Five Pawns Review: The Thinking Man’s Vape Juice Company
Five Pawns is a company that bills itself as a brand for vape juice connoisseurs. The company began as a venture between three friends, who were not satisfied by the flavors and tastes of regular e-juices. The company started production in 2012 and focused on pleasing each of the five realms of taste.
They came out with an original, five-flavor concoction that helped propel the brand to global recognition. The Five Pawns line has since expanded to include new, refined flavors. While other vape juice makers try to concoct the umpteenth custard or vanilla e-juice, Five Pawns breaks the mold of what can be made into an e-juice flavor.
James BickfordUpdated: December 9, 2020
Available in two bottle sizes
Flavor profile: apple, vanilla, caramel, spice, and crumb
Five different nicotine strengths
A gambit is when a player opens a chess game by sacrificing a pawn to gain an advantage. Gambit, the dessert-based e-juice from this bran...
Ever since the beginning of the company, the company was always meant to be high-end. Its founders imagined that people would enjoy FP vape juice the same way they would enjoy fine food or wine. To its founder, Rodney Jerabek, vaping is a pursuit to be savored. Vaping is not just something that someone does as an alternative to smoking.
To this end, Jerabek and his co-founders focused on appealing to all five senses. Even though Jerabek is a chess player, the “five pawns” of the title represent each of the five tastes of the flavor palate – sweet, bitter, sour, salty, and umami (or savory). The team wanted their e-juices to be immersive. Users would not only taste and smell them but experience them. To achieve this sensory satisfaction, they focused on flavor profiles rarely found outside of five-star restaurants. Where else have you seen truffle cream, black walnut, and Madagascar vanilla as e-juice ingredients?
Those flavors – and others – make up Five Pawns’ central line of five signature flavors, known as the Insignia line. The original six come in a sampler pack, but users can also buy them individually. Apart from the chess-themed original six, FP has also branched out to other flavors and styles. They introduced two color-themed product lines, the Red and Blue line.
The Red and the Blue represent two different things: the Red is a tobacco-focused line, while the Blue line focuses on salt-based flavors. The two lines also share chess references in their product titles, names that only the most devoted fans of the game would know, like Magnus and Tabiya. There are just under twenty Five Pawns e-juices that make up their entire line. We’ll be taking a more in-depth view of a few of them in the next sections.
The Five Pawns Product Line
The Five Pawns line of high-quality e-juices numbers more than eight, but the selections here represent the complex and unique flavor profiles that have made the brand famous. Although the Red and Blue lines have been omitted, anyone can go to the FP website to read up on the other options offered by the company.
A gambit is when a player opens a chess game by sacrificing a pawn to gain an advantage. Gambit, the dessert-based e-juice from this brand, makes no such sacrifices. The opening salvo from the FP line, Gambit, introduces users to the brand’s deft layering of flavors. Gambit eases users into the Five Pawns brand with traditional flavors like apples, vanilla, and whipped cream.
Users feel the crust breaking on a freshly-served apple pie on the inhale. After, the subtle tartness and sweetness of caramelized Granny Smith apples envelopes them. Then, the whipped cream provides the sultry finish that comes with total satisfaction. This e-juice is available in either a 30 or 60ml bottle. Users can choose between five nicotine strengths, starting at 0mg and going as high as 18mg. The liquid consists of an even 50/50 VG/PG blend.
#2 Castle Long
Award-Winning and Hand-Crafted
9.5/10 Review score
Castle Move is when a rook makes way for the king so it can evade an attack. This e-juice has plenty of room to accommodate the many savory flavors blended into it. The central character in the liquid is the toasted coconut that wafts over a vaper’s sense of smell and taste. From there, follows such sinfully delicious treats like caramelized brown sugar and Madagascar vanilla. When the whole vape starts to feel oversugared, a shot of dark, mellow Kentucky bourbon puts the brakes on a sugar overload. Its e-juice comes in two bottle sizes, 30ml and 60ml. Users can choose from six nicotine strengths, ranging from 0mg to 18mg. Castle Move features a 50/50 VG/PG blend.
The Best of the Best
9/10 Review score
While Grandmaster sounds complex and layered, it is shocking in its simplicity. Grandmaster is the highest rank a chess player can reach, and this flavor is Five Pawns’ most celebrated. It combines the natural sugars of ripe bananas and smothers them in warm, sensual caramel. All the while, crunchy bits of peanut butter gild the cloud of the entire vape. The peanut butter gives the otherwise mushy taste of bananas and caramel much-needed texture. This juice offers vapers layers of deliciousness topped-off by a satisfyingly sweet exhale. Grandmaster comes in two bottle sizes, 30ml, and 60ml. Users can also choose from the five nicotine strengths that range from 0mg to 18mg. This juice also features an even 50/50 VG/PG blend.
