High Country: Behind the design of Dalwhinnie Farms, downtown’s newest (and fanciest) dispensary
Only in Aspen can you shop for a Rolex, candles and cashmere with your cannabis
In rural Ridgway, Colorado, what was once a dressage riding arena on a 230-acre equestrian ranch transformed into a 30,000-square-foot indoor cannabis cultivation in 2019. Two years later and a few hours north, Dalwhinnie Farms debuted a retail extension — a fancy, flagship boutique in the downtown core.
Dalwhinnie Farms is deliberately extravagant. It’s why the family-owned company chose Aspen over nearby Telluride.
“Our roots are very much in Colorado, and few towns are more Colorado than Aspen. You can be luxe without being snooty, and that’s part of the ethos that inspires the Dalwhinnie Farms brand,” shared Dalwhinnie Farms CEO Terrence Mendez. “We grow and sell premiere flower, absolutely, but we also have a lot of fun while doing so. We also felt that Aspen needed a cannabis boutique that fit alongside iconic businesses like the Hotel Jerome, St. Regis or The Little Nell. We designed the store to be unlike any other cannabis dispensary on Earth.”
But it was a long road (pun very intended) to get here. The pandemic and construction delays (working closely with the city’s Historic Preservation Commission) pushed the grand opening from spring to fall last year, with its doors originally opening in September. Before that, the Dalwhinnie name made headlines for a Clean Colorado roadway sponsorship. What was intended to be a generous community-building gesture resulted in an attempt to censor cannabis with an official complaint from Pitkin County sent to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). The signs are legal and remain in place on its designated stretch of Highway 82.
As the eighth (yes, eighth) cannabis dispensary in town, Dalwhinnie Farms stands apart from mostly basement-dwelling, green cross-stamped competitors with a grand, ground-level storefront. Inside, a team of “Cannasseurs” (a welcome departure from “budtenders”) guides guests through “connoisseur-grade cannabis” of its own and other products from leading Colorado brands like Coda Signature, Binske, 1906 and Ripple by Stillwater Brands. Concentrates and wax come from its Shift Genuine Cannabis line, which Dalwhinnie Farms acquired in 2020 and processes at an extraction lab in Denver.
But it’s everything else they’re stocking that’s making a statement. Think: Jacquie Aiche’s beloved Sweet Leaf line (custom vintage Rolexes included), Rogue Paq carrying cases, Pasotti umbrellas, Badash crystal ashtrays, home goods from Jonathan Adler and handmade pipes and bongs by Summerland and Stonedware. Dalwhinnie Farms-branded cashmere blankets, candles, apparel, accouterments and equestrian-style leather goods are also on hand.
“We’ve curated a selection of designer apparel, jewelry and home goods in addition to top-of-the-line cannabis showpiece accessories from all over the world—with the traveler, entertainer and aesthete in mind,” explained Dalwhinnie Farms CRO Ashley Grace, who was a founding marketing executive with Charlotte’s Web. “This building dates back to 1890 and housed general stores, coffee shops, beauty parlors and diners throughout the ages, so it was inspiring to create a space to also sell Dalwhinnie Farms dry goods and sundries to continue that heritage.”
Katie Shapiro can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.
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It was inevitable, right? Wine in space.