Johnson Creek Vea – The Right Way (to build an eCigarette)

Johnson Creek Vea – The Right Way (to build an eCigarette)
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The Johnson Creek Vea Review

I like ‘Fine Things’ and I always have. From my first Rolex (a relatively cheap stainless steel) to my collection of Mont Blanc fountain pens, right down to my Jura Impressa J9 Once Touch TFT coffee maker and every Apple product I’ve ever purchased, I’ve found that the finer things are always worth acquiring. They may cost more but they last forever.  Of course, unless you’re rich these fine things are about the ‘only’ things you own. Which is fine by me. I live sparsely, but what I do have will be with me for decades.

With the finer things in life in mind, I purchased the new Johnson Creek Vea after seeing how magnificently it was constructed. With care and precision I’ve not seen in a vaping product to date, I was impressed beyond words. And when I saw the price tag I was even more impressed. At $59.99 (at johnsoncreeksmokejuice.com) the price is much lower than I expected.

But before I get into the proper review it might be worth providing a little background on my vaping experience. Everything is seen from a perspective, and to know my perspective is to better understand my review.

From Smoker to Vaper

When I decided that I could no longer believe my own lies about tobacco cigarettes, in that cigarettes kill but you must carry the cancer gene or the heart disease gene (neither of which my mother and father gene pool has had in many generations), I made the decision to use an eCigarette to wean myself off all types of smoking. Discovering that only 10% of all cancers are gene-related can scare the hell out of you, it certainly did me, so I stopped smoking tobacco products in order to gain better odds.

It’s been two years ago since I took up vaping and when I made another decision, that eCigarettes pose no real cancer or heart disease risks, I determined that it was something I wanted to continue doing. So I have.

Johnson Creek Vea StarterKit

Now, following in my past desires to only acquire the finer things in life I started off in vaping with American Blue Tip and then I moved on to Blu Cigs after Blu moved to the 2-piece eCig. I stuck with Blu Cigs right up until 2 weeks ago when the long-awaited Johnson Creek Vea finally began shipping.  I loved using Blu Cigs products, and I still do, so while the Vea is my main vaping source today I maintain about 20% for using Blu Cigs. Blu Cigs uses specially blended Johnson Creek smoke juice so there is a certain synchronicity to the whole thing.

Vea – The Right Way

If you know any Latin you might know that Vea is Latin for “The Right Way”, (don’t believe me, check here: http://www.stars21.com/translator/latin_to_english.html), a term that certainly describes Johnson Creek’s first foray into the hardware side of the electronic cigarette market.

Engineered Like No Other

The first thing you notice about the Johnson Creek Vea is that it is a finely engineered device that was obviously designed by a team that understands and is passionate about vaping. Designed as a brand new device, a standalone product of such perfection you cannot help but feel that old American pride in a “job well done”.

The Vea is coated with a rubberized finish that feels great to the touch. Once you pick it up you know it isn’t going to slip off your hand, and yet it feels rich, delicate, but tough too. You’ll want to run your fingers along the length of the device in order to feel the luxurious of the finish. It instantly impresses.

The Johnson Creek logo, that of the majestic oak, is finely and ever-so-lightly imprinted onto the rubberized finish just as the logo for an expensive china is imprinted onto the back of the chinaware. Subtle, but it says so much about the mindset that went into it. This is a testament to the finer things in life and a testament to the dedication of the design team.

Every piece of this exquisite device has been thought out so precisely, that even the cone that covers the cartomizer was designed to maximize air flow, (which adds to the experience of vaping with the Vea,) and it slips over the end of the battery instead of being screwed onto the battery. It holds extremely well, and it adds to the overall feeling that this is both something new, and something refined.

The Roots of the Vea

I’ve had previous experiences with standard eCigs and devices generically called “ego” as well as most of their variants. The best of which is the Apollo TGo. To begin to understand the Johnson Creek Vea we need to start there, with the ‘ego’ concept.

These devices all began with a simple system that is comprised of a larger, more powerful battery than is used in the standard eCigarette battery, an atomizer and some kind of tank/cartridge to contain the smoke juice.

Depending on the tank/cartridge, as well as the power of the battery, the ego carries various letters next to the name that indicates which device it ultimately will wind up being. Sold at anywhere between $50-$90 dollars, these devices sell extremely well.

A friend of mine is an Apollo TGo loyalist and you never see him without it. I myself have used the TGo, as well as a few others, as I was looking for a device that would do right by the exquisite juices made by Johnson Creek. Ultimately, I tired of leaky cartridges and cleaning atomizers that became clogged because of those leaky cartridges, so it wasn’t long before I settled into a long, and still going, relationship with Blu Cigs.