#4 Bowden’s Mate
Mint. Chocolate. Checkmate.
8.5/10 Review score
Bowden’s Mate is a finishing move in chess, where two bishops mate the king because his pieces are blocking his escape. It is a difficult move to make, so this eponymous e-juice from Five Pawns is also challenging in its flavor blend. Bowden’s Mate – the e-juice – takes familiar flavors like sweet chocolate, crisp mint, and sumptuous vanilla to create an after-dinner treat. The inhale reveals the rich, chocolatey notes first, which then give way to a wave of vanilla that adds depth. When vapers exhale, the mint notes plunge straight onto the back of the throat for a satisfying finish. This flavor comes in two bottle sizes, 30ml, and 60ml. Users can choose from five different nicotine strengths that range from 0mg to 18mg. The juice also features a 50/50 VG/PG blend.
A Royal Pair
8/10 Review score
Queenside is an odd combination of flavors that are popular on their own but rarely paired. The two characteristics that makeup FP’s other signature vape juice are blood orange and vanilla. They each bring a multi-layered component to an otherwise simple coupling of citrus and sugar. The blood-orange side brings not only a sting of citrus but mellower, candied notes that soften the bite of the citrus. Almost at the same time, the creamy, vanilla side enters, which makes the vape an unforgettable one. This particular juice comes, like the rest of them, in either 30 or 60ml bottles. Users can choose from either 0mg or 18mg of nicotine, with a total of five strengths.
#6 Symmetry Six
A Multi-Flavored Winner
7.5/10 Review score
Symmetry Six does not sound like the most appetizing name for a vape juice. But, then again, vape juice names rarely sound as good as they taste, and that is the case with this liquid. Despite the name, there are only five main profiles to this juice, each of which brings something unique. There is the rhubarb, which is a different flavor for a vape juice.
Then there is the variety of flavors that blend with it like vanilla, graham cracker crumble and strawberry. Together, these flavors elicit a warm, satisfying vape that reminds of a bakery-fresh treat. Add hints of crushed oats, and the exhale reveals the true essence behind this one-of-kind vape juice. This flavor comes in two bottle sizes 30ml and 60ml with the requisite five nicotine options. Users can choose 0mg or 18mg, and the liquid comes in an even 50/50 VG/PG split.
#7 Black Flag Risen
A Cocktail of Unique Flavors
7/10 Review score
A favorite cocktail among FP’s staff inspired Black Flag Risen. The cocktail – Cigarettes and Coffee – gave way to a non-alcoholic melange of unique flavors. Without knowing what they are beforehand, it is hard to tell when vaping this juice. There is a strong, aromatic coffee flavor tinged with heavy cream at the start. The cloud then releases a subtle, but scratchy tobacco taste as a counterpoint to the cappuccino flavor. On the exhale, those flavors give way to the sweet release of truffle cream dusted with black walnuts and mocha. The vape is an unforgettable one. This e-juice comes either in 30ml or 60ml bottles. Users can choose from six different nicotine levels starting at 0mg and ending at 18mg. This e-juice also comes in an even 50/50 VG/PG blend.
#8 Five Pawns Original Series Sampler
Back to Basics
6.5/10 Review score
The Five Pawns original series sampler pack offers vapers all the Insignia series e-juices in one package. There are six in total, each of them in a single 10ml bottle. All the favorites are here. Users can choose from the savory sweetness of e-juices like Gambit or Grandmaster. Or they can opt for the bold, complex intensity of juices like Black Flag Risen and Castle Long. And those are only four of the juices here. The other two, Queenside and Bowden’s Mate, also showcase the originality and craftsmanship behind every FP product. Each e-juice comes in a single 10ml bottle, and there is only one available nicotine strength for the pack, which is 3mg.
With its stated aim of making vape juice for vaping connoisseurs, the company has gained a dedicated following among vapers with sophisticated palates. When it comes to the quality of their vape juice, people have nothing but praise for the company. There are detractors as well, as the same people who love the company also hate it, as their prices put their e-juices out of reach of most working-class vapers.
Fifth Rank E-Liquid
While Black Flag Risen is the new, cocktail-inspired e-juice in the FP line-up, another liquid held that title before. The fifth Rank was an e-juice inspired by the cocktail Lime Rickey, which could be alcoholic or non-alcoholic, depending on the preparation. Based on the description of the e-juice on the FP website, it sounds as though Fifth Rank was one of the company’s more sophisticated liquids.
