It seems like I haven’t stopped smoking, or going to events about smoking, in the past two months. Not that I’m complaining whatsoever, but with so much going on it’s getting harder to distill everything down for these lists. So with that in mind, you’re getting a few extra this edition, as we’re recapping both Hall of Flowers, and the Green Street Festival. I know there were several other events this month, and while I was truly bummed to miss them, one dude can’t be everywhere. Unless you’re Jimi Devine, I guess—and speaking of which, Solventless Against the System was my favorite event of this past weekend—I won a rig in a raffle!
It was excellent seeing some of my favorite people, like Mike Glazer and Mary Jane Gibson, on stage in front of an adoring crowd, and all the brands on display vying for our collective attention, and, and, and all the industry friends & colleagues and their individual plights & trophies, but you know what I’m looking for—and it rhymes with ‘neat’. I found a LOT of great brands this haul, and am happy to present an almost entirely fresh list of brands for you guys—including a first time category entry to this bad boy, so let’s get into it.
As always, blow me up in the comments or on Twitter if I missed your favs—or be nice and tell me what to check out that’s dope and maybe we can be friends. I’m pretty easy like that.
CAM’s admittedly been on my radar for awhile now, but somehow they’ve managed to slip through the cracks of my compilations so far, so I’m kicking this one off with them. Every time I see this crew they’ve always got something better than they did the time before, and their flower has been tops as long as I’ve known them. The most recent cultivars, from their Dosi Kush, to their Gasanova, to CAM’s Runtz, clearly illustrate that they deserve to be among these ranks. Not to mention the leader of this crew, Anna, is one of the sweetest and most hard working women in the game. While the team she has assembled is second to none, it’s important to note just how much she has taken on on her own thus far.
Speaking of great people, there are few brands I enjoy seeing out in the wild more than Kalya. Marc is seriously one of the best people in the industry to be around, his joy is infectious, and you can feel the love in all his work. These guys have won tons of awards over the years—from CC’s to Emerald Cups, so I know I’m not being partial to his charm—his products are all top of the line, and boy does he know how to pick em. If you’ve read a lot of my lists you’ll know I definitely favor flower, but if there’s one brand I will always risk my joint tolerance for, it’s these guys.
Blueprint – Item 9
Blueprint has been the star of the last several Hall of Flowers for me, so it’s no surprise that of all the flowers I peered at and inhaled the past few weeks, theirs was among the best. Fresh on the scene is their latest ‘Item 9’, and while they are certainly a camp that consistently puts out bangers, this one is truly something special. While I was expecting something more downy, Item 9 performed as a balanced hybrid for me, putting me into an excellent, giggly mood, without any of the drowsiness. If you weren’t already, you should follow the Blueprint.
Willie’s Reserve – Whitethorn Rose
I’ve been hearing the folklore about the Whitethorn Rose from Huckleberry Hill Farms for awhile now, but my first actual taste came via Willie’s Reserve, who partners with legendary legacy growers like the aforementioned farm to promote amazing cultivars. I was fortunate enough to meet Nicole from their team, who slipped me a jar, and while I was expecting something special, this one truly knocked even my socks off. They’re not kidding about Johnny at Huckleberry’s work. With an amazing sweet floral aroma that will not only stain your palate, but your grinder too, this refreshing and uplifting flower is exactly what I’m looking for when I search for a daytime strain. If you haven’t been fortunate enough to try this magical varietal yet, put it at the top of your list.
These guys are a totally new name for me, but this one’s kismet. I met Corbin at a HOF after party and we smoked a blunt and got to talking. The next morning I caught him hanging by the pool at my hotel, and he pulled out some of his work to show me. It’s extremely rare I meet someone with as big of a portfolio as this, but even more so when each new cut seems to be better than the last. It’s hard to choose a favorite out of the lineup he showed me, but here are some standouts: Bucking Runtz, Cowgirl Cookies, Hall of Famer 3, Marilyn Monroe, and the Lemon Pinecone Biscotti x Fire as Fuck.
Flight Path – Oreoz
I know I might get some slack for this one, so let me come right out and say it: I never got Oreoz before this. I know it’s been popular the past few years, but none of those cuts ever really spoke to me, and I never understood how it got it’s name. Well friends, Flight Path has the answer—not only did they manage to get some seriously standout buds from their run of this cultivar, but they legit, no joke, smell exactly like Oreo cookies. It’s not surprising to me though, because while these guys are still newcomers to the space, every varietal I’ve seen from them so far has been a spectacular expression of the plant, so I expect the kids to keep coming from this camp, even when they do something you won’t expect to dig.
High Caliber – Mint Cookie Dough
This is my pick for most unexpected MVP of Hall of Flowers. While I admittedly wanted to hate these guys when I heard them call themselves the ‘champagne of flowers’, I am comfortable acknowledging their flower smacks despite the silly reference. Although supposedly limited edition and small batch, it was their Mint Cookie Dough specifically that kicked my ass. Testing the highest for Pinene—and just the fact that they give you that information clearly on the jar is considered a win for me—but pair that with some truly badass flower and I’ll look past the gimmicks with the tagline.
