There are a lot of subscription services to choose from these days, and although Zamplebox is the biggest, they do have some stiff competition. Overall, I thought the presentation was excellent, the flavor curation process was pretty good and the specific juices I received were great overall, but the main thing Zamplebox is missing is a personal touch. Despite this, Zamplebox is still a great service: it’s one of the cheapest subscription services per ml, and I got plenty of juices I enjoyed out of the eleven included. It could be improved, but if you’re looking to discover some juices, they’re still one of the best options around.
Finding new juices you love isn’t easy. With countless options on the market and conflicting advice on which are worth trying, choosing a new juice company to try out is very much a trial and error process. But there is a way to make navigating the options a little easier: e-liquid subscription services like Zamplebox.
E-liquid subscription services give you a selection of e-liquids delivered to your door each month in return for a monthly fee, with the flavors usually chosen to match your specific flavor preferences. This effectively handles everything for you: not only choosing flavors you should enjoy, getting them sent out to you too and ordinarily for less than you’d pay for them at full retail price.
Zamplebox is the most well-known of these e-liquid subscription services, having gotten started in late 2013 and been rapidly gaining popularity since then. There has been some controversy, though – with accusations of juices made “in-house” being sent out to vapers and the flavor curation process being effectively useless – and reviews have generally been mixed, so is it worth trying Zamplebox?
Our Zamplebox review puts an 11-botttle box from the service to the test to find out.
How Zamplebox Works
The process for setting up Zamplebox is pretty simple. First, you have a choice between three subscriptions: a three-bottle box for $19.99 per month, a six-bottle box for $24.99 per month and an eleven-bottle box for $44.99 per month.
After choosing your type of box and your level of experience with vaping – beginner, intermediate or advanced – you select the general groups of flavor you want to receive, with a choice to select or deselect dessert, fruit, tobacco and menthol. You’re then given two fields which allow you to choose flavors you absolutely want to avoid and the flavors on your “wish-list” that you would love to try. Next, you select your nicotine level – with a choice of 0, 3, 6, 12 and 18 mg/ml – and are given the option of sending high-VG juices when available.
When you’ve answered all of these questions, your box is curated and ready to go. After you’ve made the payment for the first month, it takes Zamplebox one to two days to process your order and then it’s shipped out, with another three to five days before you’ll receive your box. Subsequent bills come out the same day of each month, and your boxes ship at about the same time.
Domestic shipping costs $4.99 to $8.99 depending on the size of the box, and international shipping is available – great for vapers like me who live in the UK or elsewhere – with prices ranging from $9.99 to $14.99 to the UK. The international rates will vary depending on where the box is being shipped to.
They have a huge range of brands on offer, including Adam Bomb, Broken Bottle Vape Co., Cosmic Charlie’s Chalk Dust, Cosmic Fog, G2 Vapor, Good Life Vapor, Johnson Creek, Nick’s Blissful Brews, Rocket Fuel Vapes, Seduce Juice, the Standard and many more.
The Box: What You Get
The eleven-bottle box I received was well-presented, with the Zamplebox logo on the front and “Official Member Box” printed in various places to make you feel all important. Inside, the juices were arranged in two layers of foam, with a slot cut out for each individual bottle, and the two layers split by a flat rectangular piece of foam. On top of the juices was my “September Tasting Menu,” which listed all of the juices included, along with a description of each flavor and the percentage of VG in each flavor (and the retail value – clearly an attempt to underscore the cost savings).
The overall effect is really great, with the menu in particular being a pleasure to look through when you’re looking for something new to vape, and the overall box-of-chocolates style presentation of the juices working pretty well alongside it. You peruse the menu and find a flavor you like the sound of, and then look through the individual bottles for whichever one you chose. It’s definitely an enjoyable experience, comparable to choosing a chocolate from a well-presented box in more ways than just how the juices are laid out.
The Flavors – How Was the Curation?
The presentation is one thing, but the most important thing is what the flavors I received were like. In general, I like desserts and fruits, with a particular fondness for cinnamon-based juices and a history of absolutely loving banana nut bread flavors, but I’m really quite open on the type of flavor I enjoy, but I’m not particularly interested in tobaccos and menthols (although I enjoy some of them). I did my best to communicate this to Zamplebox through the sign-up process, and this is what I received and my brief thoughts on each.
