Great Tools/Great Smoke: A holiday wrap-up with my thoughts and some tasting notes.
Omura ‘fill your own’ tiny, disposable/recyclable tubes made of paper- you heat- not burn your own blend of herbs. Sure, you can buy the pre-stuffed version, but I like to control what I’m smoking, and the Omura gives me this alternative to the norm. It’s an extremely subtle device, artistically designed… The Omura offers a full “smoking” experience, without any smoke at all, just cool vapor.
This is a brilliant tool that really gets me “experienced,” with hardly any smell left behind. This means a user-friendly experience for all inhabitants of Earth.
Iven Herbal Vaporizer from E-1011 Labs
This hand-held vaping device is a game-changer in regard to the subtle art of vaporizing your favorite herbals. A generously sized, stainless-steel cave at the bottom can be filled with about a half gram of your very finely ground botanicals, the temperature control is simple from flavorful to room filling and cloudy, all in a few clicks of the “not too long of a learning curve” button. The entire device seems to be made from some kind of ultra-sophisticated material with a ceramic coating, very light weight and ultra-inconspicuous. One button controls it all, safely and easily. Hits all the buttons for elegance and style.
The Chill Bong
What can I say that hasn’t been said already? Perhaps this is the time when you’re seeking inspiration to reintroduce yourself to the Chill Bong. What exactly is this device? Does it plug in to utilize? Far from, this is in my opinion one of the finest tools for smoking cannabis that exists. What makes the Chill Bong so efficient? The design. It’s built like an insulated water bottle but much better. It’s nearly indestructible! And It keeps the water inside the bong cold, all day long. A win/win for the cooling cannabis smoke inhaled deeply into your lungs club. The overall design is unique, the quality is evident. Simplicity? Absolutely yes and then some. I’m happy to be the owner of two Chill Bongs. They are easy to clean and they last forever. Their collaborative and creative design pathways are diverse, you can even buy one without any color at all! My highest recommendation.
Frozen Confectionary dessert: The very best, THC infused frozen confection in the land in my humble opinion is Dutch Bliss, gracefully produced in New Mexico. This is a very unique gourmet dessert that packs gobs of solventless, Live Rosin/Cannabis to the finest culinary ingredients… Spun into a deeply evocative, European inspired recipe is the end result, deeply emotional goodness.
I don’t normally cover the edibles, nor the confectionary side of the cannabis business, but this is something very special and I have to let you know about it. It is a dessert that could be enjoyed all during the day in many incarnations, like affogato, or in a malted milkshake. Or even with your cereal in the morning, that would be decadent!
The flavors practically jump into your mouth. When the temperature outside exceeds eighty degrees this confection is mighty refreshing! Last time I tasted it the outside temperature was north of a hundred and ten, and bone dry. I got blissfully lit and my stomach and heart grooved with the pleasant vibe given off by this very special frozen dessert. It’s truly a gift to savor the flavors within those small cups! With crafty flavors like espresso, chocolate, and sweet cream, I’m savoring the mere thought of slurping down a couple scoops the next time that I’m in town. This is ultra-gourmet confectionary work at the highest point in the known canna-universe… With a twist. And that is a really nice buzz that comes on quickly and envelops you in a nice warm feeling. Very hash-like, enveloping your body in happiness and love.
Flowers and old school/dry ice style hashish
Somewhere west northwest and northwest of that … it’s dry ice water hash and darn it, it’s damned good stuff made from Jersey sun grown-backyard flower. Concentrated, chock full of toasty goodness, it’s a dream and a half when decarbed and folded into a milkshake or a cup of hot cocoa.
I made a huge batch with the Butter Brewer. A new machine that acts like a heat jacketed immersion blender with a twist. That twist is slow cooking. When I was doing the research for my book, Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails and Tonics- I used both a hot plate and a slow cooker to develop the seventy five recipes within the pages. It was definitely not a fast method, nor was it especially effective, but it worked. Now, the Butter Brewer does what I’ve always wanted. Slow, even cooking that has a mixer built right in. It sort of resembles a pan-Asian rice cooker with a smallish footprint on your countertop. I’m probably not going to use it to infuse liquor, but I might use it to make a batch of Maine Maple Syrup and that Hash. That would be quite potent indeed! Breakfast would be a buzzy affair. https://www.butterbrewer.com/
Secret Squirrel-from neither here nor there: Ethos Genetics, Lilac Diesel crossed with Crescendo. Pure and Intellectual smoke tempered by rich dollops of freshly churned butter and lamp oil smeared with crisp cucumber oil. Patiently cured and vibrant with purple and orange veins. Truly amazing and world class in stature. Deeply enlightening and toasty/gassy across my palate. What this Squirrel has achieved would win any cannabis competition. It’s that good.
