What Makes An E-juice Premium In 2018?

December 12, 2017 2 Comments

You’ve all seen it. The word “premium” on countless of e-juice brands. It’s everywhere. When it’s used countless of times, you start to wonder what makes an e-juice premium?

You might think that it’s all marketing but that’s not all of it. The most important part comes down to the quality of your e-juice. The product should speak for themselves.

We’ve been in this game for a while now and we currently manufacture for over 50+ juice brands. We sell in 60 different countries but none of that matters if we aren’t putting the best of the best out there.

When it comes to premium e-liquids, it comes down to what defines high-quality e-juice. As a leading manufacturer in this industry, we believe that all vape juices should be upheld to a higher standard.

We didn’t go all-in to create this company if we were going to put garbage out there. We made a promise to ourselves and the vaping community to dedicate our lives to make the most incredible e-juices out there. So without further ado, we will discuss what makes an e-juice high quality.

What defines a premium vape juice?

What defines high-quality e-juices depends on 4 factors:

  1. Ingredients
  2. Flavor
  3. Production Environment
  4. Pricing 


Fresh Produce | High Quality Ingredients

Making high-quality e-juices all starts with the ingredients. Just like any top-notch chefs in premium restaurants, we want to be certain that we are using the highest quality ingredients to serve our customers.

As an emerging industry, we understand the need for having best-practices to ensure that every step in our quality control process is approached with extreme attention to detail and care.

USP Grade

The highest quality ingredients found in the vaping industry are USP Grade.

USP (United States Pharmacopeia) is a non-profit organization that sets the standards for substances used in medicines, supplements, and food ingredients. It is the treasury for all pharmaceutical chemicals. The FDA and 140 other countries rely on USP standards to protect their consumers. These standards are recognized legally and they are enforceable by the government.

Understanding what defines high-quality ingredients are based on the purity and the process of vetting pharmaceutical grade suppliers. What we will cover here is the purity level in e-juice ingredients.

When you buy premium e-juices, the minimum purity level in your e-juices should meet USP standards:

Ingredients USP Standard 
Propylene Glycol 99.5%
Glycerin (any source: coconut, soy, palm, etc) 99.0%
Nicotine 99.0%

Premium e-juice makers strive for 99.9% purity as this would yield the most superior product. The quality of nicotine can affect the flavoring of your e-juice.

No detail is too small to consider.

It would be a great disservice to our customers to not take that extra step as a premium e-juice company.

Food Grade

It is common practice for e-juice manufacturers to use ‘food grade’ or ‘generally recognized as safe’ (GRAS) flavoring concentrates that are approved by FEMA (flavour extracts manufacturers association). These standards are only applicable to indigestion as the effects of inhaling these flavoring concentrates are unknown.

Premium e-juice brands will avoid any known additives that can cause negative effects. That includes the infamous diacetyl that is known to cause popcorn lungs and are found in butter flavors. There are other flavor additives that are oil based and any knowledgeable e-juice manufacturer will avoid these type of ingredients to minimize harmful effects.



Skilled chef - flavor

A superstar chef can still make delicious food with ordinary ingredients. But, using subpar ingredients will only get you so far in making excellent e-juices. The combination of high-quality ingredients and a skilled chef is what differentiates regular versus premium e-juices.

What premium e-juice comes down to with all constants remaining the same is the experience.

Mixology is a science and an art.

The mixologist has to become intimate with the flavorings, understand the different nuances, and have the intuition to capture the flavor profile they are striving for. Furthermore, it takes time and skill to find the right balance of flavors which takes experimentation with the ratios of flavoring. None of this can be simply achieved overnight. At Ruthless, our culinary trained mixologists can take months at a time and countless of reiterations to produce the final product.

Flavor is a subjective experience that evokes positive or negative emotions. This entirely depends on the person and it is difficult to define how flavor will constitute as a premium vape juice. Some like more artificial flavors whereas some like natural flavors. Some prefer complexity in their flavors and some would rather taste flavors that are more subtle.

What can be said is that the craftsmanship involved in creating an accurate and consistent flavor profile is something that we can all appreciate. For example, eating strawberries is an experience. When you put a strawberry in your mouth, you first get the coarse and fuzzy texture of the strawberry, then you get the juicy sweetness combined with the slight acidity as the flavor lingers.

Some might get more of a tarty taste whereas some might perceive more sweetness. When a flavor chemist tries to recreate this in a vape experience, buying strawberry concentrate, mixing it into the base, and calling it a day won’t make it a spectacular juice.