- Banana Brulee by Cosmic Charlie’s Chalk Dust: This flavor is described as “buttermilk pancakes topped with caramelized bananas,” and it does a good job of capturing the intended flavor. The banana taste is quite mellow, with the fairly bland but well-captured buttermilk pancakes carrying most of the flavor. It’s not the best in the box, but easily good enough to vape through the day, and well in-line with my preferences.
- Envy by Seduce Juice: This is described as “juicy boysenberries and papaya,” with boysenberries apparently being a cross between four types of berry. The juice is definitely fruity, but there is an over-riding synthetic quality to the flavor that ruins the experience a little. It tastes a little like the sherbet powder sweets we get in the UK. I didn’t really enjoy this one, although I think this is more a personal preference than Zamplebox’s process.
- Fruition by Seduce Juice: The second juice from Seduce Juice in my box – something I don’t think is ideal for a subscription service, since variety is supposed to be the name of the game – is a fruit loops and milk juice. This is a really enjoyable juice, with the fruit loops being really well captured and the taste being robust and thoroughly delicious. This is one of my favorites from the box.
- Jean Cloud Van Damme by Adam: This awesomely-named juice is described as “juicy pear,” and it definitely hits the mark, with well-captured pear that offers an authentic flavor and just the right amount of sweetness. It isn’t one I’d hurriedly recommend, but it’s enjoyable non-the-less.
- Mr. Cookie by G2 Vapor: This is a well-known juice and the description – “butter caramel sugar cookie” – sounds right up my alley. The execution isn’t quite as good as I’d hoped, but the flavors do all come through and it’s definitely an enjoyable offering. A touch more caramel would have made this one of my favorites, but it’s still a great juice.
- Vader by Cyber Liquids: This is “cookie dough and vanilla hazelnut custard,” and another I was eager to try based on the description. The juice does a pretty good job of living up to the description, with the vanilla hazelnut custard in particular coming through strongly and the custard being very well done. The cookie dough doesn’t really come through, but it’s a solid juice that I definitely enjoyed regardless.
- Duke by Viceroy Vapor: This is advertised as “cookie dough and cinnamon bun,” and the cinnamon bun is the dominant element in the flavor. It’s beautifully done, with the cinnamon being strong enough to take center-stage but not so prominent it takes over the whole thing. The cookie dough takes a back seat, but the sweetness backing the flavor is what really makes this juice a great offering. This is probably my favorite of the bunch.
- Enzo by Genco: This is described as “apple pie a la mode,” and it’s pretty well captured overall, with a subtle apple flavor throughout being enveloped in a realistic pie crust taste. This is another one that isn’t particularly amazing, but has all-day-vape potential thanks to a soft, enjoyable flavor overall.
- Godfather by Chicago Juice Mob: This is described as a nectarine, banana cream and caramel juice, and the mix is pulled off very well indeed, with nectarine towards the start of your draw and a caramel and creamy banana exhale. This is a great example of the value of subscription services overall: I wouldn’t have encountered it otherwise, but it has all-day-vape potential for me.
- Monte Carlo by Victory Liquid: This is billed as a tropical fruit mix, and the vague description is pretty fitting. It’s a tasty mix, with a light fruity sweetness producing an enjoyable vape even though picking out a specific fruit component is difficult. I wouldn’t rank this among my favorites from the box, but it’s definitely up there.
- Resistor by High Voltage: This is a caramel flavored espresso juice, and is among the most disappointing in the box. In theory it sounds great, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The espresso definitely comes through, but it’s somewhat muted, and the caramel is barely detectable, just adding a touch of sweetness that’s quickly lost in the mix. The juice is alright, but it could have been so much better.
Overall, the flavors I was sent in my Zamplebox were pretty good, with some stand-out options and the majority being at least enjoyable. With only one juice I didn’t really like (Envy from Seduce Juice) and another that I was thoroughly unimpressed with (Resistor by High Voltage), it’s hard to complain too much.
The curation process – how well they selected flavors based on my preferences – seems reasonably good, and I liked the emphasis on cookie dough for much of the box and the inclusion of a cinnamon juice, but for some of the juices (particularly the fruity ones) it did feel a tad generic. I did include fruity juices in my preferences, but the selection occasionally felt more like a “send out the standard array of fruit juices for this month” than a “this guy likes x, y and z, so look for fruity juices incorporating those elements too.”
In fact, you can get a preview of what’s in your box pretty much immediately, so it’s probably handled automatically based on the flavors you list when signing up. Your juices are apparently being picked by an algorithm, basically. In short, it could have done with being a little more personal overall.