Aspire Nautilus BVC Atomizer Longevity Data and E-Liquid Reviews
This document presents longevity data for Aspire™ Bottom Vertical Coil (BVC) atomizers derived from the author’s experience vaping various e-liquids using the Aspire Nautilus Clearomizer. It is a companion to the author's "Aspire Nautilus Observations" document. It covers:
This document will be updated as the author continues to compile data on the affect of various e-liquids on BVC atomizer longevity.
For the author’s procedures for cleaning the Nautilus, see “Cleaning the Aspire Nautilus.”
As a former cigarette smoker seeking an all-day vape (ADV), I began with tobacco and beverage flavors, the former because I smoked and the latter because I enjoy various beverages, especially coffee, throughout the day. As a reformed menthol cigarette smoker, I tried mentholated tobacco and pure menthol flavors. I could not see myself vaping candy, fruit, or bakery flavors all day.
Phil Busardo evaluates e-liquids on three characteristics: vapor production, throat hit, and flavor — his VTF criteria. My criteria are SFE: Safety, Flavor, and Economy. These are defined as follows:
When I began vaping, flavor was my primary consideration: I'm not a cloud chaser and most e-liquids deliver a decent throat hit at 12 mg/ml nicotine or above. As I learned more about e-liquid chemistry, safety became paramount. I've been fortunate in that most of the e-liquids I've tried were produced by Forever E-Liquid and sold through their chain of The Vapor Bar stores. Forever E-Liquids is an AEMSA-certified lab that takes purity and safety seriously, assuring their e-liquids are free of toxins like diacetyl and acetyl propionyl, the latter a diacetyl substitute. I encourage you to review their blog for details about their focus on e-liquid safety.
The following table presents the BVC longevity data I have compiled vaping a variety of e-liquids. I intend to update this table after trying new e-liquids. The names of best performing e-liquids, i.e. those where I vaped an entire 30 ml bottle on a single BVC atomizer, are highlighted in bold.
Note: The "30 ml bottles" of Forever E-liquid products generally contained only 27 ml of e-liquid, an issue I'm addressing separately with The Vapor Bar.
This section discusses my opinions of the e-liquids I have vaped to-date. Reviews are in alphabetical order by e-liquid name.
Big Daddy Cafe
Big Daddy Cafe is a very dark e-liquid with a great cappuccino flavor at 4.2- 4.6 V. Unfortunately, it is very hard on BVC atomizers: in three tests (1, 4, and 5), I could only vape an average of 10.5 ml before the 1.8 Ohm atomizers failed and only 5.1 ml before a 1.6 Ohm atomizer failed.
Armed with more experience, I tried this e-liquid again in test 13 and managed to vape nearly half (13.95ml) of a 30 ml bottle, but the flavor developed a burnt taste during the last 2ml that eventually became intolerable, forcing me to end the test. I suspect storing the Nautilus upside down overnight may have helped me to vape more of this e-liquid than in prior tests: the atomizer wasn't bathed in e-liquid the entire time. I also experimented with voltage, trying 4.4-5.0V before settling on 4.5. At 4.7V and above, the aftertaste became somewhat medicinal, like cough syrup. Sadly, I could not vape the entire bottle on one BVC atomizer.
While I hoped Big Daddy Cafe would be my ADV, it's too hard on BVC atomizers to be economical: this e-liquid is best vaped in a rebuildable tank atomizer (RTA).
This e-liquid is a robust Cuban cigar flavor and part of the Revolucion series of cigar-flavored e-liquids from Xotic Vapor. It is the most authentic and complex cigar flavor I've ever tasted in an e-liquid. The liquid is transparent with a burnt umber color when new in the Nautilus tank, but becomes virtually black when vaped down to the 1 ml level.
Unfortunately, it does not work well with BVC atomizers: the flavor lost all its complexity after the first 5 ml tank and the draw tightened considerably towards the end of the second tank. In test 18, I was only able to vape 11 ml of this e-liquid before I decide to end the test due to these issues. This is probably a great vape in an RTA, but the flavoring ingredients are too much for the Aspire BVC atomizers.
Frostbite is a superb menthol and mint combination that is very easy on BVC atomizers. In Test 11, I vaped an entire 30 ml bottle (containing approximately 27 ml of e-liquid when opened) on a single BVC atomizer over a 10 day period. Optimal flavor was delivered at 4.6 V. When the atomizer was new, there was virtually no aftertaste. As the atomizer aged, there was a slight and pleasant mint aftertaste. Unlike many light-colored e-liquids, Frostbite barely darkened as a full tank was vaped down to 1 ml. I recommend this e-liquid — along with Menthol Madness (discussed below) — for fans of pure menthol flavors.