Med Tree – Grape Gas
This one was a rec from my dear friend Sam Zartoshty, the founder of Blunt Talks, and as he rarely misses, this was one I was excited to dig into. Grape Gas was my first taste of Med Tree, but it’s clear from both the packaging and the flower that these guys have been around since the old days. But while they may be legacy, they’re certainly speaking the language of today’s market. Everyone wants purple, a lot of people say they’ve got grape something or another… but this, this one’s the real. Although these guys have historically been breeding, having even won a few of High Times Cannabis Cups back in the day, they’re just entering the rec market, and they’re certainly ones to watch.
Cream of the Crop
I’d seen their prerolls, but this Hall of Flowers was my first chance to see COTC’s flower, and boy was I pleasantly surprised. While their portfolio ran the gamut, I was pleased to see the COTC gang steadily holding down the more uplifting side of the smoke spectrum, as opposed to just the knockout terps most people are pushing for today. Out of the selection my two favorites were (of course) Watermelon Mimosa (a consistent fav) and their Lemon Freeze Pop, which I was just trying for the first time. Both have been godsends this past week while trying to find inspiration during the day, with smooth highs that put a battery in my back, as opposed to strapping me down with weights.
Who knew I’d be writing about tobacco products one day? You know, I didn’t really experience Backwoods until I got to California. See, I grew up on Dutch Masters, so when I started seeing these thick-leafed, messy looking blunts on the west coast I was honestly curious why anyone was smoking them. The blunts I was used to were clean, smooth… they were presentable. I had almost written off blunts on this coast until my guy Barney introduced me to Brothers Broadleaf. These thin, perfect-every-time tobacco wraps were like a dream come true. The perfect size, the perfect flavor, and even better, they roll like a dream. I was lucky enough to meet up with the Brothers this past weekend at the Green Street Festival and I’ve got to say, they’re just as dedicated to their craft as you’d expect. Keep in mind, they’re hand rolling all of these, so they’re dropping in batches, but trust me when I say that every blunt smoker will not only benefit, but truly prefer these leaves.
These guys have been around for awhile now, but they’ve got a new face (Josh Karchmer) shaking things up behind the scenes, and boy is he making his presence felt. On top of the new look and feel, Josh has ensured the brand is disclosing its primary terpenes on its packaging so that its consumers can better prescribe the experience, which y’all know I like very much. That said, they’ve also got a great variety within their portfolio, offering something for most any occasion. Their Tropical Julius and Dosi Shmintz are two of my daily drivers right now.
When I first heard Squints was in the weed game I was honestly excited. It’s not a regular celebrity play, IDK if you could even really call him a celebrity, but the Sandlot will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart, and for that alone I was interested. While I imagined dude had to know what good flower was, I wasn’t expecting what was in his bag to be as good as it is. Although it was unlabeled so I’m not 100% sure what it is, and I don’t want to disrespect the brand and assume it was a good cut of a more basic strain, I will say the nose straight up punched me in the face out of the bag—and that’s through the double-sided plastic bud protector inside.
Team Elite Genetics
Another consistent HOF standout is Team Elite Genetics. At the last event I got to try Pearadise for the first time. This time their newest flavor was Styrofoam Cup. As with all of the cuts I’ve seen from Team Elite, these buds looked magnificent—alive almost. With an unusual nose, it was the taste where the name really presented itself. It’s flavor almost burnt the tongue. I also got a look at some of their private reserve daytime smoke, and let me tell you, if they ever release that wide it’s going to be game over for a lot of the classic ‘sativas’, because this one’s the real jet fuel. Also a quick note, pictured is their Orange Soda, since I couldn’t find a picture of the Cup yet, and since that’s an all time fav that’s back in the mix. It’s a must cop too.
Without question one of my favorite new finds of the trip was 818. I hear they’re not new to the game, and that tracks as my first experience with their flower had me seriously impressed. From their Garlicane, which had one of the most stand-out aromas on the floor—with notes of garlic, cake and gas—to their Classic OGs, 818 clearly has some experienced cultivators and premiere genetics on their hands. If you get a chance, grab a bag of that Garlicane—its taste presents almost menthol and that minty goodness will be a breath of fresh air for your lungs.
These guys are another that have been putting out good work for a minute now, but for whatever reason I just haven’t given them their proper shine. Part of the High Grade Distribution family, Have Hash produces some seriously high-end products, and at price points designed to satisfy both connoisseurs and entry-level smokers, with their private reserve and value brands respectfully. The latest flavor I caught, their Green Zkittle, which was grown by Talking Trees Farms, was seriously delicious, and that’s coming from a guy who only dabs when it’s important to. It’s also worth mentioning that I also would recommend saving this hash for dabbing, as it’s far too flavorful to get lost in a donut!
See ya in a few weeks!
Willie’s Reserve – Whitethorn Rose is really amazing product. Adore people who who created it!