Swami Select– Don Carlos: I was fortunate last February to work on a now closed, restaurant project in Culver City. Although I had very little time away from the build-out, I did make enough time to find some Swami Select– specifically the Don Carlos varietal sitting in front of me. Now, all these months later, I opened the jar to find one last nug, as if to say, smoke me, and then describe me. Share me in words. Sun grown is not just in a greenhouse. What Swami has achieved is the goal of the canna botanist who embraces the plant as part of a larger ecosystem. Regenerative Cannabis. In a similar study, known as Biodynamics- they apply different types of soil augmenting teas to the earth, as in Swami’s garden. I can gather as much scent driven information as I can by sniffing inside the jar. Dark loam that is freshly turned and richly textured pillows of blue smoke- each pull abounding with crushed minerals, gaseous whiffs leading into citrus oil and shavings of cigar box cedar, a touch of Virginia tobacco leaf and lead pencil. Purple fruits come into view, as if the pits were crushed and dribbled on my tongue. This is masterful cannabis grown not just to get stoned, but to enlighten in a deeper way…. https://swamiselect.com/
Verdes– New Mexico Gelato Pop: I can consider myself to be incredibly fortunate to be able to experience cannabis from this nascent growing region. Propagated at around six thousand feet, with humidity ranging from zero to maybe five percent, I’ve smoked a lot of cannabis in my life, but none as utterly expressive as the Verdes strain called Gelato Pop. You would expect cannabis with a name like this to be sweet and candy like. It’s far from that with bursts of crushed desert stones and spicy chili dust. There is high desert greenery in there, far back in time, set way back in your palate, expertly and patiently cured to reveal luxurious gaseous notes and flavors of hazelnut, dark maple syrup- and brown butter drenched French toast, crushed Thai Basil and dollops of both smooth lemon curd and tangy, orange marmalade. Verdes does as a dispensary what many dispensaries in the country only wish they could do. Deliver an experience. Sometimes a educational experience, other times a recreational one… All are happy and bold for beginners and experts alike, with a quick smile and a knowing nod… And a dog biscuit for your pup. Nice touch. Because what Veritas has achieved is something that is not forced. It’s gentle, like a cool breeze across your forehead in the summer’s heat. Their cannabis speaks a language that calls my name, again and again- until I run out again- which is what just happened… I’ll have to say… Until the next time. https://verdesfoundation.org/
Hopper Reserve: Imagine a cannabis envisioned to the photography and memories by the artist/photographer/filmmaker, Dennis Hopper. https://hopperreserve.com/ this is not your typical celebrity cannabis. It is a carefully chosen smoke that unlocks the inner self. The creative part of the brain, the place where few go and fewer understand. Hopper Reserve is craft cannabis that opens the bardo to the next and then the next place in the universe. Hopper helps stimulate creativity and visual metaphors. Hopper Reserve is something that will stay with me for a long time- because of the memory of the namesake, Dennis Hopper.
My friend Nishant Reddy is just killing it with his craft cannabis named- A Golden State and their new-ish 2nd line called Phases. How high did I just get to completely forget what I was doing today? Perhaps that is the reasoning behind the truthfully remarkable flowers cultivated with Mt. Shasta run-off water…. And then there is their Phases efforts that totally blew my mind…Like their gorgeous varietals named “Reverie” (Gorilla Cookies) which offers notes of cardamom rubbed toast points, scantly drizzled with tart/peppery Portuguese olive oil, finishing with mere sprinkles of crunchy fleur de sel.
One of their new signature offerings for A Golden State named Empanadas Diez, completely shattered, yet again… my preconceived thoughts on indoor grown cannabis. This offering is truly gorgeous flower. To be able to savor cannabis of this quality brings betterment to my life and pertinent intellectualism to my sometimes difficult day. https://www.agoldenstate.com/
Big Smoke Ed: Gotti Girl- Freshly snipped tarragon leads into bursts of late harvest Hatch Chilies and dusted with cotton candy. Licorice on the nose- a potent, smoke with touches of sweetness and gas. Magnificent effort that carries through every gently cured puff. I’m deeply impressed by Ed’s quality smoke. Gas, funk, old Burgundy wine, sea smoke… it’s all in there. I wish I could find it… more of this incredibly evocative experience. Then I tasted a touch of the (GPXFISH)x CapJunky gosh- what a nose on this one. I don’t think that anything I’ve smelled even comes close to this strain. First impressions? Smashed garlic cloves, snipped chives, Spanish onions, Butter, Hatch Chili peppers, and tomato jam smeared on sourdough toast. Bacon fat comes into view, leading to bursts of chili pepper and candy corn on the finish. It’s not sweet, not by a longshot, but there is a beguiling finish that calls to my better sense, should I have another hit? Absolutely. This is amazing from who knows where. I certainly don’t.
