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If you’re craving for a realistic tobacco flavour in your vape, making your own NET (or naturally-extracted) tobacco e liquid is an option worth exploring.
Even now, it’s not that easy to find pre-made vape juice that really tastes like tobacco or cigarettes. And even when you do, it often fails to hit the spot in some way. So why not try making your own?
This article gives you all the information you need to make your own homemade tobacco vape juice, using either NET or non-NET flavour concentrates – or even 100% from scratch, using real tobacco.
What is NET tobacco e liquid?
NET tobacco e liquid is any vape juice made from tobacco flavours which have been extracted naturally. Natural extraction involves steeping, mixing and macerating cured tobacco at ambient temperatures.
This natural flavour extraction method differs from conventional methods, which rely on high temperatures, vacuums and chemical processes, which can ruin subtle tobacco flavours.
NET tobacco e liquid takes longer to make. But flavours are noticeably richer and softer than those extracted using industrial processes. It also tends to be more expensive, too, unless that is, you choose to make it yourself.
Different ways to make real tobacco vape juice at home
You can make your own tobacco e liquid at home in two ways:
- buy naturally-extracted or non-NET tobacco flavour concentrates or short fills
- make your own flavour concentrate from scratch using real tobacco
In both cases, you have to mix these concentrates with your own unflavoured nicotine base liquid at the strength you require to make your e liquid.
Let’s look at both of these options in turn.
Making e liquid with tobacco flavour concentrates
You can make real-tasting tobacco e liquids at home using NET flavour concentrates or short fills.
NET concentrates contain naturally-extracted flavours rather than chemically extracted ones. Concentrates and short fills with naturally-extracted flavours are the best option to use for DIY mixing. That is if you want a realistic and rich tobacco e liquid flavour.
NET Flavour concentrates and short fills
It’s becoming harder to find NET flavour concentrates days. However, some suppliers continue to stock NET “short fills”, which are the next best option to actual concentrates.
NET short fill e liquids are nicotine-free pre-mixed flavour bases, which you add your own nicotine to. They do contain real tobacco concentrates, it’s just that unlike with concentrates, you don’t get the fun of mixing everything yourself.
Where can I find NET tobacco short fills for home mixing?
In the UK, the best option for shortfills made from real NET tobacco extracts is either Rejuiced.com or Drakeseliquid.com.
Both of these suppliers offer short fill products containing naturally-extracted cold-pressed tobacco flavours.
Of these, I would particularly recommend Drakes’ “American Blend” and Rejuiced’s less expensive “Kentucky Virginian”, both of which taste great.
Non-NET alternative tobacco concentrate options
If you can’t find a NET flavour concentrate or you don’t get on with short fills, you can still choose from alternative non-NET tobacco flavours.
Non-net flavour liquids like tinctures and Hangsen still taste like real tobacco and are just as easy to use for home mixing.
Non-NET tobacco tinctures
Tinctures (often also confusingly called concentrates) are the most strongly-flavoured real non-NET tobacco extracts available. You only need a few drops to transform your VG/PG/ nicotine base into a rich-tasting tobacco-flavoured brew.
Upsides of using tinctures:
- They add a very strong real tobacco flavour to your DIY mixes
- Value for money – they will last you a very long time
Downsides of using tinctures:
- Lack more subtle tobacco tones
- Can taste earthy or chemically (due to extraction process)
- May contain chemical additives to soften flavour
How to use non-NET tobacco tincture concentrates in your DIY mixes
You should use tobacco tinctures sparingly. Adding 2ml of tincture to your 50ml PG/VG/ unflavoured nicotine base will give you a distinctive tobacco-flavoured e liquid. Try with a few drops first though to see how you get on.
Where can I get tobacco tinctures for DIY mixing?
The best DIY e-liquid concentrate I have found in the UK is Picnic Real Tobacco Gold. This is made by Jac Vapour UK. It costs next to nothing (£2.99), is very rich in flavour and will last you several weeks, if not months.
Non-NET tobacco flavour concentrates are thick, golden-brown and quite sticky. The most common type of concentrate is made by the Chinese brand, Hangsen. Some of these flavours are quite good, though some aren’t.
Upsides of using Hangsen concentrates
- Add body and sweetness as well as flavour to your mixes
- Have a softer flavour than tinctures
Downsides of using Hangsen concentrates
- Very dilute in most cases so you need larger quantities (10-30%)
- More expensive than tinctures
- Some flavours have a chemically taste
Where can I find Hangsen tobacco concentrates?
The best place to find the full range of Hangsen tobacco concentrates in the UK is Cremedevape.com.
“Reds”, “Tobacco”, and “Turkish tobacco” and “Virginia” flavours are all worth getting hold of though don’t buy more than 10ml of each at first.
The only Hangsen liquid I occasionally use to mix with nowadays is RY1. Adding just 5 drops of this to 30ml of base will give you a rich but subtle tobacco base flavour.