Gold Rush Ice
Gold Rush Ice is a mentholated 555 tobacco blend. When I ordered my ProVari, I purchased this e-liquid as part of a sample pack of three 5 ml bottles of their premium e-liquids. Unfortunately, I accidentally ordered 24 mg/ml nicotine strength. In a subsequent order for additional batteries, I purchased the same three e-liquid sample pack in 6 mg/ml strength. The two 5 ml samples were mixed in a new, empty 30 ml bottle, then shaken 500 times for an average nicotine strength of 15 mg/ml.
The predominant flavor is peanut butter, with undertones of hazelnut, almond, and walnut. Some years ago I smoked a couple of packs of State Express 555 cigarettes and they did not taste nutty like Gold Rush Ice. The amount of menthol is just right. Optimal flavor was delivered at 4.6 V. I did not have enough of this e-liquid to test the BVC atomizer to failure, but it appears to have been gentle: neither flavor nor draw diminished while vaping my 10 ml sample. Gold Rush Ice was a decent vape, but probably not one I will try again.
Hummingbird is a transparent pink e-liquid whose flavor is virtually identical to a watermelon Jolly Rancher® candy. It has a superb, sweet flavor that is optimal at 4.6 V. Despite its candy-like flavor, I found it an excellent vape that didn't clash with foods and beverages.
Nevertheless, Hummingbird is the Andrei Chikatilo of e-liquids for BVC atomizers: in tests 2, 8, and 9 I vaped an average of 5.9 ml of this e-liquid before the BVC atomizer failed. The 1.8 Ohm atomizers performed better, averaging of 6.125 ml of e-liquid before failure in tests 8 and 9 vs. 5.5 ml for the 1.6 Ohm atomizer in test 2. Atomizer failure was consistent: while vaping, the Ao (atomizer resistance) reading on the ProVari climbed steadily and the flavor went off above 2.4 Ohms. In test 2, Ao read 4.0 Ohms at the point where I ended the test due to the unpleasant taste.
In test 15 I attempted to see if a 50/50 blend of Hummingbird with Nude Janice, an unflavored e-liquid from Forever E-liquid, would permit me to enjoy most of the flavor of Hummingbird while extending the atomizer life. I christened this combination Humming-Janice. Unfortunately, this test also failed: the mixture of Hummingbird and Nude Janice — both at 16 mg/ml — killed the atomizer after vaping just 7.5 ml. While this was almost 1.4 ml more than Hummingbird alone, Hummingbird's sweetness overwhelmed the atomizer.
Given how quickly Hummingbird exhausts BVC atomizers, I consider it a luxury vape on the Nautilus: if this were your ADV and you vaped 3ml per day, you'd use a BVC atomizer every other day for a total of 15 atomizers per month. Hummingbird is most economically vaped in an RTA.
Formerly known as Murdoch's Menthol Madness, Menthol Madness is another superb menthol with a pleasant mint aftertaste. Like Frostbite, it is light in color and gentle on BVC atomizers: in test 10 I vaped an entire 30 ml bottle (containing approximately 27 ml of e-liquid when opened) without problems and believe I could have vaped considerably more on the same atomizer had I not exhausted my supply of this e-liquid. Optimal flavor was found at 4.6V. I recommend Menthol Madness which, along with Frostbite, would be a good ADV for menthol fans.
Formerly known as Blackberry Cobbler, Night Phantom is a member of the Forbidden series of custard flavors from Forever E-Liquid. All flavors in the Forbidden series have been tested by an independent laboratory to assure they are free of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl. I've made three purchases of this e-liquid, buying two bottles each time. While it is a great flavor, it has delivered inconsistent BVC atomizer life.
Tests 14 and 16 represent my first two-bottle purchase. The e-liquid was transparent with a color somewhere between burnt orange and sienna.
Tests 19-21 cover my second two bottles, which were distinctly darker than those form my first purchase: while transparent, the color was closer to burnt umber or baker's chocolate. All of the available stock at that time had this darker color. The bottles had steeped two months, i.e. the time between the manufacturing date and when I started to vape them.
Test 23 covers the first of two bottles from my third purchase. These bottles are of the same color and transparency as the first two bottles I purchased and have likewise steeped for two months, i.e. from manufacturing date until I began vaping the first of them.
