Wednesday, March 11, 2015

REVIEW: Halo Purity Cafe Mocha

Disclaimers first. I won this through a contest on my favorite forum, the ECF.

Although this was a win, the shipping time was incredible. Halo seems to know how to take care of their customers. Although I would have loved to see the tin that some of their juices are packed in, this 30 ml blue glass bottle was bubble wrapped and tucked into an envelope.

The packaging of the bottle is very nice and something I think ALL juice vendors should strive to emulate. The blue glass is nice, the white eye dropper cap makes it easy to find among a sea of black eyedropper tops and black and blue spout tops. It was tamper sealed with a celophane band, and the cap is child resistant (Not child proof? Nope. A child could chew through the rubber bulb and chug the bottle). There is a beautful logo on the front telling us it's premium and American made. On back, another label lists the ingredients in a legible typeface and size, as well as listing the name of the juice, the volume of the bottle, the nicotine concentration (in this case, it's .6% or 6mg/ml, and both are methods are used). There is a lot code and a best by date. Below that information there is a warning that this product contains nicotine and should be locked up, away from children and pets, and not drank. There is also another made in the USA band and a bar code. All in all, one of the best, if not THE BEST packaging I've come across to date.

OK, it looks nice, but what does it smell and taste like?

I thought you'd never ask.

Upon opening the bottle and leaning in close, you're greeted with a coffee-like aroma with earthy undertones I get more of the hazelnut than the chocolate in it's scent, but there is a hint of the chocolate.

I've tasted this in an Octopus RDA without a clean build, but one that had been burned dry. I then tried it in a Tobh V.3 dripper. I put a dropper-ful into a Rocket RTA. Finally, I put some into a 510 carto.

The Octopus RDA is a tiny 16mm device with a small air hole and a two-post single coil design. This coil is 2 ohms and is wicked with silica cord. It's a quick and dirty way to see what juice would taste like in a single coil clearo. On this device, the juice was, of course, a bit muted. I could get the coffee and chocolate and hazelnut, but it was a bit muddied.

In the Rocket RTA, I had built dual coils to 1.8 ohms and used silica again to emulate a dual coil clearo. Here, the juice had a nice creamy coffee flavor but the other tones were very muted.

The Tobh V3 RDA built to .8 ohms with Koh Gen Doh organic cotton provided a very nice vape. I got chocolate liquor taste strongly with coffee and hazelnut undertones. Interesting that they reversed.

The carto probably provided the best overall flavor profile. With most juices I would find this very interesting. With Halo - a company that got it's start and still manufactures pre-filled cartridges (although they have expanded and are offering juices and mods now) - this is not so surprising. Possibly even to be expected. Here the nuttiness came to the front, and the earthiness of the coffee and chocolate were just a strong accent.

On all the builds, there was a slight alcohol, medicinal undertone. The carto had less than the others, but it was still there.

Then came the shocker. As I was enjoying this vape - and I was enjoying it and intend to continue enjoying it - my non-vaping, non-smoking better half entered the room and objected to the scent. She said that the vapor had a tobacco scent. It reminded her of my pipe I used to smoke (just never inside). I did not catch a tobacco scent, but the exhale is a bit stronger scented than many other liquids I have used. Most juices she either finds pleasant or compared them to a candle or air freshener scent and will tolerate. Not this one, unfortunately. I'll have to use it outside or away from her.

This juice was tested unsteeped and steeping might improve the flavors, eliminate the medicinal taste, or improve the scent of the vapor. As always, your mileage may vary and this review is subjective, being based solely on my taste buds and nose.

Would I buy it again?

That's a tough one. I like it, I would buy it. It's not on the top of my list, but I'm not dumping it out or giving it away, either. I will not be vaping it around my wife again, though, as I do not want to lose my newly earned indoor vaping privileges.
  • Packaging - 10/10 Hands down the best I've seen so far
  • Scent - 9/10 Could have been a little stronger for me.
  • Taste - 7/10 Disappointed by the huge range of change across the devices I used and by the slight medicinal/alcohol tones.
  • Vapor - 7/10 It clouds up well enough, but where it wasn't quite strong enough enough for me out of the bottle, it was a little strong scented in vapor form.
  • FINAL - 8.3/10 a B-
A final note... I see other reviewers speaking at length about throat hit and I, too, believe this to be an important factor in vaping. However, I also feel that throat hit is a factor of the nicotine content and is very subjective at that. 24mg/ml juice in a dripper will almost put me on floor. This had some hit, but it was not strong. Another factor in throat hit is the reviewer's throat. I smoked strong menthols, a pipe, and the occasional cigar for more than 30 years. My throat can take a lot of beating. As such, it's too variable and subjective to include in this review.