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OhGizmo! Review: The Vapshot Mini Spirits Vaporizer (Updated)

OhGizmo! Review: The Vapshot Mini Spirits Vaporizer (Updated)

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Humans have been ingesting alcohol through their stomachs for thousands of years, and it’s worked just fine so far. But it’s the future now, and it’s time to try something different. The Vapshot Mini is a household device that takes spirits and vaporizes them so that you can ingest them through your lungs. That’s right, instead of drinking your booze, you can now breathe it in through a straw! The effects are immediate, since the lungs are a far more effective method of getting things into your bloodstream. And the dynamic of “drinking” with the Vapshot Mini is completely different than regular drinking. It’s a novel experience that we’ve had the pleasure of, well, experiencing for the last couple of weeks. The following article takes a more in-depth look at the machine.

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The Principle and The Hardware
The idea behind the Vapshot Mini is to take pretty much any kind of spirit and to turn it into a vapour that you can then breathe through a straw. The vapour is served through special hard plastic serving bottles, which are filled up and pressurized with misted alcohol. When you open the bottle, the release of high pressure gases causes a loud pop and the instantaneous vaporization of the misted material inside. It’s the sudden change from high to low pressure that sublimates the alcohol and makes it breathable. After inhalation, since it goes from your lungs straight into your bloodstream, you feel the effects immediately, as opposed to a few minutes later as is the case normally. But since each shot of vapour is created from about 1/60th of an ounce of spirits, your liver is able to process the alcohol much quicker and you sober up much, much faster than normal.

The machine itself is about the size of a single-serve coffee brewer like the Tassimo or Keurig machines. Our unit is constructed from what looks like Aluminum and hard plastic panels, while the innards features a complex system of pipes, compressors, gauges, dials, and containers that looks straight out of a Breaking Bad meth lab. The top of the machine has a plastic-lid-covered opening through which you can access the inside, refill the booze container and fiddle with things if the need arises.

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When turned on, LEDs on the inside cast a cool blue glow which illuminates the laser-cut Vapshot logo as well as a viewing window. The booze container holds 750ml of liquid, which is a standard bottle. And finally there’s a tube connected to a patented nozzle with which you fill up the serving bottles. That nozzle is tipped with a needle straw, similar to the ones that you fill up footballs or soccer balls with.

The Functioning
Filling the machine with alcohol is a little complicated, since it involves getting liquids into an inner container while pouring from the outside at an awkward angle. Thankfully, the company now includes a funnel so the process isn’t too difficult, but it wouldn’t hurt anything if later generations of the Vapshot Mini featured a more consumer-friendly design with an opening on the outside. Once full however, the efficiency of the machine ensures you’ll be able to get hundreds and hundreds of shots without having to refill too often.

When turned on, the compressor immediately starts up and gets booze moving. It’s pretty quiet, considering what it is; no louder than a Tassimo, for example.

On first use, you have to “prime” the system, which involves getting liquid from the main container into other parts of the internal mechanism. Unfortunately our unit wasn’t perfectly calibrated and required us to access a tiny metal alcohol/air adjustment screw on the inside. It was somewhat hard to find and reach, and we hope later iterations of the machine also relocate this screw to the outside for more friendly consumer-level use. This is especially important since alcohols of varying viscosities might require different mixes.

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But once all the initial adjustments have been made, you’re ready to fill up some serving bottles and vaporize some alcohol! This is done by inserting the nozzle into the special cap and filling the serving bottle for about 20 seconds. You’ll hear the compressor alternate on and off, and slowly stop doing so as the bottle’s internal pressure reaches its target. Then you walk back to your friends with a long straw, and quickly remove the cap. It’ll literally pop loudly, like a Champagne bottle, and instantly fog up with vaporized alcohol. Insert straw: breathe in.

Unfortunately, one of the caps was somewhat leaky, which made it hiss and fizzle rather than pop, and caused incomplete vaporization. Company representatives informed us that this happens sometimes since they’re in the initial phases of manufacturing, and these kinds are being worked out. They offered to send us replacement caps, which they say they will do with any clients who experience the same problems.

How does it feel?
If you’ve ever done a shot of Tequila and felt that burning sensation in your nose and back of the neck, you’ve had a sample of what it feels like to breathe alcohol. It’s a little difficult at first as you get used to the feeling, but it’s not actually painful. Also, the kind of spirit you vaporize makes a huge impact. We tried Tequila and Gin, and of course the Gin was much, much easier to breathe in. And yes, you do still taste the alcohol, just like you would if you were drinking normally.