The layering process of a recipe calls for a dynamic combination of different flavorings to encompass the texture such as the mouthfeel that you get from a custard flavor. You might only notice two primary notes but there is a lot of behind the scene layering going on to add depth to the flavor profile. 

The thought process that goes into it and the quality of the ingredients takes a knowledgeable chemist with advanced techniques to create a cohesive and intentional flavor.

At Ruthless, we also take it a step further and steep our e-juices for about 1-4 weeks depending on the flavor to properly marry the flavoring with the base.


Production Environment (Quality Management)

Professional Kitchen
Suppliers of high-quality ingredients are no secret and it is accessible to anyone. However, what will further differentiate a premium e-juice company from a regular one is their quality management process.

High-quality ingredients and a skilled chef alone cannot be considered premium unless the production environment also meets a level of standard that we can define as high quality.

Like premium restaurants, the chefs need to have a professional grade kitchen that is suitable for making high-quality food. Similarly, premium e-juice manufacturers need to have lab grade equipment and protocols in place to ensure a clean, safe, and sanitary environment.

This is an area the vaping industry should not treat lightly since the safety of our customers is a number one priority.

The standard for premium e-liquids should be the same level of standards that big pharmaceutical companies like Tylenol are subjected to. If you are buying something that you are putting in your body, wouldn’t you want it created in the cleanest environment possible? It should be no different with the vaping industry.

What separates the boys from the men is creating e-juices in an ISO certified lab. ISO is an internationally recognized standard that requires organizations to meet specific requirements for quality management. It also requires an outside party to audit your facility so that you can be sure that your e-juice manufacturer is responsibly providing you ultra clean e-juices. What this all means is that you can be assured that the e-juice production takes place in an environment that is contaminate-free at all times. 

Furthermore, all premium e-juice manufacturers should be compliant with Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP). cGMP is a system that provides quality standards for pharmaceutical and food companies to assure that all products are produced consistently and are of high quality. In short, cGMP exists to protect the consumer from any risks that may come from quality assurance issues.

At Ruthless, we create our e-juices in an ISO 7 certified state of the art clean room. We also thereby follow cGMP practices to assure that we practice quality control at all levels in our e-liquid production process.



You might be thinking, what does pricing have to do with high-quality e-juices? As we all know, we can’t avoid the fact that marketing does play a role in how people perceive a brand. You can have the greatest recipe in the world but if it doesn’t have any marketing around it, who’s gonna know about it?

One way marketing can affect the way people perceive value is the price. Even though price doesn’t always reflect value, it has tremendous effects on how consumers view a brand or product.

The competitive pricing that you can find at your local vape shop falls somewhere in the range below.

Competitive Pricing of E-juices

Majority of the premium e-juices will fall in the latter end of the spectrum. Although, you might have seen premium e-juice makers charge anywhere from $20 to $40 for 30 ML.

That’s about two to four times the average e-juice prices on the market. You might be asking yourself is it worth the money?

Some would say yes while some might find it hard to justify the price. Few of these companies are undoubtedly high-quality e-juices. We would even go as far as classifying them as “boutique” or “craft” e-juices. What would make the pricing so high can be attributed to the limited selection of flavors, creating their own extracts, and exquisite packaging.

Packaging is also encompassed in the pricing and it is also an indicator of quality e-juices. As we have discussed above, bottling in an ISO clean room is imperative to the safety of the public. All premium e-juice bottles should be hermetically sealed in the bottling process to avoid any contaminants from entering before and after the process. If your bottle is not tamper-proofed, the level of care does not reflect high-quality status.

Fun fact: We designed our ruthless bottles dark colored to lessen any UV degradation. Bon appetit!

Pricing is the end result that reflects the amount of time and effort that went into making a superb e-juice.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

High-quality ingredients, an experienced mixologist, quality management, and the pricing are all interdependent in making an e-juice premium.

One without the other won't produce anything worth calling premium. The attention to detail at every level of the process is what differentiates premium e-juices from the regular ones.

Any e-juice labeled as premium should give you the assurance that your e-juice manufacturer didn't cut any corners and the price of your vape juice should reflect the craftsmanship of your e-juice maker.

Tell us from your experience what makes an e-juice premium!

2 Responses

Brian From Ruthless
Brian From Ruthless

February 06, 2018

Thanks Mike! We’re glad you enjoyed the blog article. We are currently working on a video and we will send it your way once it’s ready!!

Mike Manion
Mike Manion

February 02, 2018

Fantastic read, Thank you! I’d love to see a video of your facilities.

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