Fresh or Fruity? Our Menthol Flavour Guide
Asking a menthol smoker or vaper if they’re fresh or fruity could end up being a dangerous way to start a conversation, to be honest, it’s not likely to end well, but there are two distinct flavour groups within the menthol family and they will have a strong influence on the flavours people select.
Menthol cigarettes were developed just under a hundred years ago in the USA. The growth of Menthol as a popular flavour stems from the cooling effect it gives to smokers as they inhale. Past adverts promoted the ‘medicinal’ properties of menthol and the relief it provided to ‘tired throats’. However, it was a Readers Digest story back in 1950, “How Harmful Are Cigarettes?” that really boosted the growth in menthol’s market share of tobacco sales.
In more recent years, menthol tobacco accounted for 25% of tobacco revenues in the UK, 30% in the US and 60% in the Philippines. Appeal has not always been universal and multiple studies have investigated which social groups prefer menthol, looking at ethnicity, age, income and gender. It can get a bit messy and more than contradictory if you start trying to identify a typical menthol smoker.
Across the majority of studies one clear fact emerged, Menthol’s cooling effect makes smoking more tolerable for first time and novice smokers. Because of this, it has been identified as a factor that is more likely to encourage people to start smoking, especially within the younger elements of society. As a consequence of being seen as a potential gateway to smoking product, the European Union brought in legislation to ban menthol cigarettes on May 20th 2020.
This may upset tobacco smokers, but it is probable that in curbing the adoption of smoking by younger smokers, this law will save countless lives in the future. There are alternatives to smoking tobacco and just as importantly, there are alternatives that taste good, they’re cheaper and vaping has been cited by Public Health England as being 95% less harmful than smoking tobacco cigarettes.
Menthol as a flavour can be derived from a number of sources including peppermint oils, distilled corn mint oil (I hadn’t heard of that either before I researched this blog) and it can also be made synthetically. A fairly recent addition to the ingredients that go into making a cooling vape e-liquid is Koolada (menthyl methyl lactate). Koolada has the same cooling properties as menthol, but with none of the minty taste, it therefore provides a great way to create cooling fruity flavours that might otherwise be overpowered by the minty taste of menthol. However, for some vapers who believe there is no such thing as ‘too cool’, you can combine menthol and Koolada for a truly chilling experience.
Missing your Menthol?
Menthol vaping allows an ex-smoker to manage their nicotine intake, and retain the cooling effect of traditional menthol, it also opens up a wider range of flavours which can be broadly split into two groups, fresh menthols and fruit menthols.
Inside top secret laboratories hidden around the world (Dinner Lady has one in Blackburn), Chemical Genies (I don’t know the correct collective for genius, and this just sounds better) work around the clock to create sense-sational vape flavours. I could reference Willy Wonka but I’ve probably already infringed one copyright already.
Fresh menthols focus more upon a range of traditional mint flavours. For the menthol connoisseur, there are four ‘fresh’ flavours to choose from: Spearmint, Mint Ice, Ice Menthol and Fresh Menthol.
Spearmint’s taste profile is sweet and cooling, closely matching the natural flavour of the minty Spearmint plant. Fresh Menthol is somewhat less sweet and the refreshing minty taste has tones of Eucalyptus.
For vapers out there who like menthol, but want something cooler, Dinner Lady offers Ice Menthol and Mint Ice. Ice Menthol is a carefully blended Menthol and Koolada e-liquid, while Mint Ice blends Peppermint with Koolada to chill your breath on the warmest of days.
Not content with just a chillingly refreshing experience, some vapers prefer fruity menthols, however be warned, you will not be able to convince anyone that these contribute to your 5 a day! Dinner Lady makes two fruity menthols, Blue Menthol and Cherry Menthol. Blue Menthol contains a mixed berry blend of flavours while Cherry Menthol is a sweeter take on a menthol vape.
Without wanting to upset Menthol fans, it is worth noting that in addition to the above range of Menthol Flavours, Dinner Lady has created a range of cooling ice vape e-liquids with no minty taste, and as mentioned earlier, these are predominantly made with Koolada to provide the chill factor. This range contains: Blackcurrant Ice, Cola Ice, Lychee Ice, Mango Ice, Strawberry Ice, Apple Sours (Ice), Bubble Trouble (Ice), Lemon Sherbets (Ice), Sweet Fusion (Ice) and Watermelon slices (Ice).
Menthol Disposables – No mess, no fuss
For the former menthol cigarette smoker, the world of vaping may seem a bit complex, but there are two Menthol Disposable E-cigarettes that combine the vape hardware and a premium Dinner Lady e-liquid to provide a superior vape experience without breaking the bank. Dinner Lady has created a range of Disposable E-Cigarettes and two flavours in the range are menthols: Blue Menthol (launched September 2019) and Fresh Menthol (launched May 2020). Both devices use high quality Nicotine Salts to provide 20mg of nicotine, a higher level that is more likely to appease a smoker’s nicotine craving. Nicotine Salts are absorbed into the blood more quickly than other forms of nicotine and so more closely approximate the experience of smoking cigarettes, however, as stated earlier, unlike tobacco, they are 95% less harmful. These disposables are pre-charged and pre-filled, at £5.99 (RRP) they can be unwrapped and are ready to vape, no mess, no fuss.
Experienced vapers have become a surprising second market for the Dinner Lady Disposable E-Cigarettes. Vapers who use pod, pen and box devices can run out of their e-liquid or battery power; the disposables provide an inexpensive back-up device that is ready to go at short notice.
Menthol Misery or Menthol Joy?
Smoking is addictive, not just because nicotine creates a chemical dependency, but because for each smoker, the trigger behaviours weave themselves into a routine that nicotine gum doesn’t quite address. Vaping addresses the trigger behaviours and replaces some of them, but more importantly, it allows a smoker to lower their nicotine intake over time. Dinner Lady’s menthol ranges, like the other flavour ranges made by the company, are available in different nicotine strengths, so if a smoker likes Blue Menthol, they can start at 20mg nicotine strength and if they choose, work their way down, over time, to 3mg nicotine, or none.
The Menthol Ban is likely to increase Menthol Vaping, and that’s a good thing, better flavour, less harm and more choice; it doesn’t matter if your fresh or fruity.
Simon Mehlman, May 22nd 2020