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Vaper's Tongue: Why Can't I Taste My E-Liquid?

February 28, 2020 5 min read

Have you ever experienced a situation when your favorite e-liquid didn’t “pop” across your palate like it used to? You tried swapping out your atomizer coil – maybe you even kicked your device up a few watts – and nothing seemed to work. You might have wondered if you got a bad batch of vape juice. Maybe you even considered contacting the e-liquid’s maker to see if they’d changed the recipe.

Are you having trouble tasting your e-liquid? We’ve got some news for you; the problem most likely isn’t the e-liquid at all – it’s you. You’re experiencing a case of vaper’s tongue. We have some good news, though; vaper’s tongue is one of the most common complaints in the vaping community, and fixing it is actually incredibly simple. Let’s learn more.

What Is Vaper’s Tongue?

Vaper’s tongue is a form of palate fatigue that can result from vaping nothing but the same e-liquid all of the time or from switching rapidly between flavors. You’ve probably experienced the same type of olfactory fatigue if you wear perfume or cologne. When you wear the same scent every day, you stop noticing it. When you go shopping for a new scent, they all begin to smell the same after you’ve tested a few. Whether it’s because you’re smelling nothing but the same thing all of the time or because you’re bombarding your nose with different scents in rapid-fire fashion, the result is the same: your brain experiences sensory overload and shuts down.

What do you do when you can’t smell perfume or cologne anymore? You use an olfactory palate cleanser – and we’re going to fix your case of vaper’s tongue in much the same way. First, though, let’s talk about a few things that aren’t vape tongue.

Vaper’s Tongue Isn’t Always the Reason Why You Can’t Taste Your E-Liquid

Before you start troubleshooting your case of vaper’s tongue, you should know that some of the reasons why you might have trouble tasting your e-liquid have nothing to do with vape tongue at all. These are the five most common reasons other than vape tongue why your e-liquid might have no flavor.

  • Old coil: As you use an atomizer coil, deposits from your e-liquid rob the coil of its performance and make the subtle nuances of the vape juice difficult to taste. How quickly that happens depends on the type of e-liquid you’re using. With an unsweetened and lightly flavored e-liquid, a coil can potentially last several weeks. With a heavily sweetened e-liquid, though, burned sucralose can cover your e-liquid with the taste or burned sugar in as little as a day – which brings us to the next possible reason why you can’t taste your e-liquid.
  • Old e-liquid: If you’ve ever read about e-liquid steeping, you know that some fairly complex changes take place in an e-liquid that’s been sitting around for a while after being opened. Some flavors meld and become more mellow, while other volatile compounds evaporate out of the e-liquid. The nicotine begins to oxidize and turn yellow. These changes can positively affect an e-liquid’s flavor – but only to a certain extent. After a while, it’ll taste dull and lifeless. If you’re using an e-liquid that’s very old, it’s not going to do much for you in the flavor department.
  • Heavily sweetened e-liquid: These days, the use of sucralose as a sweetener in the e-liquid industry is more common than ever. Modern e-liquids are as sweet as candy, and while that’s great for tickling your sweet receptors, sucralose also has a way of coating the palate and preventing you from tasting other details. You’ll have a more flavorful vaping experience overall if you buy e-liquid from a brand that uses sucralose sparingly – or not at all.
  • Dehydration: As we’ve just mentioned, sucralose has a way of leaving a coating on the tongue that can make it difficult to taste other flavors. In addition, the two main ingredients of all e-liquid – vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol – absorb and trap moisture. That property can rob your mouth of moisture and impede your ability to taste your e-liquid. When you vape, it’s wise to drink more e-liquid than you normally would.
  • Flavor carryover: Each time you change e-liquid flavors – whether you’re using a sub-ohm tank or an RDA – you’re going to experience some carryover from the previous flavor. If you’re switching flavors constantly – dripping back-to-back with several different e-liquids, for instance – there’s going to be so much carryover between flavors that you’ll hardly be able to taste anything at all.

What’s the Cure for Vaper’s Tongue?

Finally, let’s talk about how to cure olfactory fatigue, the cause of true vape tongue. If you have vaper’s tongue, you can’t taste your e-liquid for one of two reasons.

  • You’re overloading your palate because you’re switching flavors so rapidly that you’re not giving yourself time to adjust to any of them.
  • You’re never switching flavors at all, and your palate has started to become numb to the e-liquid you’re using.

In both cases, the solution is fairly simple – you just need to change things up and give your palate a good reset. Let’s explore this idea a bit further.

Cleanse Your Palate When Vaping

One of the best things that you can do when you have trouble tasting your e-liquid is to wake your palate up by eating or drinking something refreshing or strong tasting. A nice, crisp mineral water can work wonders as a palate cleanser; many people also like plain soda water. Here are a few other palate cleaners that might work for you.

  • Black coffee
  • Lemon wedges
  • Pickled ginger
  • Unsweetened chocolate
  • Plain tea
  • Water crackers

Change Your Vaping Habits

To keep your palate sharp when vaping, the ideal thing to do is change your e-liquid periodically – but not too often. You might consider establishing a rotation of your three favorite e-liquid flavors, for example, filling your tank with a different flavor each day. That way, you’re not using a single e-liquid so often that your palate becomes numb to it. You’re also not changing flavors so often that your brain experiences sensory overload.

Try an Unflavored E-Liquid

One of the best things you can do when you can’t taste your e-liquid is switch to an unflavored e-liquid temporarily to give your palate a chance to reset itself. Using an unflavored e-liquid will take care of the sensory overload, and by the time you’re finished with the bottle, you’ll find that your normal favorite e-liquid has regained the terrific flavor that made you fall in love with it in the first place. The best part of using unflavored e-liquid – aside from the fact that it’s often very inexpensive – is the fact that isn’t actually flavorless at all. Vegetable glycerin tastes a bit sweet on its own, and that mild sweetness lends itself to an overall flavor profile that’s neutral and very pleasant.

If You’re Sick, Give It Time

If you’re sick, we’ve got some bad news for you – you can pretty much take all of the tips we’ve mentioned in this article and throw them right out the window. When you’re ill, you’re going to have trouble tasting ordinary foods and beverages, so the same is obviously going to be true of e-liquid. You may find it especially difficult to taste your e-liquid if you’re taking any medications for your illness; antibiotics and over-the-counter cold or flu medications are notoriously likely to mess with the palate. If the fact that you’re ill is really cramping your vaping style, we’ve got three things that you can try.

  • Try an unflavored e-liquid. If you can’t taste your juice anyway, why waste it?
  • Try a plain menthol e-liquid. You might find the menthol soothing if your throat is sore.
  • Switch to nicotine gum or lozenges temporarily. It’ll prevent you from wasting your e-liquid, and it may be beneficial if your illness is causing chest congestion.

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