Two Days at the Best Vaper Expo UK EVER
All the fun of the fair – enough e-liquid to fill a zillion Olympic sized swimming pools and enough wattage generated to power a small country – welcome to Vaper Expo 2017!
This was the fourth installment of what has now become Europe’s largest vape exhibition and I have a sneaky feeling it’s not far off becoming the number one in the world.
I mean let’s face it Vaper Expo has quadrupled in two short years and if the sheer size and amount of visitors at this year’s is anything to go by – we’re gonna need more halls!
I arrived on B2B Friday and was at first a little surprised at what seemed a small turn out – however given this year we had 3 not two halls looks can be deceiving!
More space not only meant more exhibitors – but a lot more manoeuvre room for the crowds of vapers to move about!
Indeed, I only got bumped into once and that was at the bar when someone stepped back in shock when told the price of a pint 😉
It took me a good 5 minutes plus to walk from one end to the other and given the exhibitors were laid out in a grid with wide lanes it was simply the case there was far more space than previous years.
And far more space meant many more exhibitors and attractions including fairground rides – chill out areas – bars and cafes.
Vaper Expo B2B Day
By lunchtime on Day One there seemed to be plenty of deals being done and I managed a quick chat with Alphonse Cui the extremely engaging sales manager for Heavens Gifts.
I asked if business was booming in the UK and Europe and was a little surprised at his answer:
It has been a little slow these past few months but we are hopeful it will get better. We are looking to work more closely with other wholesalers and vendors so we can all make money.
I did suggest that sites like Heavens Gifts may see a significant increase in European traffic now we’re in the post TPD era and received a knowing smile lol.
Typical me I managed to screw up one of my coils and headed to the Geek Vape stand and met the quite charming sales manager Maggie Huang.
However my Chinese is not so good – and for a while there I think I’d ordered a 1000 boxes of Geek Vape fused Clapton 2:1 coils – not sure Jonny would have appreciated that invoice somehow lol.
And for the record those coils are pretty decent.
By lunchtime I’d barely covered a quarter of the expo but was in dire need of refreshment – did I mention how hot it was!
Bagpipes and Beers
Given the mauling I had given the Riot Squad e-liquid range I couldn’t help notice they were launching a new flavour Iron Bruise – a play on the Scottish soft drink IRN Bru.
Their theme this year was obviously Scottish with the girls and guys in kilts with drums and bagpipes.
The riot van was there as too was a huge imposing looking castle and thankfully given no one knows who I am in the vape world I wasn’t dumped in the dungeon as a kind of ‘bad review retribution’ lol.
For the record the Iron Bruised is as close as you can get to that famous drink including the fizz and slight bite at the back of the throat – I liked it!
I sat in the bar area to gather my thoughts and notes and I guess it was some kind of Karma on the Riot Squad part as they sat right next to me and piped and drummed loudly whilst I drank my beer – er beers it was extremely thirsty work lol.
I did spot a group of world famous YouTube vape reviewers having a beer opposite me including Todd – Matt and Vanessa – Daniel and of course Dean the Vaping Biker who I had a quick chat with later in the day.
I managed to meet and get a quote off a few of the ‘vape famous’ crowd and I’ll pop those up at the end.
Council of Vapor Wraith a Victim of the TPD
One thing that was quite apparent this year was a lot more hardware on show and for sale than I’d seen last year.
Last time it seemed to be miles n miles of e-liquid however the hardware was back with a vengeance with this old vaper getting very excited over some of the mods and kits about – more on those later.
However the one item I’d actually gone to Vaper Expo to buy – the Wraith squonker by Council of Vapor was nowhere to be seen on their stand.
I was able to chat with a ‘spokesman for COV’ – he was reluctant to give his name after spotting my press badge despite telling him I wasn’t from the tabloids lol.
Due to the TRPR and TPD the Wraith had been ‘discontinued’.
To say I was gutted was an understatement lol.
I chatted with him about the TPD and mentioned the confusion around RDAs in general.
Shaking his head he said:
As a manufacturer we have asked the Government and the MHRA about this and have received NO REPLY so good luck finding out!
We decided to discontinue the Wraith because of the uncertainty. We have also asked about the Hunter RDA and as we have not been told its not OK – we are carrying on selling it.
I like his logic on that!
I am writing a much larger article on RDAs [now to include squonkers maybe] post TRPR and picked up more than few comments from manufacturers so stay tuned as they say.
