Mixology lessons. Throat hit

a self-defense guide

Mixology lessons. Throat hit

a self-defense guide

Hi, mixologist! Before starting a new mix, you might not know what taste you want to achieve, but are most likely sure what your desired level of throat hit is. It’s a no-brainer — you either like it or you don’t. If you’re just starting on your mixology path, we must warn you — non-nicotine liquids can also give you a throat hit. How’s that? Let’s go.

What is a throat hit

"Throat hit" describes a characteristic sensation all ex-smokers are familiar with. Basically, it’s an irritation of nerve endings in the upper respiratory tract. If you took a drag, started coughing and asked for water — that’s a throat hit.

Many like it, but not everyone does. Usually a person gets used to a certain throat hit level (and if there’s none, they can’t feel the liquid in a sense). However, a strong throat hit is not to everyone’s liking either.


There are several reasons for a throat hit. They can be divided into two categories: devices and liquids.


  • In rebuildables, throat hit is decided by the position of the coil in relation to the airflow. Take, for instance, a side airflow RDA. Try setting the coil a little higher — the vapor will become softer, thicker, and throat hit will be reduced. Then, adjust the airflow 90 degrees — the flavor will change, and the throat hit will become noticeably stronger;
  • Battery charge. The higher it is, the better the atomizer is heated. Which means thicker vapor and less throat hit;
  • Throat hit can also be increased by shorts — small short circuits occurring on the coil. A short might not visibly manifest itself in any way, especially if it’s hiding somewhere in the lower part of the coil. Still, every time you take a drag, it burns the cotton a little and gives your throat a hit. Dry fire your coil more often, check every wrap and keep it clean;
  • The same goes for resistance. The lower it is, the better your vapor will be.
It is also worth remembering that taste buds vary in sensitivity throughout the day. They are more receptive to flavors in the morning, and start to get tired at the end of the day. And it's not just the perception of taste that changes, but the sensations vaping gives us in general, throat hit included.
It is also worth remembering that taste buds vary in sensitivity throughout the day. They are more receptive to flavors in the morning, and start to get tired at the end of the day. And it's not just the perception of taste that changes, but the sensations vaping gives us in general, throat hit included.
But the main reason for throat hits is, of course, the liquid. Let's delve deeper.


Bases and nicotine

In our introductory article, we wrote that vaping liquids consist of glycerin (VG) and propylene glycol (PG). Liquids that contain more glycerin are more gentle on the throat. Roughly speaking, a 80/20 base is softer than a 50/50 one. This difference is especially noticeable on an RDA.

With nicotine, it's all simple. If you use high-quality nicotine, everything will be fine. This applies to absolutely everything: flavors, winter shoes and household equipment.

What's more interesting is that we can have two liquids with the same nicotine content and base, but get very different throat hit levels. Sometimes even non-nicotine liquids can carry a throat hit. What's this about?


Flavors can be made from propylene, alcohol or natural oils. If you don't like throat hits, you'll be better off not using alcohol- and oil-based flavors.

Sometimes flavors can carry a throat hit. No, not because they're bad. In most cases these are high-quality flavors based on natural raw materials. They have bright, interesting tastes: sour, tart, spicy, etc. However, these tastes can cause a slight unpleasant sensation in the throat, which intensifies throat hit — and, moreover, adds new overtones that the throat is not used to yet. The sensations are bright, but not to everyone's liking.

Spices are a pretty popular type of flavors. Examples include TPA's Cinnamon Red Hot, Root Beer and Ginger Ale, among others. With these, it's all subjective — some get uncomfortable sensations, while others don't feel a thing.

Menthol. Not Koolada, not the Malaysian cooling agent, but specifically menthol flavor. And peppermint, but it rarely gets added in tangible quantities.

Sour fruits. There's a variety: TPA offers Citrus Punch and Pineapple, and we have the watermelon-flavored Red Cocktail in our DROPS line. They carry a distinctive acerbity that can make one's throat somewhat uncomfortable. Imagine you are eating an orange and bite into the peel — it's something like that, but in your throat.

Concentrates. For example, Spearmint, Absynthe or Marashiro Cherry. It's hard to mistake a concentrate for a regular flavor, because the word "concentrate" is always present in the name (Absynthe Concentrate).

Mixologist, remember: concentrate should be added carefully, not more than 1%, otherwise the flavor will begin to separate. You can shake the bottle all you want, but the flavor will inevitably float up, get into your RDA and give you a good hit on the throat.

It's impossible to predict a throat hit. We listed the popular "difficult" flavors, but everyone is bound to find a flavor that is especially nasty on their throat. It can be anything, from lemon to dark chocolate.

What to do?

There are several ways of solving this problem.

You can dilute the liquid with glycerin — but this will slightly diminish the taste. Another proven method is to take a little ethylmaltol (sold under the title Cotton Candy at TPA) and drip it into your liquid. Ethylmaltol evens out the taste and removes especially sharp notes. However, you should only add a little, about 1−2% and up to 5% of the bottle's volume.

If you have an RDA, try putting the coil closer to the airflow. If there's no space left, you can lower the wattage slightly. Aside from that, you should properly dry fire your coil and check for short circuits. Or even change it out. You're gonna have to do it sooner or later.

Cheat sheet

All in all, remember: the coils need to be dry fired, the cotton needs to be changed regularly, and the liquid shouldn't be pickeв on the basis of "the stronger, the better". If your throat doesn't like sour or tart flavors — pay attention to this. Liquids should be bought from trusted manufacturers and suspicious clones should be avoided. And, of course, just keep vaping. Sooner or later your throat will grow accustomed, adapt and start enjoying it.
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