In the store's test atomizer on an eGO-style battery, the tastes of blackberry and custard were apparent. In test 14 on a Nautilus, the flavor was similar to an unsweetened, tart version of Hummingbird. The blackberry taste was there, but of the tart, store-bought variety, not the ripe fruit. A custard or bakery note was noticeable in the draw at 3.8V, but the blackberry taste was weak. At 4.6V the tart blackberry flavor dominated, with barely a hint of custard in the aftertaste. Overall, it was impossible to find a power setting where the taste approximated true blackberry cobbler or custard, but I found it tasted best at 4.3V.
While Night Phantom may not have lived up to a true blackberry custard, its tart berry taste grew on me, especially on the second day after the BVC atomizer was fully broken in. This is the first 50/50 PG/VG e-liquid I vaped and found it delivered superb mouthfeel, encouraging me to roll the vapor around in my mouth before inhaling. The flavor is somewhat dry, so I hydrated more than with previous e-liquids. When vaped down to 1 ml, the liquid becomes very dark — black coffee dark — and I discarded 1.5ml over three refillings because I did not want to risk fouling the atomizer or the new e-liquid I was adding.
Unfortunately, test 14 ended when I accidentally spilled the last 4.5 ml of the bottle while I was refilling the Nautilus, hence I cannot say that I vaped the entire bottle on a single BVC atomizer. I can say I expected to vape the entire bottle because the atomizer was performing well after 21 ml.
Test 16 seemed to confirm that Night Phantom is atomizer-friendly: I was able to vape an entire 30ml bottle on a new 1.8 Ohm BVC atomizer. In this second test of Night Phantom, I set the ProVari at 3.9V: this provided a better balance between the faint bakery or custard notes and the blackberry flavor. When vaped down to 1ml, the liquid again became very dark and the taste lost its complexity, but I could correct for this a bit by increasing the voltage to 4.3V until I vaped the tank down to the Aspire-recommended minimum of 0.5ml. I discarded a total of 2ml of extremely dark e-liquid over four refillings of the tank.
Unfortunately, tests 19-21 gave me doubts as to whether one can consistently vape an entire 30 ml bottle of this e-liquid on a single BVC atomizer.
After vaping 15 ml in test 19 the flavor became quite flat, which I thought was due to the darkening of the e-liquid at the end of the tank. I discarded the last remaining 0.75ml and refilled the tank, but the flavor remained flat. Varying the voltage did not help as it had in test 16 and I detected a slight burnt taste. The atomizer draw had also tightened, despite the Nautilus airflow control being set at maximum airflow. I'd vaped a total of 17.75 ml of Night Phantom in test 19 before the atomizer appeared to be failing. I installed a new atomizer and the problem was solved.
Thus began test 20. Unfortunately, I only vaped 21.15 ml before the atomizer showed the same problems experienced in test 19. I installed a new atomizer to begin test 21, but I was again thwarted by the same problems after 18.25 ml. I contacted The Vapor Bar and returned the unused portion of the second bottle from my second purchase for analysis. They graciously exchanged this bottle for a bottle of Nude Janice. I will report any findings I may received from their analysis here.
Test 23 somewhat restored my faith in Night Phantom: I was able to vape the entire 30 ml bottle on a single BVC atomizer, specifically 25.8 ml vaped with a total of 3.15 ml discarded during five refillings of the Nautilus. I vaped this bottle at 3.8V, lower than previous tests of this e-liquid. The flavor was quite good at this lower power setting, but it still resulted in very dark e-liquid once the tank was vaped down to the 1 ml level, hence the high number of milliliters of e-liquid discarded when refilling.
While test 19-22 were disappointing in that I was unable to vape an entire bottle on a single atomizer as I had in test 16, this does not diminish my enthusiasm for Night Phantom: it is an excellent flavor with superb mouthfeel and worth vaping even if it requires two BVC atomizers to finish a bottle.
Nude Janice is an unflavored e-liquid from Forever E-liquid. It is as clear as water in the Nautilus tank.
In test 17 I vaped 1.5 30ml bottles of this e-liquid on a single BVC atomizer over a period of 21 days at 3.8V. I used half a bottle in my unsuccessful Humming-Janice experiment (see Hummingbird above) and decided to vape my remaining stock to see how far a BVC atomizer would go on an unflavored e-liquid.
In test 22 I set a personal record: I vaped 51.75 ml on a single BVC atomizer over a period of 35 days at 3.8V.
