Thursday, 29 August 2013

Radiator Pluid by Mad Murdock

Disclaimer: I purchased this E-liquid with my own money for the purpose of conducting a review. I will, as best I'm able, provide an honest, accurate and unbiased assessment of this product.

Radiator Fluid is a coolant used in automobiles to transfer and disperse heat from various parts of the engine. That, my friends, is the limit of my knowledge of car engines. All commercially available coolants are based on Ethylene Glycol which is an alcohol related liquid and a cousin to the Propylene Glycol we know so well, which, as some of you may know, is also used as a coolant. Coolants are available in a variety of colours, but the coolant we're interested in is an (artificially) deeply saturated green. Somebody (Murdock, I assume) has either serendipitously named this e-liquid or they have (he has) a solid understanding of solvents/coolants.

Is Murdock Ruml really mad or is he a savvy businessman with a taste for and understanding of the role and utility of theatre in branding and marketing? He's reputedly ex-military, speaks with a drawl and wears pilot's goggles and a ushanka (a type of fur lined hat with ear flaps). He's eccentric, and whether it's an affectation or genuine, this adds character and dimension to the Mad Murdock brand. Mad Murdock's e-liquids are spectacularly popular, with Radiator Pluid being the most popular; it has a cult following with its own Facebook page, entire threads devoted to it on various forums and appears to be as rare as hen's teeth.

As an artisan juice maker, Murdock would be limited in how much of the liquid he could produce at any one time. He has distributors of course, who I imagine lighten his workload somewhat, but nevertheless, demand significantly outstrips supply. Liberty Flights UK announced ahead of time that they'd be putting a significant number of 10ml bottles of each of Murdock's juices online on a particular day at a particular time. 4:00PM GMT on Monday, July 15 (2013). 1000 bottles of each juice in the Murdock range. Within 8 minutes, half of the Pluid had been sold. I didn't hang around to see how long it took for them to sell out.

I bought four 10ml bottles; one each of Radiator Pluid, Maha Ras, 710 and Agent Orange at £6.95 per bottle.

The bottle is a clear, firm plastic that is easily squeezed and has an attached dropper insert. The white plastic, screw top cap is childproof. The label includes the following information: the name of the liquid, liquid contents in ml, nicotine content in mg and as a percentage, the name, address, website address, telephone and mobile numbers of the distributor, a batch number, Mad Murdock's Pluid graphic (1cm x 1cm), a toxicity graphic (skull and crossbones within an orange square), a textual toxicity warning,  storage instructions, first aid instructions, a tactile, triangle warning sticker (which complies with EU laws regarding the storage of toxic substances), a warning that the liquid may contain traces of nuts and the declaration, "Made in America".

Compared to some of the images I've seen of previously available Radiator Pluid bottles, the bottle and label I have in front of me is entirely lacking in style, charm or appeal. What happened to the glass bottle with the thoughtfully designed label? You could argue that it's just a container for an amazing juice, but I'd counter that with the argument that branding, packaging and labelling contribute significantly to the pleasure of buying, receiving, owning and vaping the liquid. It's said that a great meal begins by delighting the eye. The same could be said of vaping.

The colour of the liquid is distinctive and besides the flavour, is it's key signifier. It looks like Radiator Fluid! The liquid is a mildly opaque Dark Lime Green (Hex #00A000) (Scroll down the page to "Shades and Tints" to see how the liquid looks in lighter or darker lighting conditions.) In terms of viscosity the liquid appears fairly aqueous, having the consistency of an undiluted cordial syrup. It's very lubricious; a drop of the liquid rubbed between the tips of my thumb and forefinger takes four minutes to be absorbed into my skin. Opening the bottle below my nose releases an aroma saturated with anise.

Radiator Pluid is sold as a 20mg juice. Mad Murdock's Cutter, which is Radiator Pluid without Nicotine or colouring, can be mixed with Pluid to adjust the nicotine strength to the individual vaper's preference.

This is what the Liberty Flights website has to say about Mad Murdock's Radiator Pluid: "Genius creation by mad scientist Mad Murdock! This juice glows green and is full of wonderful notes! This is one complex e-liquid! Not only does this e-liquid taste great, it looks great in a tank! Give it a whirl! Pluid is one of the most potent flavored juices out there."

I'm vaping uncut Pluid in an Igo-L on a Poldiac running on an 18650 battery. I don't have the means to check the ohms of the coil, but I can tell you that there's five wraps of 0.2mm (32 AWG) Kanthal wire around three strands of 2mm Silica wick. The wick is saturated with juice following three days of consecutive use.

As I draw the vapour into my mouth there's a flood of lightly sweetened flavour. There's a broad sensation of flavour that seems to sit squarely between sweet, bitter and sour which is a clumsy way of saying that the flavour is spiced. Not spicy as in chilli, but spiced as in Christmas minced fruit pies. The anise makes it's presence felt immediately, with a slight numbing of the tip of my tongue. With successive draws and inhalations the anaesthetic effect of this juice is amplified until my whole tongue and the forward edge of the roof of my mouth is partially numbed. When I inhale the mouthful of vapour and continue to inhale while continuously firing the device, I taste the anise and, though at first I didn't perceive it, the merest suggestion of the tart aspect of Granny Smith apple. Once I've inhaled my fill of vapour, I take a short breath of air to chase it into my lungs and as I do so, the flavour of anise is intensified. At this point, and as I hold my breath for a moment before proceeding to exhale, I discern the unlikely addition to the overall flavour sensation of spearmint and a vague plumminess that leans towards the aforementioned spiced, minced fruit.  The dominant anise carries through to the aftertaste with the subtlest hint, again, of apple. The anaesthetic effect abides in my mouth for a good twenty minutes after my last vape. 

The vapour is a smooth, dense affair that inhales easily and produces generous volumes as I exhale. Throat hit is as significant as I'd expect from a 20mg juice. I'm beginning to feel a sharp spike of discomfort above my right eye: nicotine overload. :)

This is an exceptional e-liquid; it's cult status and popularity are well deserved. Hats off to you Mr. Ruml! It vapes easily, is so saturated with flavour that it actually provokes a torrent of saliva with each exhalation, produces a worthy throat hit, generous vapour production and a numb tongue to boot. The flavour seems to mutate depending on what time of day I vape it or what I last ate or drank which lends further fuel to the desire to plumb it's depths. My only disappointment is with the lacklustre bottle and label. If I was Murdock, I'd ensure that every bottle sold was glass and that it had a thoughtfully designed label and artwork. (Other vendors sell their liquids in glass bottles with eye droppers and beautifully designed labels at very competitive prices.)

Please note: Radiator Pluid is known to etch, crack, frost and melt plastic tanks. Use a stainless steel or glass tank when vaping this liquid.