As to the Wraith – I couldn’t find one anywhere lol – however with so much amazing hardware on view there was plenty to choose from.
Vaping Hardware at Expo
I can’t stress just how big the event was this year and despite a floor-plan it was pretty tricky covering all the stands I wanted/needed to see.
However I was able to find Envii and chatted with Jose Arteaga who was extremely friendly and keen to get Envii’s Fitt pod kit to the European market.
It has really taken off in the US and we’ve shifted 30,000 units in the past couple of months so this weekend I need to find myself a good distributor to get it out there.
I had a look at it and yes it’s a nice piece of kit but I did mention it seemed a little on the pricey side online before noticing his assistant was selling quite a few at what seemed a decent ‘expo price’.
I was able to handle the awesome Loch Ness and yeah it’s as special in the flesh as it looks especially topped with the company’s Artisan RTA – which is a very special vape.
I am now of course kicking myself I didn’t pick up a black Loch Ness and returned half a dozen times talking myself out of the purchase each time haha.
Speaking of pod mods I was able to try out a few and will be doing a separate piece on those asap – including one from Aspire that knocked my socks off!
Having just done a review on the Vaporesso Revenger I can tell you that in the flesh this kit is absolutely stunning to look at and hold and it vapes like a dream.
The mod itself is a little boxy to look at however it’s the quite bizarre description that made me chuckle:
All mental box – Accurate LOVE mode
I could say that sounds like someone I used to know – but wont 😉
I did spend a good ten minutes trying to explain I’d like to take some photos and handle it however I guess that too was lost in translation as the gentleman simply walked away smiling lol.
Though I can have that effect on most people I meet lol.
The Lady Q – One for the Ladies?
There was also an interesting little device specifically aimed at the lady vapers I assume – though if you’re a dude who needs a bit of lippy then it’s for you too.
The Artery Lady Q looks to all intents and purposes like a lipstick – is about the same size and comes in four colours.
Its powered by a 1000mAH battery and holds 1.5ml of juice and looks lovely if I say so myself.
Sadly they didn’t have my exact shade but it’s certainly a very sweet looking clever device.
High End hardware
One of the most striking mods I spotted came from Glas Vapor, a company best known for their high end premium e-liquids.
The Acrylic Fiji Pacific Blue with Silver inlay was almost as pretty as the young ladies on the stand!
The Suicide Mods stand was extremely busy most times I went past and I did chuckle at the F**K Clones box.
Major players such as Aspire – Smok and iJoy were in attendance and my freebie of the whole weekend had to be the iJoy/Cigpet fan which certainly kept me cool!
As to high end kit I did quite literally drool over the SX Mini stand and it was only having a chat with Daniel from DJLsb Vapes that snapped me out of my ‘vape envy coma’ – those devices are gorgeous!
Another couple of ‘high end’ stands I was pretty much caught ‘window licking’ were Rogue USA – Arctic Dolphin and Complyfe – the latter looking very special indeed.
I guess all that gorgeous stab-wood went to my head because by now I was in dire need of a sit down lol!
Korean Based Just Fog
After a cold one I headed back into the fray and caught up with Rey Kwon the marketing manager of Just Fog a vape manufacturer from Korea.
They’ve been going since 2009 but are little known in the UK and Europe and currently have x3 TPD compliant kits ready to hit the market.
I can honestly say the two pen styles – the Fog 1 and the P16A are very good to handle and vape on whilst the compact little P14A is very special to both look at and use.
Mirage – Made in Sheffield
One last standout piece of hardware for me was the absolutely stunning Mirage mech Mod.
Made by Sheffield based vape company Mirage it is as solid a piece of kit you could wish for and hits like a train.
I spent a long time chatting with business development manager Gareth Lupton about all things vape and given we covered so much from TRPR to e-liquids – which they also manufacturer – I’m planning on writing a feature piece very soon.
I can say I tried the Mirage e-liquid range on the day and was extremely impressed.
Which brings us nicely onto the e-liquids and oh boy was there gallons of the stuff sloshing around!
Vaper Expo Standout E-Liquids
I could be here all week mentioning every single e-liquid I tried – much water was needed lol – so I thought I’d narrow it down a little and mention the ones that stood out.
Anyone who reads my e-liquid reviews knows I can be a little shall we say ‘harsh’ so when I say these ‘did it for me’ then trust me they are bloody gorgeous!