Johnson Creek Vea StarterKit

The Johnson Creek Vea is a product that has the unique blend of the larger battery available to eGo/TGo users (only much more advanced), and the cartomizer concept available on modern eCigarettes like Blu Cigs; it is the best of both worlds, but a product of neither. It is revolutionary in its concept, not evolutionary. Johnson Creek may very well want to call it an eCigarette, but it to me, and many others, is more than that.

The Lowly Cartomizer

Like the eGo and TGo devices the early days of eCigarettes consisted of 3 pieces as well. Comprised of a small, cigarette-like battery instead of the larger eGo size battery, and a cartridge that contained a mesh material that was infused with smoke juice, and between the two sat an atomizer that turned the juice into the vapor we all inhale. It was like this for quite some time, and companies like American Blue Tip sold a lot of them. This was the world of eCigarettes before the next jump in technology.

The biggest leap to come to eCig industry was a combination of an atomizer and a cartridge; it is called the “cartomizer”. This invention is responsible for a huge increase in eCig users because it made vaping easy and relatable, more closely simulating tobacco cigarette smoking.

The cartomizer functions as the “filter” on a regular cigarette, with a mesh of material that is infused with smoke juice like the abovementioned cartridge, and a tiny strand of fine wire running through it (the atomizer), which creates the heat that vaporizes the juice. Each time you screw on a new cartomizer you are screwing on a new atomizer as well. No more cleaning expensive atomizers, just use and toss. No more 3-piece hassles. It was truly a Godsend.

The cartomizer did more for the eCig business than anything else at that point. Including the marvelous ability to mellow out some rather cheap and awful juices you wouldn’t dare use in an eGo/TGo device. There is something about the cartomizer that gives it the ability to deliver a better tasting, thicker vapor experience over the use of an atomizer and cartridge combination. At least to me.

The Vea Cartomizer – The Right Way To Make A Cartomizer

While the cartomizer turned the eCig industry on its head and helped millions of people make the switch from tobacco to eCigs, they can be a pain in a butt at times. It is hard to remove the end cap to fill it with juice, they can and do leak, and they are good for roughly 3 refills of juice. Where the cartomizer truly shined was in the prefilled arena, where eCig companies sprung up on the Internet offering eCigs with their special blends of smoke juice already infused into their cartomizers.

Johnson Creek Vea StarterKit

Johnson Creek has designed a near perfect cartomizer to work with the Vea, (although you can use these cartomizers with other batteries) while at the same time setting a new standard that will ultimately make its way to most eCig brands. Johnson Creek did not invent a brand new product, but rather it improved an existing product immensely.

The Johnson Creek cartomizer was, like the Vea, designed from the ground up, and designed in such a way as to maximize the flavor and vapor that can be produced by the Vea battery and the line of Johnson Creek smoke juice. It’s like a winning a trifecta with its powerful and advanced lithium-ion battery, a near perfect cartomizer and smoke juice, each maximizing the other to create a vaping experience that was unheard of until now.

The Vea cartomizer holds a bit more than 1ML of smoke juice, enough to last most of us more than a day of vaping. Adding the smoke juice is very easy; the black rubber cap comes off easily enough with a tug by your finger or fingernail. Johnson Creek added a thin lip design that allows easy removal.  No more struggling with removing cartomizer caps.

When filling a Vea Cartomizer you remove the cap and fill it up to the top of the mesh material, making sure not to get juice into the hole in the middle (if you do, simply blow it out before using). Make sure the material has been saturated with juice and let it sit a few minutes. Some may disagree, but to me allowing the juice to rest in the mesh, even overnight, gives the user a richer taste while still maintaining a nice throat hit. Using any cartomizer seconds after filling gives ME a burning sensation at the back of the throat. I find it akin to drinking Gin from a still. (And yes, being from Atlanta I’ve had the pleasure of drinking booze from a still in my neighbor’s backyard, an investment banker working in Peachtree Plaza with a penchant for making booze. Go figure.)

Johnson Creek says that tests show their cartomizer lasts 3 times longer than other cartomizers, so extrapolating that most cartomizers can easily be refilled 3 times (more like 4 or 5 most of the time), the JC cartomizer should work fine with at least 12 refills, making them very economical.

You would expect that these large, finely crafted cartomizers would cost more than other cartomizers of lesser quality, but you’d be wrong. At the cost of $11.99 for 5 blank cartomizers, and $15.99 for 5 prefilled cartomizers they sit right in the middle of the pricing range. That alone certainly explains why Johnson Creek has been out of stock on blank cartomizers since less than a week after launch. More should be available in mid-June, and I suspect the next shipment won’t last very long either. From what I understand Johnson Creek is so backordered on blank cartomizers that as of today you can’t even place an order for them.

