At this year’s Emerald Cup, we were lucky enough to catch up with one of the hottest companies of 2017, Royal Key Organics.
Known for their amazing line of terp sauces, they truly go the extra mile in everything they do. From the phenotype selection to cultivation to processing their material, everything is handled in-house. Like many of the state’s highly regarded extract craftsmen, Royal Key is a truly full soil to oil operation.
When we caught up with Josh of Royal Key at the cup, we mentioned to him 2017 felt like a year a lot of the big dawgs kept their seat at the table. But still, their dramatic rise was quite noticeable, arguably the most noticeable of any new high-end extractor.
“It’s a bit of a blur,” Josh said. “I don’t really feel like we took anything. We came in, we’ve been growing for 20 years, and we ended up running some live resin that caught fire.”
And to say all this happened quickly would be an understatement. That first batch of live resin was produced only a year and three months ago. With the obvious quick turn around on their new popularity, we asked Josh if everything was basically dialed in, such as the packaging and branding, right off the bat.
“I guess we’ve been dialing things in ever since,” he said. “To address the packaging, we first came out and were only running trim run. As we wanted to brand more we decided we had to start running the whole flower. Once we did that and immediately came up with a product that by itself was turning into sauce we knew we needed a jar.”
After the switch to jars, Josh’s wife designed the now renowned label that’s basically turned into a blue and gold stamp of quality for many. We told Josh the jars are traded like wook gold these days and asked what it’s been like watching the mystique build.
“It’s shocking actually, I don’t it’s really set in yet,” Josh said. “We haven’t really worn or owned that. I don’t think it’s sunk in really, the industry is moving so fast I don’t think we’ve ever really felt settled. We’re looking on to the next couple months and years.”
In Josh’s opinion that time frame for Royal Key hard to nail down. Like many, they’re attempting to cross all Ts and dot the Is when it comes to the new measures they need to comply with for the massive California adult-use market.
“We’re going into a time period right now where we just shut down and we’re just jumping through the hoops. When they tell us we can grow we’ll grow and then we can run things.”
The process of getting to the sauce that fills the jars is as hands-on as you’d expect. Coming from the cultivation background got the ball rolling and with it, they brought the mentality that they’d only be as strong as their weakest link and became control freaks.
“If we grow it we know what’s in it,” Josh said. “We know that everything comes from the flower. So if the flower in the pinnacle, the best, then you’re going to have the best material. We just couldn’t see ourselves putting our name on something we didn’t have full control over. It wouldn’t really seem like a real brand to us any other way. Just for our brand, I’m not talking about anyone else in particular, I’m just saying for us.”
With the control, comes the hard decisions, but also sole responsibility for the results.
Nineteen phenotypes made it through the selection process this year for Royal Key, each essentially a one of one limited batch. According to Josh, it’s part of the fun.
“You find something you love and there is probably not much of it,” he said.
Josh also enjoys watching people come to the booth at shows looking for specific flavors. Some of the big standouts for the 2017 line included the flagship Creme Brulee and Forbidden Fruit. Both will be part of the first wave of new offerings when the time comes in 2018.
“Most of the phenos we just found we ran two to three times to make sure we really like it. That said, I like all of them. But Ocean Orange stands out, it’s really special. The Hammerhead is nice. But at the top of that triangle, it’s the Z Royal, it really stands out. It’s the Magnum Opus crossed back with the Zkittlez,” Josh said about the lineup. “It’s tough. It changes with my mood.”
The batch of Royal Key we sampled lived up to the hype completely. It included the aforementioned Hammerhead and Ocean Orange. The Ocean Orange blew us away with its tropical terps. And it’s not just the flavor but the depth of it, it feels like you have taste buds in your sinuses. I would say the way the flavor hits you almost makes it a pinch less smooth than other blander extracts. Not that it isn’t smooth, but kind of in the same way water would be considered smoother than Jack Daniels.
While not for every tax bracket, if you can get your hands on a jar of Royal Key we highly recommend it.
TELL US, what is your new favorite flavor?