Now that we’ve had a few days to collect ourselves and recover from the 2017 Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa, California, it’s time to highlight the strains and products we felt really shined this year on the eve of legalization in California.
Earlier this week, we reported on some of the biggest winners like Molecular Farms and 3rd Gen Fam, and as noted, we’ll tell the full story of the second place flower finisher, Rozé, in our next print issue. But just a few steps down from the mountaintop, there is still tons of fantastic cannabis that plenty of folks would kill to get their hands on just once.
We reached out to Ngaio Bealum — an Emerald Cup flower judge, event emcee and Cannabis Now contributor — to get his take on this year’s flower spread.
Bealum pointed to the Tropical Sleigh Ride from Greenshock Farms, which won the SC Labs award for the most unique terpene profile, with 27.4 percent total cannabinoids and 4.8 percent total terpene content. Bealum said he also came across a really good Guava Dawg from Giving Tree Genetics.
“I thought it was a really good year for outdoor organic marijuana. Some of the new judges were crazy blown away like, ‘Are you sure this is outdoor, this looks so indoor-y.’ So I would like to thank all the growers and everyone,” Bealum said. “Just keep smoking weed. That’s all.”
Here is a rundown of some of our favorite strains from the Emerald Cup 2017:
True Humboldt – Dark Crystal
Dark Crystal was one of the many unique picks available at The Emerald Cup. This vibrant hybrid was one of the stickiest samplings available, and even after just putting a few nugs into a grinder, it felt like my fingers had been epoxied together. Dark Crystal came with a nice body high with an uppity functionality to it, which made it an excellent first smoke of the day. True Humboldt also featured some fantastic pre-rolls, rolled in tobacco leaf imported from Cuba with a hardwood tip. I smoked one each day and didn’t even count it towards my overall blunt total because the experience was so unique.
Soul Evolution Enterprises – Fruity Peazy
Unique terps are nothing new for the fellas at Soul Evolution Enterprises. Each year they pop a ton of seeds — a dying art in itself — in search of new fantastic terpene profiles. This year they scored big with their Fruity Peazy. The fruity nose on this strain suggested a sativa-dominant hybrid less heady than a gassy diesel strain, and after I smoked it, Fruity Peazy provided a fantastic toe-tingling body high — especially when I smoked it in back-to-back backwoods!
SLOCAL Roots – Chemdawg
In the quest to have the best terps, one area that felt slightly neglected this year was the real deal gas. Now, I’m not claiming there wasn’t any gas OGs or Sour strains at The Emerald Cup — that would obviously be a foolish claim. But per capita, the number of elite jars that reminded you of sticking your nose in a jug of gasoline was definitely down a pinch this year. As a result, I was delightfully surprised when I ran into Austin of SLOCAL Roots — the SLO is for San Luis Obispo — who had a delightful cut of Chemdawg, cultivated in the land between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The nugs he tossed me were true jar jumpers, popping up into my nose before I even reached down to smell it.
Alien Labs – Wedding Cake
The folks at The Emerald Cup were kind enough to let the elite indoor cultivators at Alien Labs — fresh off winning their Cultivation Excellence Award from the San Francisco Chronicle — have a booth at the pot spectacle reserved for outdoor cannabis, alongside the always-popular Str8Organics. While Alien Labs brought the full spread to the show, including their new Watermelon x Zkittlez cross, I decided to stick with the classic Wedding Cake that put them on our radar years ago.
Emerald Queen Farms – Blue Zkittlez
I have now seen Blue Zkittlez twice in the wild, and on both occasions, it was among the nicest strains I saw on the table. I am officially a believer. While the buds are a lot bigger and production-level friendly for sure, the Blue Zkittlez doesn’t lose too much of the original Zkittelz mystique. The solid high this strain provides could become the next big hit in the flyover states. It’s the real deal.
TELL US, what strains are you most excited about right now?