Amsterdam has always been the crossroads of the cannabis genetics trade -- and it always will be.
Disagree? Then you need to come to the Cannabis Cup and see for yourself the history and knowledge behind the world's master seed breeders. From old school to new school, anyone who is anyone in the genetics game is here this time every year.
Here's a quick look at some of the top players on the scene in Amsterdam this November.
The seeds are small, but the flowers are the reason Loud Seeds are lauded.
Relative newcomers to the Cup circuit, Loud Seeds made a big splash in 2012, taking home two first-place wins for hybrid in both San Francisco and Amsterdam, winning with Headband and Loud Scout respectively.
For this year's Amsterdam Cup, Loud Seeds launched their sister seed company, Loud 9 Genetics. It's their boutique line of well-selected phenotypes for pre-existing strains.
Between the two seed companies, Loud entered four separate strains into this year's Cup in Amsterdam.
Headband is a hybrid with a lineage that looks very familiar to East Coast Sour Diesel fans: Chem '91 x Mass Super Skunk x Northern Lights #5.
This year we also have hybrid Chem Scout, a cross between the Chem '91 and Girl Scout Cookies.
Each company also took shots in the sativa division with the 7/8 Sour (an original Loud: Sour x Spicy Jack -- backcrossed twice with Sour again) from Loud Seeds, and Jack is Back [J1 x (J1xBubblegum)] from Loud 9.
Keep an eye out for some feminized lines coming from the Loud crew in 2014, as well as some newly selected Chem and Amnesia phenos from the Loud 9 side. If you haven't heard the name yet, take out the earplugs and get ready for some Loud.
Celebrating their 20th anniversary, THSeeds is still at the top of the game with reports that this year's entries are perhaps the best ever submitted by the Amsterdam-based seed company.
With a new breeding projects going on in both Holland and Spain, THSeeds took a slightly different approach this year when it came to growing their flower entries. "To celebrate the anniversary, we decided to pop a bunch of seeds for each of our varieties to find the best flowers," says the Medicine Man, a manager at THSeeds. "Of course, the other option would be to grow from clone -- as many competitors do -- but to grow from seed can reinvigorate a stable phenotype and in the case of THSeeds entries that new vigor is showing."
THSeeds went with an original F1 pheno for the hybrid division, entering their Old School Bubblegum. On this their 10th anniversary winning the indica Cup, THSeeds had to go with the MK Ultra -- an original OG Kush phenotype -- that took home the first-place prize in 2003.
For their sativa entry they brought a newer version of their Burmese Kush (or BuKu for short) calling it the BuKu Reloaded.
Be sure to check out the latest seed offerings from THSeeds as the team has assembled a promo package of several prized strains combined into one commemorative set.
Devil's Harvest Seed Co.
Fresh off their second-place finish in last year's Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, Devil's Harvest is pushing hard this year with a new line of reworked genetics.
Of course, they have brought back the Shoreline hybrid that took home the prize in 2012, but they have also entered their rendition of an OG phenotype dubbed simply, "Rollex" which was entered as their indica entry.
With a grow team that is enthusiastic about quality buds, Devil's Harvest is experimenting with Kyle Kushman's Veganic nutrient line and having great success. Look for new hybrid lines from Devil's Harvest coming out in 2014, including a new strain spawned from the stabilized Shoreline as well as a new experiment entitled the Duster OG -- a cross of DH's Kuchi with the fabled Jew Gold strain.
If you are a fan of OG Kush you have probably heard about the boys from Elemental Seeds. Since coming onto the cannabis competition scene in 2010, Elemental and their True OG line has racked up five awards from HIGH TIMES in Cups held in the US and Amsterdam.
Those awards include second-place finishes in 2010 and 2011 in San Francisco, two more second-place finishes in Seattle and Amsterdam in 2012, and a grand first-place finish in Seattle in 2013, the True OG seems to keep getting better with age.
Drawing on expertise from Jason (aka, Montana) and Tony, two top Cali growers and breeders (formerly of Reserva Privada), Elemental has formed a partnership that bodes very well for their future in seeds.
In the pipeline for 2014 are a few new OGs such as Elemental's All-Spark OG and Watermelon, a hybrid project that utilizes the prized Kosher Kush genetics.
Look for more big things out of this California-based crew and check out their site.
That's all for this week amigos. Look for more seed and strain articles from me, Nico, in HIGH TIMES, including a new monthly column dedicated to cannabis genetics, seeds and the preservation of our precious lineages.
In the meantime, stay tuned for the Cup winners coming live out of Amsterdam tomorrow evening.