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About The Author

Team Spinfuel is a group of passionate vapers that bring you honest, in-depth reviews and commentary on products, services, and the legal and political ramifications on vaping and ecigarettes. Julia Hartely-Barnes, Tom McBride, Jason Little, Tony Brittan, Nick Bessette and Keira Hartley-Barnes make up the editorial team (video and written) , along with John Manzione, our Publisher, and talented contributors like Mark Benson. Email any of the writers at admin AT spinfuel.com, or just ask for their email address.

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11 Comments

  1. Lizzie

    Just got one of these based on reviews on Spinfuel. I do love it’s simplicity and Johnson Creek obviously cares about the little details. It isn’t the powerhouse of my EGO with dual coil cartos that I normally use but as I really do prefer cartos to clearos, it was a solid back up device and nice for out in public. I did put a drip tip on it which fit just fine due to the drops of condensation I kept getting from the carto by itself which pretty much made it a perfect set up. The price is pretty good for the value and I am very happy with my purchase.

    Reply
  2. Bill

    Love the idea of buying from JC, as the quality of their juice is legendary… and it is very important to avoid non food-grade propylene glycol. That being said, I think its important to note that your distaste for liquid feeders is just that; a matter of taste. 5 years ago I ended a 25 year pack and a half of “Reds” habit (though I had by then switched to American Spirits (no additive natural cigarette)… which in turn I reccomend as an intermediate step to first break your habit of brand loyalty while conquering the addiction to the numerous carcenagenic additives in major brands.) Back then, cheap alternatives from China was the way to go, and I went through the cheap batteries, attys and 5ml bottles of God knows what by the dozens. Apart from using higher quality Juice, I dont think Blu has progressed far passed the 510’s I was using since they were first introduced. I bought the Original “Scewdriver” mod, and finally had the battery end covered with a long lasting solution. <–that had a battery on par with JC's "new" product. Today I use the big 18650 mod, which delivers 2,000 mah… which will get a heavy vaper through an entire weekend with battery to spare. This is complemented by a 6ml tank, in which I use duel coil inserts… which again will last a heavy vaper through an entire weekend. I swap the rechargeable batteries and top off the juice daily, and thats it. Atty insert 2.5 ohm lasts either a day or a month on average, making maintenance almost zip. The point of my post is that those seeking an economical, trouble free, always available alternative can probably do no better. Since resistance varies on pretty much every atty; it is imperative (to me) to use a mod with variable voltage to fine tune it to my taste. To low and the hit is unsatisfactory, and too high will fry your atty early. The remaining learning curve with the tank; is to learn that sucking hard will juice up the atty faster, and a lower pressure inhale will juice it slower. Once you grow accustomed to managing this, you forget you're doing it while perpetually keeping your atty well saturated without flooding. Ps. The device I use comes with many names; your site is advertising it as a " Lambo" Pps. The shiny medal version is constructed to last forever; whereas the black versions are of cheap construction. The extra $10 is money well spent.

    Reply
  3. Jess

    Hello. Great article. It’s nice to read one that’s written by someone who takes the time to include a brief but informative back story. That said, as a Blu user I’m assuming you are referring to the “Premium” model and not the “Premium 100″ model. I am a proud owner of the Blu Premium 100 model, which has the 226 mAH battery which pales in comparison to the Vea of course at 650 mAH but when compared to the weak 80 mAH premium battery from Blu the 100 model is the most powerful they have released to date. With that said, Blu cartomizers use a standard 510 thread and are “standard resistance” (SR) at 3 ohm. I think you might sense where I’m going with this. I’ve been wondering if the Vea cartomizers would work with the Premium 100 batteries from Blu. I’m assuming they are probably too long to fit in the Blu 100 PCC but still, if they work it would be a fantastic option to simply grab a five pack of blank Vea cartos to fill up with my favorite JC juice and use the same system I already use. What do you think?

