High Country: The top 10 cannabis strains of 2018 | AspenTimes.com

High Country: The top 10 cannabis strains of 2018

As determined by Smokey Town, the Roaring Fork Valley's new resource for expert reviews

Durban Poison
[caption id="attachment_291377" align="alignnone" width="325"] Courtesy of Cannabolish[/caption]

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While the mega-marijuana websites of the world like Leafly and Weedmaps serve as go-to resources for finding strain and dispensary reviews, it’s more often than not a challenge to find the exact information you’re seeking.

Enter Smokey Town — a Basalt-based startup that provides an in-depth database of every strain found on shelf at dispensaries from Aspen to Glenwood Springs.

Launched earlier this year, Smokey Town has a soon-to-be husband-and-wife duo at the helm who have nearly five years under their belts working in Colorado’s cannabis industry. It’s a passion project for them outside their day jobs as accountants, which is why they asked to be anonymous for their debut in print — a sobering reminder of the stigma that still surrounds those of us working in the cannabis industry.

“Our goal is to elevate the product away from its illicit reputation and toward a more epicurean philosophy,” says Smokey Town. “We consider ourselves connoisseurs of the plant, so we wanted to do something that concentrated solely on the flower — that’s where all of the character and the history of this movement lies.”

Working with a team of five partners, expert judges, the Smokey Town team scours every dispensary up and down the valley to compile detailed information. There are currently more than 100 strain reviews available and subscribers of the Smokey Town e-newsletter also receive an update in their inbox as soon as a new strain is added to the database.

Partly inspired by a scene in “Sideways,” Smokey Town adds, “How wine is enjoyed while talking about the grapes, the soil and the weather is similar in marijuana, but even more so. It comes down to the beauty of how and where it’s grown. Like with wine reviews, we hope to simplify the process for consumers to find the best batch of the moment while educating them about the quality, selection, potency and effect.”

As we wind down 2018, I asked the experts themselves for their top 10 rankings of the best strains they smoked this year — complete with pairings for music, drinks, food and activities.

1. Super Lemon Haze

Sativa Hybrid

“If you’re not sure what to get, buying the best is always a safe bet. This winning super-strain is a one-size-fits-all — containing a broad spectrum of cannabinoids. A sativa-dominant hybrid of Lemon Skunk and Super Silver Haze, this ultra-fragrant bud induces euphoria, energy and relaxation. Topping in at 25 percent THC, this one is strong. Even frequent smokers will only need a few puffs. But its sativa genetics make it an excellent choice for daytime activities.”

Music: Psychedelic rock

Drink: Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin & Tonic

Food: Spicy calamari

Setting: Social

Activity: Telemark skiing

Time of day: All day

Shop: The Green Joint, 720 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-6468, thegreenjoint.com

2. Durban Poison


“Many people associate marijuana with the stoney demeanor of a Tommy Chong. But that is only because they have never had Durban Poison. The name derives from the port city of Durban in South Africa. It could just as easily be called ‘Morning Glory,’ because it is like the first cup of coffee. Some even call it the ‘espresso’ of marijuana. An herbal ADD remedy, this one attracts strong followers and is one of the more consistent strains out there.”

Music: 1940’s big band

Drink: Kona coffee

Food: Egg white frittata

Setting: Social, active

Activity: Reading the paper

Time of day: Morning

Shop: Silverpeak, 520 E. Cooper Ave., 970-925-4372, silverpeakcannabis.com

3. Macadonian Haze


“When Alexander the Great was born, his home country of Macedonia was a backwater. He would build it into the largest and most expansive empire the world has ever seen and named 70 cities after himself. If you’re curious where he would get such boundless energy to complete his conquests, look no further than Macedonian Haze. This one hums along like an upbeat ’80s movie, not a trudging Colin Farrell piece.”

Music: Electronic

Drink: Tequila

Food: A wrap

Setting: Active

Activity: Hiking

Time of day: All day

Shop: Roots Rx, 400 E. Hyman Ave., 970-900-9333, rootsrxstores.com

4. Aspen OG

Indica Hybrid

“How could we leave off a strain with Aspen in the name? According to the breeder, this Sour Cream and SFV OG cross ‘is sweet like Aspen in the summer and coated white like Aspen in the winter.’ This one is great after a hard day skiing. It should help your muscles relax, eliminate the need for Tylenol and maybe leave you a little munchy. However, it is not recommended right before bed.”

Music: Classic rock

Drink: Czech pilsner

Food: Chili

Setting: Active, intimate

Activity: Skiing and snowboarding

Time of day: All day

Shop: Best Day Ever, 520 E. Cooper Ave., 970-429-8637, bestdayevercannabis.com

5. Citral Skunk


“When trying to select from a shelf full of strains, the best advice you can get is ‘follow your nose.’ This strain, along with other citrus variants, are worth trying just for the smell and taste. A category of molecule called terpenes ­— sometimes used as artificial flavorings — make these strains really fun.”

Music: ’90s rock

Drink: Cabernet sauvignon

Food: Steak

Setting: Intimate

Activity: Sunset

Time of Day: Night

Shop: Euflora, 710 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-6468, eufloracolorado.com

6. Red Headed Stranger


“Named after Willie Nelson’s 1975 album of the same name, Red Headed Stranger beckons euphoria and relaxation. But don’t let the name fool you. She is not a mellow lid from the ’70s, but a wonder of modern genetics. This one can put a little distance between the world and you. Just space out and relax.”

Music: Bluegrass

Drink: White wine

Food: Pork tenderloin

Setting: Social, intimate

Activity: Museum

Time of day: All day, all night

Shop: Green Dragon

7. White Urkel


“Purple Urkel, a short, dark plant named for the awkward overachiever of 1990s’ TV, is exactly that. Known for its intense body high, this is a good strain for bedtime or insomnia. Ditch the Ambien for an herbal remedy.”

Music: Blues

Drink: Scotch

Food: Anything fried

Setting: Intimate

Activity: Watch a movie

Time of day: Night

Shop: Native Roots, 308 S. Hunter St., 970-429-4443, nativerootsdispensary.com

8. Racefuel OG


“If Durban is too clear for you, this Diesel and OG hybrid will give you a balance of energy and calm. This strain is not overly potent, so if remaining ‘functional’ is as important as the high, this one is a great choice.”

Music: Indie rock

Drink: IPA

Food: Pizza

Setting: Social, active

Activity: Mountain biking

Time of day: Morning, all day

Shop: Roots Rx, 400 E. Hyman Ave., 970-900-9333, rootsrxstores.com

9. Bruce Banner


“Looking for something that can chill the Incredible Hulk? This strain is great for relaxation without putting you to sleep. It is important to differentiate between pain and stress. There are other strains that deal with physical ailments better, but if you are targeting stress, Bruce Banner is a go-to.”

Music: Folk

Drink: Chardonnay

Food: Mediterranean

Setting: Social, intimate

Activity: Organization

Time of day: All day

Shop: The Green Joint, 720 E. Durant Ave., 970-925-6468, thegreenjoint.com

10. Bio-Diesel


“An old favorite, this strain won Colorado’s 2009 Cannabis Cup. The genetics are complicated and confusing, but the effects are very strong. Some people report ‘vibrations.’ This strain will target both the body and the mind.”

Music: Hip hop

Drink: Moscow mule

Food: Key lime tart

Setting: Social, active

Activity: Hot yoga

Time of day: Morning, all day

Shop: Silverpeak, 520 E. Cooper Ave., 970-925-4372, silverpeakcannabis.com

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter @kshapiromedia.

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