Innovative Premium Labs lead the way on both sides of the Atlantic
Given how widely-known his juice ranges are, you’d think that Premium Labs head honcho Samuel Boucher had been in the e-liquid game for a long time. In fact, it’s only been three years – during which time his juices have won four Vapouround Awards, made waves in the UK and Europe and all but sewn up the US and Canadian markets.
Better known as Sammy (‘Dr’) Fog, he’s an incredibly hard-working and passionate former smoker who’s thrown everything into his business, both financially and practically, and who continues to help shape the direction of the industry with iconic flavours and innovative ideas. But vaping has become far more than just a job or hobby for him.
“I love hearing from people who’ve benefited from vaping,” said Sam. “I especially like getting emails from old people. It’s saving lives and I love playing my part in that.”
The industry is under attack from all directions. In order to thrive in the UK and Europe, Premium Labs have had to adapt to meet the requirements of TPD. Meanwhile, regulators and politicians in the US and Canada continue to snap at the heels of e-liquid manufacturers whose only crime is that their respective governments misleadingly lump tobacco-free products together with combustible cigarettes. Nonetheless, Sammy is confident that Premium Labs will continue to thrive, regardless of the obstacles the regulators throw at them.
“There will be some smaller American and Canadian companies that cut corners and fail,” he said. “It’s like a cheap phone that falls apart after six months – the manufacturer will eventually fall by the wayside. As long as I continue to put out the best products and stay ahead of the game, Premium Labs will thrive and set the industry standard for others to follow.”
Sammy is right to trust in his e-liquids. He has some of the most recognisable juice lines on the market – Dr Fog and Decoded in particular are staples of e-liquid collections the world over.
Then there are the accolades. Premium Labs came away from the first Vapouround Awards in 2016 with gongs for Best Fruit (Dr Fog – Alpha) and Best Sweet/Chocolate (Convicted Vapes – Heavy Metal), following up a year later with Best Tobacco for Dr Fog – Mocha and Best Cereal for Dr Fog – Tiger Flakes with Raspberry. Pretty impressive for a company still in its infancy.
As the cliché goes, success is a journey, not a destination. If Premium Labs is to stay ahead of the pack, Sammy will need to keep a keen eye on emerging trends such as nicotine salts, which is a hot topic at the moment. Ever looking ahead, Sammy has taken nic salt a step further by blending it with freebase nicotine to create his new ‘Mix Nix’ line.
“I’ve developed something revolutionary – an e-liquid that actually feels like a cigarette when you vape it. More so than any other e-liquid, Mix Nix has huge potential to help smokers quit cigarettes. That’s why I’m in this business, after all.”
The main benefit of using a blended nicotine e-liquid is that it can be sub-ohmed, as well as being used with an RDA, RTA or pod system. Plus, this should give you the best of both worlds: the fast absorption of freebase nicotine with the smoothness of salt nicotine.
It’s going to take some time for people to adjust to blended nicotine. You certainly shouldn’t jump in at the deep end. Sammy has found the perfect ratio for him – 3mg of nicotine and 3mg of salt nicotine. He said:
“I can vape that all day. Six milligrams of nicotine gives you a buzz very much like you’d get from a cigarette. But any more than that would be too much for some people, so they should tread carefully.”
Aside from salt nicotine and shortfills, 2017 was a huge year for the podcasts. By the time this issue has printed, Sammy will have recorded his first Dr Fog podcast, featuring interviews and discussions with members of the team.
“I’ll be explaining Mix Nix in the first episode, and there’ll be interviews, reviews and conversations with Premium Labs staff. After that it’ll open up to figures in the wider industry,” said Sammy.
On talking to Sammy, it’s easy to see how he’s managed to achieve so much in such a short period of time. There are no non-committal ‘I’m hoping tos’ or ‘I think I haves’ in his vocabulary– just confident absolutes. It’s an attitude that’s propelled him to succeed since the beginning.
“I tried vaping but wasn’t impressed with the flavours on offer in the US and Canada,” he said. “If people are to quit smoking they need an enjoyable alternative. I said to myself, ‘I’m gonna take over this business!’”
A mere three years later, he’s well on his way to doing just that.