    Reply
    1. Spinfuel Staff

      Thank you for your feedback Jess. When we talk about Blu we always refer to their Premium 100 unless we state specifically the Premium “regular”. The problem with Blu, in MY opinion (not necessarily the entire staff) is that Blu’s batteries, all of them, are horrible. Perfect size (both of them), weight, balance, and tactile in my hands, but they burn out so quickly they become unusable in a matter of weeks. I am sitting here with 14 batteries, 12 100’s and 2 premiums, that no longer hold a charge for longer than 10 minutes. The oldest one I have is 4 months old, the newest is 6 weeks. That’s the honest truth about Blu batteries. Perfect in every way except for it matters, they don’t last but weeks. Their Cartomizers (which just went up in price again) have the highest ‘dud’ rate of any brand I’ve used. I purchased a 50-pck of cartomizers, Classic Tobacco, and I recently went through my last 5 pack. I saved all the cartos that failed right out of the package, as well as those that lasted no more than 2 or 3 ‘analogs’, and the amount I collected was more than 35% of the total. All together I have a large plastic bag here with more and 200 bad Blu cartos, all flavors, all sizes, that I have saved to remind myself just how much it can really cost. Why do I do this? Because, of all the prefilled cartomizers out there (prior to Jet Cigs and 777 ecigs) they were the best tasting cartos on the market. I never gave up on Blu because of the Classic Tobacco and Pina Colada. To this day I miss the Pina Colada, but I know I won’t touch Blu until they are able to produce a stable battery and a better carto. (I apologize for this seeming rant, its not a rant, just a lot of information) I used to love the company and hoped for big things when they were bought up my lorilland, it hasn’t happen.

      As for using a Vea carto on a Blu Premium and Premium 100? Sure, you can do it. They fit, and the voltage/ohm ratings are enough to get decent vapor and flavor. I’ve done it plenty of times. Hell, I’ve also put a Texas Tuff Tank with a pre-punched LR single coil carto in it and it worked great. Battery life is horrible though, but then again its horrible anyway.
      I would love to hear more about your experience with Blu. What else have you tried out there in eCig land? How do they compare?

      — Julia Barnes

      Reply
      1. Jess

        Julia,

        Thanks for the info. That’s great news regarding the Vea cartos working with Blu’s Premium 100 batteries. I’m happy about that only ’cause I’m not a big fan of refilling my old blu cartos. I’ve noticed that the overall JC experience just isn’t there even though Tennessee Cured is by far my favorite (even more than Marcado!) With quality blanks, I’ll be able to “taste” the JC more effectively. I’m really surprised Blu doesn’t sell blanks for the “fill it yourselfers”.

        As far as previous experiences in what you call “eCig land” (cute) I’ve dabbled with Nicotech, Volcano, Jet and Apollo. Overall the build quality of Blu in my opinion is better than all of those with the PCC beating them out of the water of course.

        Now as far as my experience with Blu. You might be surprised to know that some of the representatives at blu’s customer service department, like most growing companies and larger ones, do not have a clue as to what they are talking about. Others are right on the money and it’s usually because they are smokers/vapers themselves. That said, I’ve been “bluing” since the Premium 100 first came out and have only had one “bad” battery which actually broke when I turned it too tight on the USB charger. The brass thread area literally moved inside the housing and destroyed the internal connections. This left only the blue LED on the end working when the air intake sensor was activated and my pack refused to charge it. I didn’t even have to call Blu, I simply filled out the form, checked the warranty box and mailed it to them . . . 5 business days later I got my replacement. I was a little worried since this happened only 2 weeks after buying the kit originally and in a panic I ordered two more 100 batts. But since that replacement I have had no problems and cycle my batts every two weeks.

        Also I would double check your dud cartos from Blu with a battery that you know works for sure ’cause if the battery is bad like the broken one I had, you will still see the solid blue light at the end and everything will “appear” to be working, but the atomizer won’t get activated and it’s like sucking air and can seem like an empty carto. I remember freaking with several cartos from a new box of Pina Colada and thinking none of them worked. Before throwing them away, I swapped batteries and viola! amazing taste and vapor.

        Now regarding the comment about the customer service. One example was an employee told me that when a battery is fully charged, the red LED’s on the side of the pack will not come on at all. THIS IS NOT TRUE AND NOT HOW THE PACK IS DESIGNED. If the red LED’s don’t come on at all, then the pack has not detected the battery, and will not charge. A LOT of my friends who jumped with Blu complained that their batteries weren’t lasting that long in a charge only to discover that the pack wasn’t even charging them. I simply blow off the thread area before putting a battery in the charging receptacle. Of course, I use the rubbing alcohol and cue tip method once every two weeks (when I swap my batts) for a clean and effective connection. Basically, every time a battery is in the charging port in the pack you will see the red LED’s come on. This is true every time the pack is opened and closed. This is true if the battery is fully charged or not. If it’s fully charged the pack is “checking” the resistance of the battery to determine if it needs a charge or not. Blu’s batteries are lithium polymer batteries (li-poly) and li-poly’s are very particular on how they are to be charged. Unfortunately, blu’s original pack did not use the advanced charging system that keeps the batteries from over charging and once a li-poly battery has been over charged, it’s done. Volcano e-cigs still use the old school charging system on their original PCC’s which is why on their website they state that once the battery is charged it needs to be removed and used. Sorry if I’m getting too technical but I discovered this after I thought was another bad battery a few months ago but noticed that the pack wasn’t “detecting” a battery and wasn’t doing anything. Now that I know that the pack will always display the red LED’s even for a few seconds all of my batts have worked as designed. I usually cycle through 2 in a normal “vaping” day twice. I usually smoke through . . . er . . . “vape” through 1 to 2 packs of cartos a week. Sometimes I top up my cartos with JC but as mentioned I’m not real crazy with refilling and prefer to keep the same exact flavor in a carto. That said, if you like Pina Colada as I do, it’s called “Island” when ordered directly from JC.