So how does it feel? Well… ok, you do feel something right away. There’s no denying that. Light-headedness and normal drunken feel hits you within 5 seconds, and this is freaking awesome! But… it doesn’t do so very intensely. At least not with just one shot. We found that we had to take around 3 to 4 shots before we started to feel like we’d had a good beer. At least that’s how it felt to us, seasoned drinkers. Lighter drinkers might be completely satisfied with just one shot.

The nice thing is that you don’t have to fill up a serving bottle with just vapour. You can pour yourself a small, normal drink right inside the bottle, then top it off with vapour. This is a perfect combination since you can get kickstarted on the drunkenness, while sipping on a drink normally.

Then of course, there’s the diminished sobering up times. Since each shot of alcohol is made up of only a few drops of liquid, there’s comparatively much less ethanol for your liver to process. Within 20 to 30 minutes we felt completely fine, even after having had 4 shots in a row. So this creates an interesting dynamic where you basically front-load the fun, but have to keep replenishing it fairly often as you go. This is not a bad thing, however, since it creates movement in a group setting. We had parties where people were free to serve themselves and the machine proved to be quite popular, encouraging people to move around and mingle more, given the short half-life of your buzz.

In Conclusion
So is the Vapshot Mini worth the $699 asking price? It depends on how you plan to use it. If you ever throw parties and are looking for a fun way to get people socializing and moving about, it’s perfect. People will freak out at the thought of breathing their drinks in, and the fact that they hit you instantly is super fun. You literally go from normal to inebriated in 5 seconds. It uses very, very little alcohol, which means your booze will go much further than normal.

And it’s just damn cool! You will literally be that guy with the alcohol vaping system. Basically, almost no one has these machines. They’re new, so the novelty will be very attractive to people.

However, it is a lot of money and does come with a fair number of minor flaws. From the awkwardly placed adjustment screw and liquid container, to the defective cap, the Vapshot Mini still feels like a early-adopter product. And while you do “get drunk” on it, you do have to take a fair number of shots to get a good effect. This is not a deal-killer, by any means, but something to consider when weighing the machine’s usefulness.

If you have some disposable income and are interested in trying out a novel way to lubricate your social events, the Vapshot Mini is a great idea, despite its minor flaws.

PROS
+ Relatively quiet operation
+ Gets you drunk instantly
+ Uses very little alcohol
+ Is super cool!

CONS
– Hard to reach adjustment screw and drink container
– Fabrication hiccups cause defective caps, sometimes
– Expensive

MSRP: $699 for white model, $899 for stainless steel model, $9 for each additional serving bottle.

UPDATE: In response to a conversation below, let me go on record stating that we did not in fact use 150 proof alcohol. The highest concentration we get normally up here in Canada is 80 proof. This is a fair point from VapShot and not something we considered when conducting the review. The main gripe that was felt with this machine was the fact that the shots felt weak and the buildup of drunkenness a bit slow. This made it hard to justify putting up with the other quirks, such as having to adjust alcohol/air mixture knobs, or filling up the tank with minor inconvenience. These are very minor issues by themselves, so had the alcohol been stronger, and had we felt the effects more strongly and faster, we might have painted a rosier picture of the overall value. The ability to get a user drunk is the pivotal point in its value proposition, and the absence of stronger alcohol in our review makes a significant impact in the validity of our initial conclusions.

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  • Matt_Sweeney

    You know what I hate? When you read a review of something, and it’s pretty obvious that it doesn’t really work—but then you get to the part where the reviewer has to actually SAY whether or not they like it—and they refuse. They say something like “So is the Vapshot Mini worth the $699 asking price? It depends on how you plan to use it…”

    I think it actually depends on how much the reviewer likes free stuff to review. Because it’s pretty clear that they would never pay for it. And it’s equally clear it’s a rip-off. $800 for something that doesn’t really get you drunk? Where do I sign up? (I know you list getting drunk quickly in the Pros–however, it’s pretty clear from the actual article that that doesn’t really happen.)

    Full disclosure: I have used alcohol vaporizers before. They’re a waste of money for $40, let alone $799.

  • Vap Shot

    Matt for $40 we imagine that was the Vaportini that you have tried, which is not even close to what the Vapshot machine is. The Vaportini is a glass globe containing alcohol heated by a candle, it does not actually vaporize alcohol like Vapshot. If anything, it creates a tiny scent, like a lit candle or plug-in electric air freshener. We have had bars replace all their Vaportini setups with a single Vapshot machine because our product works so much better.

    The strength of a Vapshot is derived from the proof of the alcohol. Bars and clubs are using 150 to 190 proof and getting great results…even in a heavy drinking crowd. If you have a higher tolerance use the higher proof. We are pretty sure this site did not test with the higher proof stuff.

    Vapshot is designed to hit you quickly and provide a great buzz that is clean and euphoric to some people. In this it does very well and lasts about 15 mins per shot. However if your goal is to get wasted drunk, then Vapshot is not for you. Vapshot is for someone to get a great buzz, have fun all night and then not get a hangover the next day.