The Lemonade House range was fruity and refreshing and the free drinks were much needed!
I will be doing a ton of e-liquid reviews on the back of expo – these are just a quick taster of what’s to come.
Pretty much the first stand you see on arrival is the GodfatherCo range and if you blinked you might have missed them.
I tried their complete range and oh my – delicious or what!!!
I didn’t buy many juices all weekend but their MilkChocoRoi is absolutely gorgeous and a big bottle with a separate nic shot was soon in my bag.
I like a good tobacco flavour and whilst there was a few about most had something added like coffee or fruits.
However, Castle Juice and their stunning tobacco range did have one – without any other flavours added – that blew me away.
Fantastic 3 is from the tobacco reserve collection and is a superb blend of three strains of tobacco leaf and absolutely gorgeous if you like the taste of real tobacco and I grabbed 60mls of the stuff as well as sample set for review.
Before Expo I was expecting a set of review samples from Dr Salt e-liquid – which has a new way of extracting nicotine from tobacco.
I chatted with Darren Burns – the company’s mixologist and lab tech who explained the unique process which I’ll go into in more detail in the review.
What I can say is the flavours are bloody lovely with NO hint of salt lol – more in the review to follow.
PUKKA Juice and FROOT
Finally and for me the standout e-liquid I tried over two days has to be PUKKA.
Nope not a play on words that’s the company name and holy crap is this juice absolutely gorgeous!
Based in Bolton they only launched on the first Friday of Expo and owner and driving force behind PUKKA – Abid Musa – said they’d been working none stop to get everything ready and TPD compliant.
They have 5 fruit flavours in their range and hand on heart they are among the best e-liquids I’ve had the pleasure to taste with the PUKKA Blaze – a mix of blueberries and raspberries – sending my taste buds into heaven – wow!
Expect the full review soon.
Whilst on e-liquids I’d like to thank they guys and girls from FROOT who, on spotting my EcigClick press pass, thanked me profusely for our recent Froot e juice review.
I was asked to go back the following day for a longer chat but sadly every time I tried they were extremely busy – maybe next time.
Harmony CBD and E-njoint
CBD was in abundance with many companies seemingly dipping into what I reckon is going to be an extremely lucrative market.
So to be grabbed by the guys from Harmony for a chat was lovely especially as they were so pleased with our Harmony CBD review they’ve included a quote from it on all their promotional material – above one from GQ might I add lol.
Since my review they’ve added a few new flavours and have also brought in the 1000mg per 10ml Pure Base variety which I shall be reviewing soon – so thank you for your kind words and indeed the new samples – the lollipop was very tasty BTW 😉
I did overhear a few people complain about a stand called E-njoint pretty much suggesting we as vapers had enough to worry about from the TPD let alone people talking about and vaping cannabis.
Given I’m the resident senior citizen stoner I just had to go see lol.
I don’t speak Dutch and unfortunately neither the promo girls nor international sales manager Bob Junius had much English so it was quite tricky getting the nitty gritty as to what they had on offer.
However, we have swapped info and Bob is keen to get some samples to us so I can have a much better look at the kit.
In the meantime you can check out the best dry herb vaporizers we have tried so far.
I can say the devices can be used with oil – herb and wax and disposable varieties are also available.
I absolutely loved the Jimmy Hendrix e-joint and whilst I can see the point that vaping may have a bad name in some quarters I’m easy about these kind of items included at expo!
From the same company came MoodChanger which is similar to CBD but more water – ethanol and terpenes based – ethanol is found in most alcoholic drinks so relatively safe.
I didn’t try all 5 flavours – there are 6 but one is a boost for cannabis lol – each flavour has a specific ‘mood change’ so daydream drowsy and certainly not sensual were not moods I needed to be in!
I had a good few blasts on the Focus brand and after 10 minutes it did indeed clear that old brain of mine – interesting stuff.
Vape Famous Top Trumps
When you’re grabbed by a guy with a grip of steel you can’t help but take the time to stand and chat.
I was offered a cup of coffee – which was bloody delicious and vaguely recognized the very charming gentleman.
A quick look over his shoulder and I could see footage from boxing matches and a whole line of boxing belts – including a world championship title.
It turned out to be none other than former Super Middleweight World Boxing Champion Glen Catley who’s company Espresso Essential supplies many of the vaping cafe’s that have sprung up around the UK.
