I bought a packet of the Ice Cucumber - the only flavour not included in the Starter Kit - with my Stratus, partly because it was a unique flavour I hadn’t tried before, and I also imagined the crispness of cucumber with a touch of menthol might be surprisingly enjoyable. Just as I underestimated the appeal of the Stratus itself, every one of these flavours hits a new level of enjoyment for me.
Blackcurrant is a rich, authentic blackcurrant flavour that reminds me of Cassis and Chambord. It’s sweet without becoming sickly, and it’s not overpowering as I imagined it might be. The Ice Cucumber breathes new life into a menthol-inspired flavour, and I imagine the nicotine salt composition prevents the harsh throat-attack I’ve had in some Mint Chocolate or Ice Watermelon flavours in the past. In the absolutely sweltering heat of Auckland this past week, it’s been a delightful match with even a plain glass of soda water.
A.N.Z.A.A.C. is as good here as you’ve ever had it, to the point that when I see my parents - who have never smoked or vaped in their lives - they are both gleefully curious about the buttery, biscuity-oak coconut flavour that for a few fleeting seconds occupies the balcony we’re sitting on while talking. I have no worry about approaching these three flavours, and I’m honestly just surprised that the intensity and enjoyment of the Stratus Pods last until the very last drop of liquid. Meanwhile, the Kentucky Gold pod taunts me from its unopened and put-aside packet on my bookshelf.
Kentucky Gold Stratus Pod - a vape flavour better than any cigarette
It’s been two years, one month, 19 days and 20 hours since my last cigarette, so I’m hesitant to even try the Kentucky Gold for fear of relapse - even if only to not lose progress on the more-than-$20,000 I’ve saved in that time by not buying any.
What if it tastes like my much-loved Marlboro Reds and I’m hooked again, spending my last $25 on a pack instead of food for the next two days? What if none of the other flavours match up to this alluring temptress after a few puffs, knowing how effective the Stratus is in delivering fully rounded flavour and the genuine feel of smoking without any of the potential issues or downsides?
Still, I want to give the Stratus the full and complete review I felt it deserved, so I hesitantly crack the packaging and remove the yellow guard from the bottom of the pod. The smell is exactly how I remember opening a fresh pack of smokes - gulp - but I click in the Kentucky Gold pod and take an initial, reluctant draw from the Stratus.
It’s exactly how I remember a cigarette tasting. I take another short draw and wash the vapour around in my mouth. The feel, the hit, the flavour, all of it taking me back. Then, just as quickly, it doesn’t. My nostalgia is replaced by another memory, of smoking my first cigar, wallowing in the richness of the flavour while wishing I could breathe that flavour in - then I remember I can.
Another draw and almost by reflex I replace the Kentucky Gold pod with the Ice Cucumber, quickly inhaling and, just as quickly, the flavour of that rich, full-bodied cigar is gone, replaced as fast as the pod was with the refreshing memory of an ice-cold Hendrick’s G&T with slices of fresh cucumber. There’s no lingering smell of the cigar - which I’m now convinced of more than just any old cigarette - no stale, cardboard taste lingering on my tongue or my breath. I took the leap and emerged unscathed, untainted by what I was so hesitant about. A minute or so later, I’m looking at the Kentucky Gold and thinking of how luxurious that taste was and how, just like the A.N.Z.A.A.C. with my morning and afternoon coffee, it fits perfectly into the ritualistic and moment-driven flavour combination of choosing to smoke a cigar.
Although I no longer drink alcohol, I know from my vast experience doing so that this is the perfect flavour to match with a neat glass of rum or whiskey. That same nostalgia takes me back to sitting outside on a balcony, with a large bottle of scotch and a five-hour cigar, but instead, it’s now replaced with a longing to take this moment back to that, to replace it with a substitute undeniably both superior and more enjoyable.
A perfect initial release of flavours for the Stratus
It’s no surprise that the Vapourium team have spent endless hours perfecting and choosing these flavours to offer a complete package for anyone wanting to give up smoking and move to vaping. Each flavour serves its own purpose, combining everything you could love about smoking while enhancing almost every aspect of its enjoyment.
Whether you want to cut down on your smoking, give up entirely, or have spent years - like me - searching for a genuine vaping replacement that eliminates all the potential issues of mod / tank devices, the Vapourium Stratus is the evolution of vaping in its purest and most approachable form.
I honestly cannot wait to see what flavours the Vapourium team bring to the Stratus, and what this team delivers to vaping enthusiasts across New Zealand next - but for now, this is without question as good as it gets.
Author: Oxford Lamoureaux at Fox In The Green Forest
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