that all are now 40/60. The throat-hits are generally well-rounded, not too much to comfortably vape, but not completely lacking in bite either. You can’t choose your own, so if you’re very particular about your ratio this isn’t ideal for you, but it’s a good balance for my tastes. For vapor production, the VG focus means you’ll produce dense clouds, and we found the performance to be satisfying all-round. Additionally, the VG and PG are USP grade in the P.O.E.T. juices, as expected, and the nicotine is made in an FDA-approved lab, according to an email a vaper received from the company.
The e-liquids are available in six nicotine levels: 0 mg, 3 mg, 6 mg, 12 mg, 18 mg and 24 mg per ml. This is a great spread, with more options towards the low end to help out those keeping their intake low or on the last stages of reducing to zero nicotine. Seeing 24 mg is always good for the just-switching smokers, so this range offers everything you need; no complaints whatsoever.
Packaging and Design
The e-liquids come in 15 or 30 ml bottles, which are green-tinted and glass. The dripper has since been improved to a more standard style, but the bottles we tried have the original tops, with a tiny pipette inside the bottle that makes filling up a bit of a challenge. There is a thin spout extending into the bottle of juice, with a circular opening in the centre. To fill up a clearomizer or tank system, your best option is the use of a syringe, but it can be dripped (albeit slowly) by inverting the bottle and using the top as a dripping tip. You get used to this (once you get the first droplet in contact with your wick and coil you can kind of “drag” more out), but it isn’t exactly ideal, so switching it out for a basic style was a good move.
The old-style top didn’t have much child-proofing (a fact that led Phil Busardo to delay his review of the juices), aside from the fact that getting a lethal amount out of one of those dripping tops would be a gargantuan task, especially if you have to taste every drop of the stuff on the way. The new design rectified this and institutes a child-proof cap, but these should only be the last line of defense anyway.
For design, the labels are very elegant and cool; with the stylized “P.O.E.T.” logo occupying the upper left portion, the nicotine level prominently displayed in the bottom left and the flavor’s name (as well as a characteristic color) to the right of it. The other half of the label is taken up with the usual warnings, ingredients and the company’s address. The design does its job of making the juices look classy and generally appealing, and the bottles are sturdy enough that you don’t have to worry too much about accidentally smashing or cracking them.
Torte De Arnicia – Rating: 3/5
Accuracy: The fanciful description for Torte De Arnicia classes it as “orange cake and shredded coconut with a slight hint of tobacco,” but the romantic-sounding name comically just translates to “orange cakes.” The orange cake is the dominant element, coming through immediately with a strong, continuous citrus element cushioned by a sweet undercurrent. The shredded coconut isn’t too easily detectable, it seems to come through more clearly when sniffing the juice than vaping it, where it’s upstaged by the orange of the cake and a little drowned in the tobacco notes that back the whole thing up.
Overall: This might not be the most impressive liquid in its own right, but it’s an enjoyable option that could be something a little different to try for people who like citrus. You can happily vape away on it for a while, but soon you’ll be clamoring for one of the other juices in the line-up, because when separated from the pretension of the description it isn’t quite as exciting. You’ll enjoy it, but I went through more of all of the other P.O.E.T. juices I tried than this one prior to reviewing. That’s not much of a complaint (because I still used quite a lot), but it’s clearly at the bottom of the bunch for me. It’s the first flavor Freer crafted, so perhaps it makes sense that this isn’t as much of a symphony as tastes as the other options.
Americano Ciambella – Rating: 4.5/5
Accuracy: The intention for this juice is maple bar with “spicy cream” and a strong tobacco backing. The maple dominates here, with the syrupy sweetness being notable throughout your draw, but blending with the tobacco more towards the end. The cream has a little trouble breaking through, especially with such strong contenders for the notable tastes, but settles nicely into the background. The “spicy” element is entirely lost, though. The tobacco flavor isn’t really strong, which is a good thing, but it’s definitely the main taste supporting the maple.
