Return of the MAC
The seeds that made Miracle Alien Cookies survived a trip through the washing machine before becoming one of the most sought-after strains of their time.
Capulator is an old school grower in a sea of fresh faces. Back in the day, the elusive breeder of the MAC strain was a regular on the cultivation web forums that so many of the modern masters called home at one time or another. He is also very private. It took us a full month to track down Capulator and get the story of his amazing MAC creation. And while we weren’t able to get him on the phone, he did offer to answer questions via email.
First off, Cap dove into the genetics of MAC, which is an acronym for Miracle Alien Cookies — but he’s also heard it called “Mother of All Cookies and also Mother of All Cannabis.”
According to Cap, the mother he used was Alien Cookies F2 #7, bred by JAWS and selected by Cap. That was paired with a male whose lineage included Starfighter, bred by Alien Genetics, and a Colombian pheno Cap sourced personally while traveling in South America.
“This plant is lovingly referred to as Miracle 15 or Miracle,” he said of the father’s side of MAC’s genetics. “What happened was I made Starfighter x Colombian about eight years ago, and roughly four years ago decided to pop them. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about them in my pocket and put them through the wash. Luckily, they were saved by the love of my life and placed in a wet paper towel to germinate, which they all did. However, at about two weeks in and 2 inches tall, they all died suddenly except for number 15. Hence, ‘Miracle 15.’”
Cap said the pairing that led to MAC was inspired by the phenomenal genetics of the Alien Cookies F2 #7, which, in his opinion, is probably the most incredible flower many people will smoke in their lifetime.
“It tastes so good, packs an amazing high and the smoke on the exhale smells like nag champa,” he said of the Alien Cookies. “It lingers in a room and just smells so damn good. The problem is, it is incredibly slow growing and doesn’t stretch at all, so yields are terrible.”
When Cap found the Alien Cookies, he had already been working with the Miracle male for about a year and had run several outcrosses.
“I knew what traits the Miracle was putting out, and I knew I wanted a faster, bigger version of the Alien Cookies,” he said.
Next came the big moment when he hit the Alien Cookies with some Miracle 15 pollen and a few months later, he was popping the seeds. The cross was a home run and the MAC1 was exactly what he was looking for out of the 10 seeds that he popped.
“The Miracle male outcrosses come with better yields and growth rates,” Cap said. “The combination is really good.”
Cap knew he had everything he needed for the cross, despite having only worked with both lines of genetics for a bit. The Miracle 15 had already been in Cap’s breeder lineup for a year. He ran the Alien Cookies twice before making the decision to pollinate it.
“Pollinated at day 25, harvested at day 63, pulled the beans a month later, grew them out… that took about four months, so total time maybe six months or so,” Cap said of the full propagation effort. “January 1, 2016 is when I popped the first beans of MAC.”
After a few weeks, he knew he was on to something.
“I love hunting for that next winner, and first it was Alien Cookies, and then the MAC just blew it out of the water,” he said.
At the time, he thought the MAC was going to be his magnum opus. But not long after, the hits kept coming.
“I thought I would never find anything better, but a few months later I did end up finding the Freezer Burn, which is a MAC1 cross. Freezer Burn puts everything to shame, but sucks in the yield department also,” he said.
Cap went on to describe what the best MAC looks like to him and said when done right, MAC smells kind of like sour cherry Yoplait yogurt.
“The taste translates, and lingers,” he said. “The high is on the uplifting side for me, but of course highs are subjective. It puts me in a really good mood, allows me to be productive, talkative. I don’t lose my train of thought or get stuck when I smoke it. It doesn’t smoke quite as good as the Alien Cookies, but it makes up for it in every other category from a production perspective.”
Now, three years after it first dropped, MAC has done awesomely well. Like the Casadei Sogno Mediterraneo 2016 wine it shares a birth year with, for anyone looking for the top cannabis flavors and experiences of the moment, MAC certainly has a seat at the table in the discussion.
After crafting the strain, Cap decided to make a rule for the MAC: He would gift her to people he respected, “who had put in the time and had a passion for the plant.”
“People doing it before it was cool to show off, preferably in an environment that was not a legal one, medical or recreational. People taking big risks,” he said of his ideal MAC grower. “I knew the rule would be broken at some point. Like a game of telephone, the rule was not always passed or misinterpreted, or people I trusted got greedy… Who knows. Who gives a sh*t. The point of the rule was to keep it from becoming the next GG4 or GSC.”
Cap didn’t want MAC to get in the hands of midsy growers like some of the biggest strains of the decade, which would likely result in an oversupply and price drop. With those strains, as you moved further away from the original, genetics and breeders the quality started to wane. This hurt their legacy in the sense that C-list versions of Cookies and GG4 made it into the wild despite the original breeders’ best efforts. It just takes one bag of seed for a cut that hasn’t gone through a proper propagation process to get out there to put a breeder’s reputation on the line.
“The positive side is that the MAC did its job,” Cap said. “It propped up good friends in a crumbling market that accompanied the end of [Proposition] 215 and the beginning of the terrible Prop 64. It also revealed the true colors of a lot of people — people who are in this for the money and not for the passion. It is what it is. How can I be salty when I gave it out to begin with, and it has done so much good for so many people?”
Cap eventually gave out MAC seeds at Chalice in 2016. By the time he was done, he had a little over one pack left from the batch MAC1 came from.
“I put them on auction (the first IG auction, go figure) for an old friend who needed help,” he said. “They ended up going for $15,000, which shattered the previous record I know of.”
Cap said before that, he thinks that record was held by a Starfighter — coincidentally the grandfather of the MAC — which went for a little over $6,000 a pack back around 2011 and 2012. Cap thinks that Instagram auction was what initially put MAC on the map.
“After that, it was just a matter of time. Once you grow the real one, you will appreciate her, even if she takes a little longer in the vegetative stage,” he said.
When it comes to the new generations of MAC, Cap recommends sticking to his outcrosses.
“Support the creator if you can,” Cap said. “I personally can’t respect those who jump on a hype train [and] make F2s and S1s to sell off, while the person who made the original cross is still around working it. Seems like the old ethics we used to cherish are eroding daily in the new age of cannabis growers. Short-sighted, if you ask me. At the end of the day, all you have left is your integrity and your relationships. Those two things are the most important.”
We asked Cap: What are the most important tips for someone growing MAC? He said he doesn’t give tips, other than one tip he learned from his good friend @doubledsyields. Basically, grow any strain for a full year before you give up on it. Learn it. It will make you a better grower in the long run.
“Don’t give up on something too quickly. A lot of my best plants were not keepers until I ran them a second time around,” he said.
Cap also has some big news: He dropped a new internet forum group he is hoping to bring the OGs back to.
“Forums are so much better for learning and for synergy,” he said. “IG is good for marketing and showing off, but it is hard to reference when you are doing research. I miss the old forum days ten years ago when we had a real community, not the fake bulls*it ‘industry’ garbage that exists today.”
Cap isn’t sure if the new platform will work in the modern cannabis era, but he’s determined to try.
“I really hope to bring back that old vibe, with a lot of my old friends. I want to go back to expanding my mind, and teaching new growers a thing or two.”
Keep an eye on @capulator for more details on the forum.
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.