In test 24 I set a new personal record, vaping 70.7 ml on a single BVC atomizer over a period of 43 days at 3.8V. I ended the test simply because 43 days is three times the Aspire-recommended lifespan of 14 days. The atomizer performed well throughout the test: I never experienced a burnt taste and the resistance never exceeded 2.0 Ohms.
Test 25 surpassed my previous record, vaping 100.9 ml on a single BVC atomizer over a period of 43 days at 3.8V. The atomizer performed well throughout the test, though the vape developed a slight waxy taste towards the end. This again far exceeds the Aspire-recommended atomizer lifespan of 14 days and why — after 100 ml — I decided to end the test.
Tests 17, 22, 24, and 25 demonstrate that e-liquid flavoring ingredients degrade atomizer performance. This e-liquid — containing only PG, VG, and nicotine — never diminished atomizer performance. The wicking material was light-brown in color at the end of each test, but I never noticed any issues with draw or taste during the tests.
The one issue I had with tests 17 and 22 was the first 0.5-1.0 ml I vaped on a new BVC atomizer resulted in some gurgling and floodiness; this was easily cleared using the procedure discussed in my "Aspire Nautilus Observations" document. After this initial period, the atomizer broke in and it vaped superbly. While these earlier versions of Nude Janice had a PG/VG ratio of 70/30, this is the only 70/30 e-liquid I've vaped that exhibited this behavior. I think the answer here is to let a filled Nautilus with a new atomizer stand for no more than one minute before beginning the break-in process. In test 24 I tried this one-minute period and did not experience any of the gurgling or floodiness I had in tests 17 and 22.
Despite being unflavored, Nude Janice is a good vape. There is a barely detectable sweet taste from the USP-grade PG when the atomizer is new, but I didn't notice this once the atomizer broke in. The vapor likewise carries a very light, sweet odor that disappears once the atomizer breaks in. Low power is the rule with this e-liquid: I vaped it at 3.8V in each test because I found the throat hit a bit harsh at anything over 4.0V.
While some may regard unflavored e-liquids as a boring vape or "Methadone for nicotine addicts," I found it quite enjoyable and observed the following benefits of Nude Janice over the flavored e-liquids I'd vaped:
I highly recommend Nude Janice, especially if you're looking to reduce or minimize your atomizer expenditures. It's a good vape and may be a great mixer to reduce the intensity of some flavors, such as pure menthols. Nude Janice is now my ADV.
Shaded Menthol is a light-colored, mentholated, light tobacco flavor. It was very easy on the BVC atomizer used in test 3. Unfortunately, I did not like this flavor: at 18 mg/ml nicotine, it left an unpleasant black pepper aftertaste and the menthol overwhelmed the tobacco flavor, especially if vaped anywhere above 3.8V. The liquid also became exceedingly dark when a full tank was vaped down to 1 ml, so much so that I discarded the last 0.5 ml before refilling, hence why I only vaped 24 ml of a 30 ml bottle (containing approximately 27 ml of e-liquid when opened). The staff at The Vapor Bar report this is a popular flavor, but I suspect it is better at lower nicotine levels.
Texas Sweet Tea
I had high hopes for Mt. Baker Vapor's Texas Sweet Tea, but this e-liquid was intolerable to vape after 4.3 ml in test 6.
I did my homework before ordering for Texas Sweet Tea: I read all the reviews of this e-liquid on the Mt. Baker site, watched the three reviews I found published on YouTube™, and called Mt. Baker to discuss this e-liquid. I ordered two 30 ml bottles in the 65/30 PG/VG ratio with one additional flavor shot. I ordered the additional flavor shot based on comments in the written reviews and my chat with their staff indicating this e-liquid had an extremely light and subtle flavor that might benefit from an extra flavor shot. I ordered two bottles because of the long steeping process: if this were to become my ADV, I didn't want to run out before I could reorder.
Upon receiving my order, I followed Mt. Baker's steeping directions to the letter: I kept the two bottles in a cool, dark place for 21 days and shook each bottle 100 times every other day. At the end of the steeping period, the e-liquid was as clear as water in the Nautilus tank.
Texas Sweet Tea delivered a noticeably plastic aftertaste, as if my mouth had been flocked with Styrofoam. The sweet tea flavor was best at 4.6V, but the overwhelming plastic taste forced me to stop the test. I also noticed that the atomizer draw was tightening as the e-liquid level approached 1 ml, implying the atomizer was clogging, possibly due to the sweetness.
I telephoned Mt. Baker Vapor to discuss these problems and — to their credit — they refunded my entire purchase, including shipping. I discarded the unused portion of my purchase and cannot recommend this e-liquid.