Overall: This juice is my second favorite of the bunch, with the combination working well in its own right, divorced from the expectations you form after reading the descriptions and the high-class presentation. The sweetness of the maple bar is ever-present, but it’s subtle and merges with the tobacco well enough to produce a liquid that could serve as an all-day vape. It follows the RY4 philosophy of tobacco-ish e-liquids: make them taste a little like tobacco, but bring the juice to life with some dark sweetness. The gourmet focus of P.O.E.T. works particularly well here, because it’s comparable to ordinary RY4s but the mixer’s palate is more refined and the tastes are more expertly balanced.
Torte De Pastaccio – Rating: 4/5
Accuracy: This is pistachio cake with a chocolate filling and draped in cream, immediately telling you something about how high-end Freer’s favorite bakery is. The juice captures these elements extremely well; the pistachio hits you immediately, easily recognizable without overtaking the other components of the juice. The overarching pistachio is backed up by the traces of chocolate in the flavor, and the entire ensemble is brought together by the creaminess, lending the whole thing a velvety sensation. Here, the description is definitely warranted, although some may have been hoping for a more powerful pistachio, the complexity of their taste is well-produced and it’s just strong enough to dominate the juice.
Overall: This is a great juice, one of the standout options from the line-up due to the uncommon flavor choice of pistachio being so well captured. It’s clearly expertly crafted, so well that even the notable flavor of pistachio doesn’t get boring with extended use – it’s so beautifully incorporated you just want to keep going back to it. Pistachio Man by Mr. Good Vape is a natural comparison; if you’ve tasted that Torte De Pastaccio is relatively similar without the mint element and with a slightly weaker pistachio taste. The cream makes it unique, and in combination with the chocolate it’s what really makes this juice an excellent vape rather than just a straightforward pistachio flavor.
Amaretto Nite Cap – Rating: 4.5/5
Accuracy: The description calls this juice pear in vanilla with a spiced amaretto finish, but the liqueur is obviously the main selling point. The amaretto is masterfully reproduced, immediately identifiable in the mix and taking center-stage in the flavor. The pear comes through strongly too, and its sweetness works excellently with the amaretto. The vanilla would inherently be the least notable element in this combination, but it’s detectable throughout, and pulls the amaretto and pear flavors together perfectly.
Overall: This was the stand-out juice of the bunch for me; it has an irresistible sweetness, is perfectly blended and also benefits from the quality of the amaretto replication. The entire combination is definitely on the sweet side, but flavor is gentle, producing a soothing vape that makes you want to lounge around letting streams of amaretto-tinged vapor drift up to the ceiling. The flavor is luxurious: it’d make for an ideal “dessert” vape, but for me (and other sweet liquid lovers) it’s the right type of e-liquid to vape all day long. Every puff is a delight, so if you like amaretto as a flavor I’d advise saving yourself the extra order and getting a 30 ml bottle straight away. This one is really awesome.
Dolce Nero Te – Rating: 4/5
Accuracy: This has the shortest, most to the point description of any P.O.E.T. e-liquid, simply “sweet black tea.” The intention is to produce an iced tea type of flavor, and it’s accomplished pretty well, with the sweetness being the dominant element alongside lemony citrus notes. The tea has quite a light flavor, but it’s more like the basic building block of the taste rather than the most notable part on the draw. It’s probably also the least ambitious flavor from P.O.E.T., in fairness, but it’s one of the most perfectly replicated too.
Overall: I don’t really drink iced tea very often, and would never seek out an iced tea e-liquid, but vaping this was still an absolute pleasure. The light sweetness and the lemon breaking through make it continuously refreshing to vape, one you’ll keep by your side all day and always feel like going back to. If you like citrus flavors and sweetness, you’ll undoubtedly love this juice; even if you don’t really like iced tea it’s hard to imagine anybody having a big issue with vaping this. The flavor translates particularly well to the medium, and the all of the components are expertly mixed to produce something better than the sum of its parts. It doesn’t have the luxurious sweetness of the Amaretto Nite Cap, but it has a breezy, bright summer’s day quality that sets it apart from the others in the line-up.
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