    However to be upfront, an avid drinker isn’t going to get drunk off a couple of shots either. They need more than that, so that’s certainly no different than a Vapshot. That is, a Vapshot is not magically going to make someone drunk with a high tolerance when a normal shot isn’t going to either.

    Finally, if you haven’t notice, most reviews end with “so is ________ worth the $_______….it depends ________” That’s a pretty standard conclusion statement so the way this ended is not really out of the normal.

    However if you want further reviews from people who have actually used our products, read the posting in our online store. http://www.shop.vapshot.com/

    Again, you really have to compare apples to apples in cases like this. We urge you to find a location near you with a Vapshot machine and give it a try yourself. We are pretty sure you will be pleasantly surprised like most people.

    To date we have never had a Vapshot machine returned because the user was unhappy with the performance and results from the Vapshots.

  • Matt_Sweeney

    First of all, I appreciate your reply. And you’re correct about the Vaportini, and you’re also probably right that it’s comparing appletinis to screwdrivers.

    However, my point still stands about the review. At no point does he give this machine unqualified praise. It doesn’t taste good. It’s difficult to use. It may require calibration. It may require replacement parts. It doesn’t get you drunk. It doesn’t give you a hangover, but that’s probably connected to the fact that it doesn’t get you drunk. It costs $700.

    But it’s a great idea if you have a lot of money and you appreciate novelty. The thing about novelty is it always wears off.

    I’m sorry I’m being such a dick. But it didn’t seem like the conclusion of the article matched the statements that preceded it. And $700 is a lot of money.

  • David Ponce

    I just updated this article, so kindly see our official take on this.

  • Matt_Sweeney

    I…don’t even know where to begin. My main problem was that I felt you were too nice in your review. And now you update it…by apologizing for not being nice enough.

    Cheers, everyone!

  • David Ponce

    No… It’s kind of like you’re not listening, with all due respect. After all, I spent time with the machine and you didn’t. So unless you seriously want to consider entering the “questioning my credibility” debate (which you’ll do if your only motivation in this comment section is to troll and attract attention to yourself), please note that all I did was offer a legitimate argument for why our experience with the machine didn’t meet our expectations. The strength of the alcohol used would have completely changed the way we felt about the machine, we have no doubt.

  • Matt_Sweeney

    No,..it’s kind of like you didn’t read your own article. I’ll recap my recap of it: Isn’t easy to use. May need to be calibrated. May need replacement parts. Doesn’t get you drunk. Doesn’t taste that great.

    But, hey, if you’ve got $700. maybe you’ll like it.

    In related news: expressing an opinion isn’t being a troll. Quit writing reviews if you’re going to complain whenever someone disagrees with you. Or, even better, start writing actual reviews and not product blurbs. (See–THAT was a little trolly.) As for drawing attention to myself–there are three of us in this conversation. I’m not doing a very good job, am I? In MORE related news–the fact that you even bring it up says more about you than it says about me. I’m sorry you weren’t popular in high school. (Again–THAT is trolling.)

    I will leave you now. I don’t want you losing any sleep fretting that others will be drawn to my disagreement like lemmings to a cliff.

  • Matt_Sweeney

    One last parting…shot, as it were: I’ll bet you a beer this company doesn’t exist in five years.

  • David Ponce

    No, I wouldn’t call that a fair recap. I never said it didn’t taste good, I said it tasted like the liquor that you put in; good or bad depends on how you feel about your poison of choice. And I never said it isn’t easy to use, only that it’s a bit hard to fill up with booze, which you do only once in a blue moon given the machine’s efficiency. Finally, the “not getting you drunk” part may have been addressed with the suggestion of using higher proof alcohol. That leaves the calibration and replacement parts points, which are minor in my opinion.

    You can express an opinion about what you think my tone implies, and how you interpret my words. But if you haven’t actually tried the machine, it’s a little presumptuous to still have an opinion on the device itself after I’ve offered some clarifications, no? Seeing as I have actually used it, you can either believe me when I tell you that higher proof alcohol would probably have changed the equation, or you can question my word, as you seem to be doing. The motivations behind your desire to keep doing that is what feels trolly: a fair reader would have considered the new information, and accepted its relevance to the discussion. There clearly is a lack of trust here, and I’m sorry I haven’t earned yours.

    Now, whether this company will be around in 5 years, that depends entirely on how the market will respond to the product. If the idea of inhaling vaporized spirits becomes popular, Vapshot is one of the only ones poised to fill the demand. Their success will then depend not so much on the quality of the product (which is good, especially for a first generation device), but on their ability to create a market and a demand.