        A little background: before when I was an “analog” (traditional tobacco) smoker, I averaged 1.5 to 2 packs a day. Today, I’m found to smoke a tobacco cig once every other day which is a miracle in itself. I never dreamed in the 25 years of smoking that I could ever make a claim like that. It won’t be long before I’m 100% tobacco free and have moved on into the “eCig Land”.

        Oh and for those that have wondered . . . the premium cartos from Walgreens do work with the premium 100’s but they just look a little dorky as they are physically smaller than the 100 batteries other than the 510 thread and don’t last nearly as long.

        Oh and sorry to hear ’bout your battery issues. Hopefully it was only ’cause the connections were dirty and your pack just wasn’t charging them. Wouldn’t that be cool? Suddenly you’d have all those batteries that are actually still good. Who knows . . .

        I’ll try and update my experiences on websites like these. I personally feel that cartomizers are the future in e-cigs and eventually companies like JC will simply sell their juice in pre-filled cartos that are made for the customers favorite brand of hardware. Thanks again for the info! You’ve been a tremendous help.

        Reply
  4. Splash Log Level 2 Again

    Just trying to make people aware that ecigs are harmless as they don’t need a flame to use them.. as its electronic.. so no fire risk. Also they don’t give out smoke just harmless vapour ie like a normal water vapour from a kettle etc.. the best comparison is to a fog machine at shows or parties as it does have a slight short lasting “nice” ordour..depending on the flavour of cartridge! (there are 100’s lol)
    I AM A NON SMOKER BTW.. but this subject really intrigues me!!
    The other aspect of these devices not being allowed is that other passengers not aware of the ecig might think it is real and decide tto light up a real cig!! SOLUTION make everybody aware before the flight..on posters maybe.. in the safety speech.. captains annoucment.. on the tv’s.. etc etc.. yes its a bit of hassle for the airline but if it keeps customers happy then why not??

    SO basically these wonderful harmless devices SHOULD be allowed on ALL flights or have i missed something.

    PLEASE educate yourselves about ecigs more before leaving silly answers (pretty please) but im sure i will be of assistance if you do leave a message..

    Sorry its so long and thanks for reading.. hope to get lots of feedback!!

    Reply
  5. Thomas A

    I’ve been using Safe Cig’s rn4081 batteries and refilling my old pre-filled cartomizers. I’m getting tired of refilling every couple of hours and recharging the battery every couple of hours as I’m a heavy vapor. If I switch to an ego-c, I heard the ego-c is better than the newer ego-t, can I used cartomizers with it instead of atomizers? Do I have to use those flat drip tips on it? Thanks for any tips, help or suggestions!

    Reply
  6. Mauro

    I only have one question… you have been using it, so how many times can you actually refill their cartomizer? I know you said about 12 times but it was a “should”. Thanks

    Reply
    1. admin

      Hi Mauro, Thanks for your post. As of last night I refilled the only cartomizer I have left for the 8th time, and John has refilled his last carto 10 times as of this morning. I asked him just now and we both agree that they still work as if it were brand new, which is pretty amazing. We try to refill when it needs about 15-20 drops or so, we don’t use the carto until its dry.

      I have a feeling it will go the full 12 refills. Hopefully JC will have their stock in soon so we can all order new cartomizers.

      I hope this helps!
      Doug

      Reply
      1. Mauro

        Hi Doug, thanks for the fast reply. The truth is I already bought the Vea and I’m waiting for arrival (I live in Colombia and this one is going to be my first e-cig) and the truth is that there aren´t many reviews about it, this is actually the second one I have found. Many people talk about it but nothing conclusive. It’s great to see someone other thna Steve vape took the time to do so and for my peace of mind both reviews are good. Thanks again and happy vaping.

        Reply

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