He was an absolute gent – a pleasure to meet and a guy I could happily have spent all day chatting with indeed every time I passed by he gave me a bear hug – I guess he spotted I could have been a contender if I hadn’t preferred beer and pies lol.
I did keep an eye out for the vape famous YouTube crowd – kind of my vaping top trumps game lol – and the first one I bumped into was the Telford Vaper who I spotted chatting with the guys on the Dot Mod stand.
As you can see from the photo he was having an absolute ball!
I did spot Matt and Vanessa from Suck My Mod but totally missed out on an interview as I dropped my notebook as I wandered over and they disappeared into the crowd lol.
I briefly saw Todd in the bar but again, he too left before I could get in there and as Dean the Vaping Biker was eating I let him be too.
However, I did manage to catch up with him in the NEC Atrium where he was sat with his partner – friends and none other than Richard aka Vaping V1ck – the one with the 1.
Dean took the time to chat and said it was definitely one of the best vape shows he’d ever been too – high praise indeed.
I’ve already mentioned meeting Daniel from from DJLsb Vapes and he let slip he was working on his own ‘secret project’ which he couldn’t confirm was a mod a tank or an RDA if you catch my drift 😉
I gave up all hope of meeting up with anyone else until I stumbled across the Chill Out bar where I spotted Vaping With Vic [Vic Mullin] sat with Kelvin Guy – Danny aka MBK Vaper and EscoVapes – who was having technical difficulties with his phone and laptop.
Vic was extremely gracious and was absolutely delighted with the organization – the sheer number of exhibitors and amount of space this year and looked to be having a great time.
I’m not just saying this because you guys voted him your best YouTube reviewer in the EcigClick awards – but I can honestly say I’ve not met a nicer gentleman in a long time – so good choice everyone!
On a personal note I was pleased to meet Danny – MBK Vaper – as it was his coil building instructional video that got me started on that road and he seemed a little surprised at me burbling on about it lol.
However, I was slightly envious of the CoilArt Mage kit he’d bought – it looked bloody awesome.
Last but not least and on literally leaving Expo and nodding to two heavily armed policemen who were posing for photos – wonder what wattage their kit kicks out? I know they hit hard lol – I spotted Chris from Empire Vape Co.
Now I love his crazy channel – that guy has me in bits – he’s a bit like a Liverpool version of Jai Haze lol.
He was absolutely buzzing about the event and delighted to see one of his reviews on the Fantasi wide screen as soon as you walked through the doors.
He was another reviewer who mentioned there was more hardware on show and was clutching the iJoy Captain PD270 which he’d specifically come to buy.
Despite buying enough juice and hardware to stock his shop, the standout item that he wanted me to mention and checkout was Cotton Clear – a kind of juice that cleans wicks coils.
Perfect for reviewers and it really works – so he said.
Sadly I was done in and never did get a chance to try it out – maybe next time.
I left absolutely knackered but in a good way.
I just wish they’d put us nearer the train station next time – that’s some walk – but not as far as the one I’ll hopefully be making from the train station in Shrewsbury to Vapefest come August this year!
I need to get vape fit lol.
Vaper Expo Final Verdict
Two days wasn’t nearly enough to meet everyone and see everything I needed to – sorry if I missed you I’ll go into training ready for October!
Sadly, I’m an old timer nowadays and not even the prospect of that scooter – yeah it was back lol – could get me up and at ‘em for day 3 – I know what a wimp lol.
Massive thanks to the organisers and of course the sponsors and a huge shout out to the NEC staff.
From the extremely professional and polite security staff to the ever smiling bar and catering staff thank you.
And of course a massive thanks to all the exhibitors who took the time to chat and indeed the reviewers who put up with me crashing their get togethers!
One thing that was really pleasing was the amount of folks – including vendors – I met who visit EcigClick regularly and had such kind words to say about the site and seeing the award badges loud and proud on stands was brilliant!
Finally – and I am going to do short separate piece on the NNA at Expo – I was extremely pleased to see the sheer number of vapers who stayed at the main stage during Dave Dorn’s speech on the role of the NNA.
That showed to me more than the size of the event – more than the amount of cash being spent – that vaping and in particular vapers are keen to understand and get involved in protecting this amazing lifesaving movement we’ve created.
Vaper Expo 2017 the Big Weekend showed if anything that we are here and we are here to stay!
And I’m pretty sure that someone said 3 halls this year FIVE next time!!!
I really had better get vape training 😉