Making your own NET concentrates from real tobacco
If you’ve already gone down the road of buying in pre-made tobacco concentrates and want a challenge, it might be time to try extracting your own flavours from real tobacco.
Why bother making e liquid from real tobacco?
Anyone new to DIY tobacco vape juice might wonder why on earth anyone would want to bother with making their own NET e liquid from real tobacco. After all, extracting tobacco flavours takes time, can be messy, and doesn’t always go to plan.
But there’s nothing quite like cracking open a sealed and long-forgotten bottle of homemade Virginia tobacco extract and savouring it in your vape. Suddenly, all that hard work and waiting pays off as you thank yourself for having spent so long brewing it in the first place.
Extracting flavour, not nicotine
Just to be clear, using tobacco to make e liquid does not mean you’ll extract any nicotine, as well.
Though there may be traces of nicotine in whatever flavour juice you end up with, this isn’t usually strong enough to satisfy. So unless you’re happy vaping without nicotine, you’ll still need to add some to your tobacco flavour mixture once it’s ready.
How long does it take to extract NET flavours?
Making your own NET tobacco e liquid flavouring is surprisingly simple and really just involves nothing more than a process of soaking, stirring and filtering. However, don’t expect to have your homemade e liquid ready by teatime. It’s more likely you’ll be waiting for several weeks or months before you can actually vape it.
What kind of tobacco is best for home made NET e liquid?
The best kind of tobacco to use for DIY NET vape juice is the unprocessed, whole leaf, cured kind.
In countries like the US, Turkey and Greece, it’s easy enough to buy cured, whole leaf tobacco online or straight from a farm store. But here in the UK, your only real option is to grow your own tobacco.
Homegrown tobacco for vaping
Growing tobacco isn’t hard to do, as it grows like a weed in northern climates, though the curing part is trickier to achieve. If you can really be bothered to go through the process of tending and curing your own homegrown tobacco for vaping, check out this guide for more info.
The simpler option: processed tobacco
Processed tobacco isn’t ideal for making flavour extracts for e liquid as it usually contains additives which you might not want to vape. However, if you extract at cool temperatures as I recommend, you’re less likely to get so many of these nasties seeping out of the tobacco into your mix.
I’ve tried both hand rolling and cigar tobacco, and both work fine, though I have not yet tried to extract flavours from cigarette tobacco.
Though not the perfect option, by using processed tobacco you’ll at least be able to get started with your homemade vape liquid right away without having to become a gardener, first.
How to make your own NET vape extract from real tobacco
To get started with making your NET extract, you’ll need at least 200ml of food-grade propylene glycol, a glass or ceramic jar with a lid, and of course, some processed or whole leaf tobacco. Then follow these steps:
Here’s how to make vape juice from real tobacco by extracting flavour
- Fill a jar half-full with tobacco
First, take your glass or ceramic jar and fill it to the half-way mark with whatever tobacco you want to use in your mixture. 25 grams should be more than enough.
- Pour enough propylene glycol over tobacco in the jar
Then, just pour your PG liquid over the tobacco so that all of it is covered, plus a little more
- Stir contents thoroughly and close jar lid
Stir the mixture to make sure tobacco starts to absorb PG, then close the lid
- Leave for 4 weeks in a cool, dark place, stirring mixture daily
Keep the mixture cool and away from light for 4 weeks, but open the lid and stir once a day to release more flavour. 4 weeks is the minimum time you’ll need, though flavours will reach a peak at 6 months or so, if you can wait that long!
- Pour mixture through a jelly bag or coffee filter to remove tobacco
When the mixture has darkened, filter it using a fine mesh or nylon sieve. A coffee filter will also work but you may find this absorbs too much of your liquid
- Add filtered mixture to unflavoured vape juice base
Now add your filtered tobacco vape concentrate to an unflavoured liquid base and mix. For best results, use 20% homemade tobacco flavour to a 80% thin, nicotine salt base
- Temper your finished mixture in hot water or the microwave
Finally, temper your e liquid for 10-20 seconds in the microwave or until warm (50C is enough) or leave in a bowl of hot water for 5 mins. This will bond ingredients together make your liquid taste stronger and smoother
Conclusion and disclaimer
Making your own e liquid from real tobacco might be seen as a bit of a step back for those vapers who have already weaned themselves off the taste of tobacco.
If that’s you, keep vaping on whatever you usually vape. Homemade NET tobacco vape juice is for die-hard tobacco loving adults who just can’t get on with vaping factory-bought “tobacco” e liquid. As such, they are the the kind of vapers who run such a big risk of going back to cigarettes that only realistic tobacco flavours will do.
Even then, I wouldn’t recommend vaping real tobacco extracts in the long-term, given the harmful effects of tobacco. If you do choose to go for it, it’s probably best to view homemade NET tobacco juice as a one-off vape for special occasions.
So I’m in no way suggesting DIY tobacco e liquid extracts are a harm-free way to vape. If you’re unsure about the safety of making NET juice at home, then please don’t bother!