It combined such disparate flavors as heavy cream, vanilla, roasted almond, and a hint of lime for an unparalleled vaping experience. Anyone wanting to try this one-of-a-kind flavor is out of luck, though, as the company discontinued it. They did post a recipe on how to make a real (but virgin), Lime Rickey, on their website in case vapers wanted to taste what Fifth Rank tasted like.
A quick review of the FP website shows no discount program for military members, either active-duty and veterans. Being a high-end vape juice company with higher-than-normal prices, it is unlikely that the company offers discounts on any of their products. The company would be well-suited to do so, however, to gain a loyal following among more consumers, as the one recurring complaint about them is their high prices.
FAQ About Five Pawns
Does Five Pawns Contain Diacetyl?
One controversy attached to the Five Pawns name came in 2015. The company was sued for false advertising for underreporting the diacetyl and acetyl propionyl levels in their e-juices. The outcome of that lawsuit is unknown, and the company makes no mention of it on its website.
We reached out to the company for a comment, but, as of this writing, they did not respond. The company did respond to the lawsuit back in 2015, claiming that the accusations made were “unfounded and without merit.”
Whether their e-juices still contain diacetyl or acetyl propionyl is also unknown. In a blog post, the company does state that they do not use vitamin E acetate in their e-juices, the chemical blamed for the outbreak of vaping, or e-cigarette associated lung injury (EVALI) this past summer.
Are Five Pawns Products Safe?
Although the company has kept mum on the presence of DP or AP in their e-juices, they do take a lot of care in creating their e-juices, meaning that they are safe to vape. In an interview with Vapor Voice magazine, company founder Rodney Jarabek explained the FP process of making e-juice. The company uses a state of the art cleanroom to pour and blend all their e-juices. They have full traceability of their products, as they make only small batches, so they know which ingredients go into which bottles.
What Is the Five Pawns Best Flavor?
The best Five Pawns flavor depends on a person’s individual tastes. Some prefer the traditional, sumptuous flavors of Grandmaster, with its comforting caramel, banana, and peanut butter flavor profile. Others may prefer something more sophisticated and complex like Black Flag Risen or Queenside that combines unconventional flavors like blood orange, rhubarb with more familiar tastes like vanilla and graham cracker crumble. The company strives to appeal to all five tastes, so there is something for everyone on the FP roster.
Broke Dick vape juice is the opposite of Five Pawns, in almost every way. Where FP spares no expense in crafting, high-end, sophisticated e-juices, Broke Dick skimps on as many costs as they can to make affordable, but high-quality e-liquids. Broke Dick, despite its stated frugality and penny-pinching, does craft some of the best e-liquids in the business.
Their flavor profiles do not stray from the norm, as they stick with classic patterns like dessert, candy, and fruit flavors, along with some menthol selections. The total product count comes to just under 30 choices, and they also sell vape gear, which FP does not do.
From one end of the spectrum to the other, Black Note has been a reliable, well-regarded premium e-juice maker for many years. They are also the only contender to rival FP’s dedication to craft and quality. Black Note makes only tobacco-flavored e-liquids. They state explicitly on their website that they do not use chemicals like diacetyl, acetyl propionyl, and others in their formulations.
They also create only small batches and even package their liquids in the same way, in tubes that protect the juice from air and sunlight to ensure its longevity. People who only want tobacco flavor will not be disappointed with a Black Note product, but someone looking for a more refined approach to e-juice making should try FP instead.
Final Thoughts: Five Pawns Review: Time to Make a Move
Five Pawns has now been in the vape juice business for eight years. They started at a time when e-cigarettes were being introduced into the American market, 2012, so they are not some fly-by-night operation. Since it began production, FP has been about making exclusive, well-defined e-juices intended for mature audiences only.
There’s no bubblegum or cotton candy or Skittles flavors here. The brand also did not jump on the nicotine salt craze by coming out with its line of salt options. What they did instead was craft a range based around actual salt, which is the foundation of their Blue line of e-liquids.
Users can choose from such genre-bending flavors as sea salt, honeydew and mint or candy apple, and peanut butter. With such a distinguished reputation – despite the lawsuit – there’s no telling what the company will come up with next. But one thing is sure; Five Pawns is in it for the long-term.
Have you tried Five Pawns e-liquid? Do you have a favorite one? Do you think that they are over-priced or that the price matches the quality? Let us know in the comments section below.
Published: March 28, 2020Updated: December 9, 2020
Jam Monster Vape Juice is an e-juice brand from Monster Vape Labs. This brand contains a large selection of regular and salt nicotine e-liquid flavors.
My way of understanding the significance of vaping came not only through the disruption of smoking but its effects on society as a whole. Now I bring people to vaping and bring vaping to people. I love using new gear, writing in-depth reviews and generally nerding out about vaping to like-minded people.