As promised in the last posting we are taking a break from traveling in the past and arriving in the present to review two distinctly different strains of hashish. Stephen from Green Barn Farms asked me to try a few of their varieties and compare them to the Old World hashish that I tried while traveling to the hash producing countries in the 1970's. Although this might sound like a fun task to undertake, I have taken my assignment seriously and will do my utmost to do a thorough job.
One of the best things to come out of the legalization of cannabis is that a wide variety of hashish is now available to the connoisseur. In my experience it seemed like the presence of hash in the black market was pretty limited or of very poor quality since the '70's. I thought that more might be showing up after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, but in my limited exposure to the black market it never materialized.
Now we have many concentrates to choose from with traditional style of hashish being on the low end of the THC scale at somewhere between 25 to 35% THC. Other than hand rubbed hashish, the dry sieve process is the standard mode of production used worldwide when we talk about traditional methods. This is how they produce their hash at Green Barn Farms and sell it as Moroccan style as opposed to being made using a solvent, whether it be ice water or butane. In the dry sieve process the cannabis is very dry and cold while being lightly beaten or shaken through a fine fabric.
Let's get down to business now and start with Green Barn Farms' Purple Diesel hashish. I knew that I would need help with this endeavor so I enlisted the help of my assistant K.C., to keep things in perspective I figured that two heads are always better than one. We decided on a few criteria of description before we would take the first puff. They included:
Visual: the look was a shiny dark brown on the exterior with a slightly lighter, grainy texture on the inside.
Tactile: hard, only about 1/4 inch thick, lacking pliability, taking some effort to cut with a knife.
Olfactory: smells of chocolate and dried sweet basil, with a touch of lemon zest. Classic Indica smell, complex array of terpenes.
Before going into the bowl of the water pipe, I put a small amount on a needle and heated it to help it break up more easily in the bowl and burn more evenly. At this point the hash gave off a clean light bluish grey smoke as the volatile oils ignited.
Now onto the real test and the most difficult part of the evening. Describing effects in a way the reader can use in making a choice while we are being taken away by the same effects that we are attempting to describe. Not as easy as it sounds.
The first description once the match was put to the bowl was the Smoking Pallette: A very smooth hit with an almost immediate anesthetic effect on the back of the throat, slight barnyard finish combined with a smooth pleasant pipe tobacco.
Effects: begins by the exhale of the first hit, feeling of levity and in no uncertain terms you are being taken away on a soft cloud like journey.
35 minutes in: above the clouds, finding a comfortable cruising speed, nestling in for the ride while being able to carry on some philosophical conversation but at the same time seeing the absurdity in even talking.
80 minute reality check: leveling off to functioning mode and warm state of mind. Taking note of surroundings, sitting by the fire both figuratively and metaphorically. Time for a plate of the best tasting flan ever experienced following that with a little high quality dark chocolate. About 25 minute after that break feeling a smooth come down and landing.
Complexity: 7 on a scale of 10. This rating is an attempt at giving you an idea of what to look for in the experience of this hashish. The flavors and aromas were present as laid out under the categories above. The high had aspects that changed in very obvious ways as time passed and was overall, very pleasant and lead to a gentle come down and a good nights sleep.
Overview: This cross of Grandaddy Purple and New York Diesel delivered a great representation of a classic Indica hash variety. It was sifted through a 220 micron screen which seems a bit course by most standards. This is not bubble hash but a traditional style that still has some traces of vegetal matter in it which I think made for a longer smoother smoke after the initial hit. It stayed lit and smoldered nicely allowing for leisurely tokes all through the session.
Very reminiscent of mechanically pressed hashish found from Afghanistan and eastward in the 1970's. In those regions the best hash was always kneaded by hand and pressed into saucer shaped patties that weighed what I would estimate to be somewhere around 100 grams. These formidable discs would fit nicely in the palm of the hand and were a little over an inch thick. This made for a nice pliable piece that could be easily broken by hand or rolled into small balls to go into a chillom and smoked by a large group of people.
In today's market, compromises must be made in what conforms to point of sales reality, thus the usual thin chunks sold in retail outlets. This makes for a less pliable substance but still a very good and potent product. I would say that side by side in a blind tasting it would be very difficult to say that one was superior to the other. Of course, this is always going to be a subjective judgement but unless you travel to the old world sources, or at least Amsterdam, this is as authentic as it gets in this country.
I intentionally waited until after smoking to look at the THC content. This Purple Diesel hash tested at 31% and from the great smells and flavors I would say that it had a good varieties of terpenes. All that has been said, this comes down to a good clean smoke that Indica hashish lovers will come back to again and again.