Now that 2022 is behind us, it’s time to walk through the gravejard where I keep all the bags, boxes, and jars that impressed me last year. Looking through my notes and all the empties, I narrowed it down to my top five flowers, dabs, and edibles in 2022. This stuff was so good I couldn’t bear to throw it away.
ROYAL KEY “Riddlez”
When someone gives you a pre-roll before you hit the airport, and you call them from the plane to ask what it was, it hits the list. This year, Humboldt’s Royal Key produced impressive new combinations in their living soil environment. This Red Pop S1 pheno hunted out from Exotic Genetix and dubbed Riddles has a sweet and savory play that goes back and forth, and the nugs could make a picture taken on an iphone8 look like fine art.
ALIEN LABS “Agent X”
One of the newer releases from Ted and the mothership, the superhero Agent X combines two of their more recent strains, Xeno and Atomic Apple. Dense, nobby, and granny smith-green, these nugs look like meteors in your hand. This strain pops off with Atomic Apple’s fruit n’ sour yogurt funk, but this time with a film of Z-terps on top. Agent X has a particular set of skills that are perfect for binge-watching epic adventures.
Famous for their work with Moonbow, Oregon juggernaut Archive created something special with this Moonbow x Yukmouth. The bud structure is super tight, and the brightly colored nugs sparkle with that moondew but also reek with an earthy stank. When checking out new strains this year, I kept returning to this relaxing creeper as a palate cleanser, but I was actually using it as the bar to clear.
DEO “Tropical Zoap”
Released at Transbay Challenge 4, This Zoap x (Pink Guava x The Y BX2) was just one of the highly demanded strains from the 25-letter capsule boxes, which premiered over half of the new flavors for DEO Farms. People lined up to try new flavors like Opal, Lime Zoap, and Cherry Drip. The Tropical Zoap had bright green and pastel purple tones and strong fruity and citrus detergent notes, like when Gain started making Tropical Sunrise.
CAM/DR.MOON/AMPLIFIED “Alien Mints x Runtz”
Throughout the year, I kept trying different versions of this cross and scoring the jars high. Whether I was smoking Dr. Moon’s fresh n’ gassy 818, Amplified Farm’s unique-smelling Speaker Knockerz, or CAM’s sweet minty S/T version, each one was an instant winner for me. I get a lot of carefree energy from Mints strains, combined with the euphoria of Runtz, and I’m all in. Each brings something different to the table regarding sights and smells, but all are great smoke.
YETI MELTS “Banana God”
When I asked at The Smoking Jacket competition what was the perfect gift to bring my girlfriend back, everyone’s answer was Yeti Melt’s take on Masonic Genetics Banana OG x Wilson. A creamy and delicious banana flavor sails through a tropical paradise. It’s the kind of cake you give as a gift, then immediately ask for a slice. The same cut Simpleeadam entered Ego Clash and took home the gold for full melt.
DAMMIT BOBBY “OISHII”
Dropping that new Archive Genetics heat on the world, Oregon’s heady hash maker killed it with this Moonbow backcross of sorts (Flavor Pack No.7 x Moonbow 112 F2 No.60). Named after the Japanese word for delicious. Archive describes this as “compressing the moonbow lineage into a Damascus blade of candy gas.” This pervasive aroma won second place in the Expert Judge’s category and 1st place in People’s Choice at the 2022 Smoking Jacket Competition.
GURU / SELECT SOLVENTLESS “LEMBUTAN”
The Ganjah Guru and Select Solventless team has produced more than a few heaters over the last few years. Only seven jars of this masterpiece made it down the mountain, making it as rare as a dwarven ring of power. Rambutan blended Lemon Cane 66 x Rambutan (Papaya x Guava 74) and resulted from an insane and hard-won series of pheno hunts. Creamy from beginning to end, the soft flavor builds from a lemony start to a candy papaya finish.
WOOKSAUCE WINERY / ALIEN LABS “XENO”
One of the rare items on the list was part of only 100 jars that hit the friends and family scene for this year’s Puffcon. The color on this was like a beautiful pale yellow moon. Even cold, you could pick up the Zkittlez notes, and when you dabbed in that Kush Mints came up on the back. Wooksauce Winery and Fully Melted did a bang-up job making this extraterrestrial flower into something truly out of this world.
TAO BUBBLE / KUSH KIRK “BLUEBERRY STREUSEL”
Grown using genetics from the Garden of Grease, the team at Tao Gardens produced the flower for their Tao Bubble release that had all that blueberry flavor matched with a sweet doughy taste that came in and out during the exhale. From what I know, this was the first time the recreational market could offer a peak into the work of Kush Kirk, making it a top-shelf gem that knowledgeable dabbers sought out when visiting Portland.
ROSE Pleasures “Cherry Cola Turkish Delights”
I’m a fan of Rose Delights. Not only for their candy but for the thought and intention they put into each flavor pairing. Made using ground cherries and cannabis from their land, this is the first time the main ingredients for a single batch have been grown on Rose Delights farm. These sweet, earthy cherry cola candies have a flavor similar to German gummy candies and come in THC or CBD-only versions.
REAL DEAL RESIN “Cucumber Serrano Mango”
To battle the boring world of simple strawberry flavoring or someone thinking they’re fancy for using a french pear, Real Deal Resin started thinking of exciting flavors that needed more representation in the market. These fruit snacks blend sweet, refreshing, and heat, making for a stand-out offering on the dispensary shelf. Plus, they’re strain-specific, solventless, and made in a gluten-free facility.
COZY CUBES “Orange Julius”
One of my favorite discoveries of the year, these solventless, higher-dose edibles break through the walls of flavor to whatever fever dream your taste buds can imagine. Blueberry Pancakes, Blood Orange Guava, Strawberry Shortcake – they try it all using single flavors, combos, and even filled centers, all with Rosin from killer makers like Swollen Heads and Ganjah Guru. My latest favorite is their rendition of a classic mallrat treat, the Orange Julius.
JELLY WIZARD “Dragon’s Tongue”
Another one of my all-time favorite candymen is the Jelly Wizard from Humboldt County. Fans of Wizzy’s World know the gummies, the Zerds, and the Magic Morsels but are you brave enough to conquer these Dragon’s Tongue fruit-roll ups made with full-spectrum hash rosin? Being raised in a candy-conscious house, the dude knows how these should taste and, in my opinion, nailed it. Each roll is 100MG, so it’s best to cut it in half before you head to the movies.
HIGHER CONFECTIONS “Chocolate Raspberry Cream”
I come from a family that regularly spent too much money on fine chocolate, so when I came across Higher Confections, I couldn’t stop eating these delectable chocolates. Offered in a beautiful four-piece box, these are so silky smooth they make the perfect gift for a loved one’s birthday or anniversary. One of my favorites from Skunk’s Hall of Flowers roundup was their Raspberry Cream which I stand by my claim that it stands taller than See’s candy version.
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Matt Jackson is an independent writer and designer with a BA in Creative Writing from Humboldt State University. He has been working with cannabis in California since the early 2000s and has experience with both the traditional and recreational markets. A fan of stoner music, art, and technology. You can find his work highlighted by brands as well as publications.