29 March, 2022 4 min read

How long does juice last? Well, that’s complicated. There are many, many factors. You can ruin a bottle of juice in hours or you can store it for up to a decade. Lets have a look at a few topics.

 

1 – The date on the bottle

2 – Storage methods

3 – Base nicotine

4 – Indicators of age

5 – Why steeping is crucial

 

1 – Decoding the date on the bottle:

Many times, there is a date and a batch code on the bottle but this isn’t standardised as to the meaning. Some manufacturers use a best before, some use a born-on date and others an expiry. Let’s try break this down:

Born on or birth date: This is just like the day you were born; it doesn’t indicate when the juice may no longer be in good condition, just the day it was mixed. You most likely have 2-3 years of peak quality when stored at below 20 degrees Celsius. If there are no markings matching the ones below, you can safely assume it is a birthdate.

EXP or Expiry: This is a hard one, nicotine has a slow degradation that starts from the first day it is manufactured and never stops. Some countries or parts of countries require expiration dates. Since the juice comes from all over the world, they may be following local laws. Previously, brands like Naked 100 used to stick to a strict 12 month from bottling to expiry, whilst other brands set this at a loose 4 years. An expiration hasn’t been universally agreed upon, improperly stored juice can be destroyed in hours whereas cold temperatures can keep the quality high for many years.

BB, BBE or best before: The estimated date that the product may start losing nicotine content or just taste not as fresh if stored at room temp. The product is generally still very usable, you may find that some of the heavily discounted juices from suppliers may be at or near the Best Before and should be vaped quickly after testing for quality. Most of the time there is little reason to discard.

Batch code: Completely unreliable to predict the day it will no longer be usable. Sometimes the birth date is part of the batch code, other times this is a completely random code with letters and/or numbers that only mean something to the manufacturer.

 

2 – Storing your nicotine liquid properly:

Most of the time a cool, dark place with no direct sunlight and out of reach of children and animals is best for flavoured juice with nicotine. Occasionally longer-term storage may be needed, a cold place like the fridge (ensure that it is perfectly sealed and out of reach of children) can be used. Whilst PG does not freeze, VG does, and most flavoured e-liquids contain VG.

 

3 – Nicotine base storage, use and lifetime:

Let’s start with talking about storage, any of the nicotine base products we sell should be stored in the freezer for the longest life. Direct sunlight or heat can cause damage to base nicotine very quickly, once you have finished using the nicotine, place it back in to the freezer immediately. Base nicotine can also be very dangerous, ensure that it always out of reach by children and animals.

Occasionally, during transport a package may be stored outside for an extended period and should be inspected upon arrival. Indicators of damage will include an intense fishy, nutty or earthy smell (small amount is normal), a bright orange colour (clear or slight straw colour is expected) and peppery flavour. This all indicates age, heat exposure or direct sunlight.

You can expect base nicotine to have a shelf life of a few months when stored at room temp. Base nicotine in the freezer, however, can last for up to a decade in perfect conditions but 5 years is a good expectation due to many small uses.

 

4 – Indicators of oxidation:

Sight, smell, taste, and throat hit all can be used to determine the freshness of your juice with nicotine.

Sight: The colour is a quick method to check the freshness. Juice ranges from clear to dark browns depending on the flavour, as they age, they will get darker, orange or more vibrant. Clear flavours may include apple or menthol, some flavours like watermelon can be bright yellow when fresh, golden whisky colours for a lot of desserts and flavours like coffee are often a dark brown even when fresh. This is primarily used to compare changes over time or to previous batches (some small variation between batches is normal).

Smell: An intense earthy or nutty flavour may take over. In some cases, a peppery smell may also be apparent when oxidised.

Taste: The easiest method, with age the juice will become peppery or spicy in flavour. The expected flavour will be muted, and a nutty flavour may creep in. A more intense or developing flavour is however normal, it will be discussed next in the steeping section.

 

5 – Steeping is the process of intentionally ageing the juice:

Like fine wine, age brings a more matured and blended flavour, letting it breath helps hasten the process. A small amount of heat, oxygen or time in a cool dark place can help this process along. Some flavours are not great without steeping such as desserts and flavours like fruit need no steeping. Most juices we sell have been pre-steeped, unfortunately due to most flavours coming out of the US, all juices will have some level of steeping beyond our control.

 

 We will do a full steeping blog post soon, keep your eyes peeled!