Van Brunt: Community Cannabis. I know a couple growers in New York State, and they are doing some bodacious growing. I can’t name their names, but one of them is Van Brunt. The flowers are carefully grown somewhere in the state. There is a CSA and if you know about it, then you’ll follow my gist… This is the really good stuff. With strains such as Knockout Punch, built on a combination of permaddream which is platinum punch and kushmints- wow. that was a good couple of hours… or another choice, Skylar White which is Walter White and Skywalker. Reminded me of weed from out in the “high” desert…. The Fugue State, Amnesia Haze and Walter White was something out of a dream for me. A pie in the sky strain that pushes me closer to the edge than I’ve been in some time. Sage Scout, a salubrious combination of Forum Stomper and Wizard’s Apprentice charms me. I wish I had more, as is the 90’s bubblegum, made me feel like a kid again. Lip smacking and pucker up to kiss delicious in every hit. Mandela Effect is a play on a Sitar Drone against my brain comprising of Fugue State (Bach????) and Mango Isle… Sophisticated strains… But my favorite of the tasting was the Quicksand Cookies, comprising of crinkled cookies and blue microverse… whew…. am I in Oregon? No leaf hopper. This is fine smoke from nearby New York State. https://www.instagram.com/van.brunt.nyc/
Strawberry Gary, Pheno #5 from Bountiful Farms is the dark horse at this tasting. Most people outside of Massachusetts have never heard of it. This is gourmet, white tablecloth, effervescent cannabis. Not stoner stuff, but cannabis to be savored over steaming cups of Irish tea and a good book. There is gas in the first whiffs, followed by juicy frais du bois and touches of freshly turned loam and chopped scallion. A touch of chili pepper on the tongue is the next hero of the tasting, not a burn but an expansion of the palate. Charming stuff. Not for the meek though, this is potent cannabis that finishes with a touch of sweetness on the tongue. Brilliant effort. https://www.bountifulfarms.care/
Gentleman Smuggler’s…. via my former state- South Carolina- Charleston to be exact- although our paths would never cross- they did later on, and the herbs remind me of another time in another land in another decade. The low country. The scent of the low tide and the ocean. That fort out there in the harbor where Admiral Doubleday- yes- that Doubleday fired the first shot of the Civil War on Ft. Sumpter. It’s all true and then there is that wonderful cannabis. This time from Massachusetts and boy is it good. It’s been awhile since I’ve savored a joint, but no matter- I’m due for a trip to the Berkshires to find some, not so far away. If your path crosses with this plant, or the personalities behind the brand, you’re a lucky person. You’ll know what it means.
Say hello for me. https://gentlemensmugglers.com/
Canna Provisions: Another familiar tune is also from Massachusetts. Chemdog’s Smash Hits. I covered them last year and have smoked them back in May. I was charmed immediately by spun sugar, roadside petrol, hazelnut paste, quince jam, brown butter and sauteed morel mushrooms. Lip smacking terps and intellectually stimulating and brain clearing … This is the new cognoscenti of growing some of the finest cannabis in the region. Agitated baby skunk. true! Vanilla Trifle! Now that’s dessert in each hit! https://cannaprovisions.com/
I was super fortunate to enjoy a Xiaolin Cannagar that someone brought me… this is one of the dreams of a lifetime, the ability to smoke something that speaks to me with determination and passion. A unique experience. One which is meant to be savored over hours without ashing if possible… and sharing (only if necessary) with only those who understand the goal… Hard work, perseverance and guts go into every cannagar handcrafted by Xiaolin in Colorado. It would be nice to see them on the east coast… A man can dream for the very best. And in this case, Xiaolin is the 1st Growth wine. The very best without screaming. Something about the scent. Success and compelling willpower to succeed smells this way. https://www.madeinxiaolin.com/collections
Shorties: Gourmet Craft Cannabis in a tiny little package. I got a couple packs from somewhere out in Arizona, Shorties is their name and tiny doesn’t even begin to describe these packed with terpenes, craft cannabis. Sure, they are small, and I mean really small- but you won’t miss the size after a couple of hits. Shorties packs a ton of potency into each miniature, mini pre-roll. I enjoyed the Motor Breath with caramelized/gassy notes and bursts of desert minerals and sea salt. Fun stuff to walk your dog out to the car and back. Maybe a bit less or more depending on how fast you walk! https://theflowershopusa.com/phoenix/products/1831489/shorties-apples-bananas-5g?recommended=false&fromMenu=true
Bombatta “Nerve Gas”
There are many fakes out there on the market, but I got mine through their PR. Some of the gassiest of the gassy in the land. I opened my mylar upstairs and I smelled it downstairs. Like home heating oil. Gassy! GET the stuff from Studio City. But I’ve seen it other dispensaries in LA and on the web… https://skunkglobalmarijuanaculture.com/cannabis-world-news/media/video/interview-commentary-vids/bombatta-nerve-gas-tasting-notes-and-commentary/
Down To Fade, quite frankly the finest sleep/muscle liniment in the world. I’ve yet to experience anything better. It just doesn’t exist. They developed it for full contact sports. I found it puts me out to sleep in just three minutes or fewer. Amazing stuff! This is the very best. https://down2fade.com/
Feature photo credit: Warren Bobrow/Leica Q2 At the Woods in West Hollywood, California
Warren Bobrow has been a dishwasher, the owner of the first company to make fresh pasta in South Carolina , a television engineer and he even worked at Danceteria in NYC, then a trained chef which led to a twenty year career in private banking. A cannabis, wine and travel aficionado, Warren is a former rum judge and craft spirits national brand ambassador. He works full time in the cannabis business as an alchemist/journalist. Cocktailwhisperer.com Drinkklaus.com Instagram: warrenbobrow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Bobrow