Secrets of the Sauce: What is Terp Sauce?

Got sauce? If you’re dabbing BHO, you’ve probably tried sauce. If you haven’t, you’re in for a unique sensory experience.


Culture is a funny thing; it can be an unyielding arbiter of cool and uncool one moment and a rapidly shifting, fluid expression of emerging ideas a moment later.

This is most easily observed by watching the choppy evolution of music and fashion, but cannabis also shares this simultaneously erratic and static rhythm — yesterday it was Do-Si-Dos and Gelato, today it’s Forbidden Fruit and Tangie. Nobody knows what tomorrow is, but every day is OG.

And so it goes with cannabis concentrates, particularly BHO, which like candy can take a multitude of different forms depending on how the base product — the combination of solvents and cannabis — is purged and processed. One day shatter doesn’t matter, then if it’s not shatter it doesn’t matter. One day it’s the dawn of a “rosin revolution,” the next day the future is crystal (distillate) clear.

So is it at all surprising that the shifting winds of dab fashion have conspired to elevate yet another incarnation of BHO to the forefront of the scene and the market?

Streets are talking, and they say the juice is temporary — but the sauce is forever. Take it or leave it, but when it comes to “terp sauce,” people are definitely juiced.

What Sauce Is Not: Nucleated Shatter

First of all, before we get into what “terp sauce” is, let’s talk about what it is not: Sauce is not nucleated shatter. Please write that down, tattoo it on the back of your hand — whatever it takes.

Nucleation is a basic chemical process; you can see it at work if you’ve got an old chocolate bar. You know the one: There’s a patina of white powder over the bar, and instead of a smooth consistency, it’s a crumbly mess. This is the result of nucleation — solid and liquid ingredients in a suspension or emulsification that have separated.

In the case of the chocolate bar, you’ve basically got some ruined candy. With BHO, a lot of dabbers feel like you have a terpier, more flavorful product. Maybe, but you shouldn’t pay extra for something Father Time will do for free if you purchase regular shatter. It never ceases to amaze (and lightweight disgust) me when a dude who was shaving $10 of the per-gram cost of shatter because it “buttered up” a year or two ago asks for an extra $15 per-gram this year because it “sugared up.”

How Sauce Is Made: What is Diamond Mining?

Most importantly, nucleated shatter simply isn’t sauce — that’s the result of fractional distillation, or as Will X of Terp Boys likes to call it, “diamond mining.”

Terp Boys, which has already made a major impact in the shatter sector of the BHO market, is just starting to branch out into this new technology after seeing demand for terp sauce increase over the last year, with a marked spike in the last six months or so.

“After the solvent runs through the machine, it’s basically just a different purge,” said Will X. “With the diamond mining, instead of putting it in the oven right away, you’re collecting it and putting it in a cool, dark place for however long — usually a couple of weeks at least.”

While the concentrates are resting, “that’s when the separation occurs and the diamonds stack,” said Will X. “Then, we pour the liquid terps off [the diamonds] after the separation has occurred, and then we purge separately.”


He stresses that the product is not just incredibly flavorful, it’s also much more potent than the most shatters, which is already very powerful — even the “terp sauce” portion of the sauce has its own substantial cannabinoid content.

“Some of our shatter tests very high in THC, but this [terp sauce] should be like 95 percent,” he said. “Even with the pour off, we’re waiting for result, but that still contains some THC in there — like 30-40 percent.”

And the result is otherworldly: My first dab of the sauce fired a spike of lightning into my synapses, shaking my senses to high alert and flooding my brain and body with endorphins as my lungs flooded with a crushing wave of tantalizing terps.

Will this just be another passing phase of dab fashion? Or is the sauce truly boss? No way to be certain, but for now, you might as well hazard a taste.

TELL US, have you tried sauce?

Greg Zeman is the Associate Editor of Cannabis Now Magazine. His previous editorial credits include Staff Writer at a national political news site (Politix), Editor-In-Chief of a bilingual San Francisco newspaper (El Tecolote) and Founding Editor of an investigative journalism non-profit (Bay News Movement). His writing has been featured in SF Weekly, SF Evergreen, 3200 Stories, Offbeat and elsewhere. He wakes up at 4:19 but doesn't leave the house until eleven past seven.

1 Comment

  1. Jason Back

    November 10, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    “that’s the result of fractional distillation”

    Butane extraction process is not fractional distillation….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *