In The Magazine
Strain Review: Purple Punch Swings for the Fences
The breeder behind the second generation of Purple Punch shares how he obtained a cut of the original strain, struggled to get dispensaries interested and then watched the purple hype dominate the nation.
The phenomenon of Purple Punch has taken the world of cannabis, filled with knockoff Girl Scout Cookies and OG Kush phenotypes, and turned it upside down. We got the chance to sit down with one of the strain’s breeders, known as “The Village,” who helped make purple great again.
The now-legendary Larry OG x Grandaddy Purple cross was originally bred by Supernova Gardens, but the breeder behind The Village was the first cultivator to take the strain to the full-scale production levels that really brought it into the mainstream.
“I kind of knew about Purple Punch before I got it, but I didn’t know too much about it. I hadn’t seen many examples,” he said.
The Village first got his hands on a cut of Purple Punch through his friend known as “Budologist.” At the time, Budologist had already gifted him a variety of strains, including Pennywise and others he had acquired throughout the years, and the two were already working on an extraction project together. When Supernova traveled south to California in search of the state’s elite genetics in 2013, he gifted Budologist — and one other person — a cut of his Purple Punch.
“Budologist stopped doing his indoor and told me, ‘Man, I want to give you the Purple Punch, but I got to make sure it’s OK with Supernova because he was adamant about not giving it out,’” The Village said, remembering his first chat about the possibility of getting his hands on the punch.
Budologist pitched Supernova on the handoff, who in turn gave The Village his stamp of approval. With Supernova’s blessing, the cut was now in The Village’s hands.
“I remember four weeks into flower I realized, ‘This does smell like blue Powerade,’” said The Village, speaking about the first batch of Purple Punch he grew. Even though he only ran a couple plants in the test batch, he quickly realized he was working with something special. So he started growing lots of it.
The first couple times he brought his Purple Punch to the Oakland, California-based dispensary Harborside, the initial infrared tests on their QuantaCann machine came back a middling 12 percent THC and one of the world’s biggest pot dispensaries said they weren’t interested.
“It kind of caught me off guard,” The Village said. “I thought, ‘Oh man, I have this growing in every room and the top dispensary in California, if not the world, doesn’t even want it.’”
Then, he got that same batch tested at Steep Hill, a cannabis testing laboratory in Berkeley, California, and it ended up testing at 18 percent THC.
“I’m not a fan of testing in general,” The Village said with a laugh. “I love the pesticide aspect, but the whole [THC and terpenes tests] are a bit off. I remember testing my most fragrant Jackpot, one of the loudest strains I was growing back then, and it was the lowest testing terpene profile I had. It was obviously wrong. They were missing terpenes or not testing for the right terpenes in cannabis.”
Regardless of test results, The Village’s hunch about the popularity of Purple Punch came true when the masses got their first taste of the strain at full-scale production levels and they couldn’t get enough of it. Because only a small number of cultivators had the strain, and none of them were growing it full-scale, Purple Punch began to become associated with The Village.
Then things got a little weird. Despite the work that The Village and Budologist put in to protect the strain, somehow, Purple Punch was slowly getting out into other cultivators’ gardens.
When the Jungle Boys got the cut, it was a historic moment for California’s two biggest markets. Purple Punch made its way to Los Angeles, where it’s now just as popular as it was everywhere else, and the Jungle Boys’ Wedding Cake cut made its way north. Then, The Village gave the Wedding Cake cut to the Alien Labs cultivators, who stormed into the San Francisco Bay Area with it and took a Cannabis Cup home in the process.
Once Purple Punch found its way out into the growing scene, despite the best effort on their part, The Village and Budologist wanted to move forward the best way they knew how — and the result was the formation of the arguably fastest-growing seed company in history.
Here’s what happened: Budologist had some seeds from the original batch of Purple Punch. He and The Village reached out to Supernova and got his permission to hunt down a male. That male would be used to dust the best clone-only phenotype of Purple Punch. From those seeds, another male would be found possessing the most similar traits possible to the original. Supernova was down for the plan.
That project was two years in the making. On April 20, 2017, Budologist and The Village’s new seed company collaboration, Symbiotic Genetics, released the first batch of second generation, F2, Purple Punch seeds to the world in two California locations. Eight months later, major cannabis publications named Purple Punch their strain of the year.
“I didn’t expect Symbiotic Genetics to be this big,” said The Village. “I can honestly say Symbiotic is bigger than The Village and I just see that with the demand for seeds over flower. At the end of the day, seeds bring a bigger crowd because people all over the world want them, while with flowers, it’s kind of a ‘you have to be there’ thing.”
We asked The Village for his essential tips for all the new Purple Punch cultivators out there.
“Honestly, she’s pretty vigorous,” he said. “She doesn’t get powdery mildew very easily, she’s not too dense. Basically, she’s a badass plant. It’s not like she stretches a lot, and it’s not like she needs less food. I don’t treat her any different.”
Purple Punch Strain Statistics
Lineage: Larry OG X Granddaddy Purple
Flowering Time: 63 days
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE