At three Swami Select Salons, Nikki Lastreto and Swami Chaitanya shared nine different strains with an elated crowd of Bay Area cannabis enthusiasts.
Nikki and Swami grow these potent and flavorful flowers organically under the Mendocino County sun. (They like to point out that their cannabis is not only grown by the sun, but also grown by the moon and stars.)
It is an extraordinary privilege to sample so many species from a single garden, in the company of the breeders. The flowers themselves are beginning to reflect the personality of the farmers, who select and cultivate varieties that complement their astute groovy vibes.
Blue dream pink pineapple
Flavour: These flowers give off the sweet berry and floral scent typical of Blue Dream, but the aroma is also full of cedar and pine, with hints of lemon juice, chamomile and marshmallow.
Taste: Overtones of shredded wheat, honeysuckle and cocoa fade into sweet sawdust tinged with sharp lemon zest, and heavy floral notes continue to a lightly browned banana-coconut finish.
Effect: The clear and floating high is, again, quite similar to the classic Blue Dream. Disarmingly light and clear, it settles gently into a spacious cerebral stone that feels carefree, creative and perfectly smooth. It is physically soothing and sensually relaxing, not stimulating or calming, and quite functional but very chill.
Flavour: A floral sweetness reminiscent of rosehip tea mingles with greasy chips, moist mossy soil, a hint of spice and cedarwood, and a hint of mint.
Taste: Sweet powdery perfumed rose tallow carries from start to finish, along with inviting earthy peat and savory tempura, traces of kerosene, peppermint and oak, and a wasabi kick on the exhale.
Effect: A sudden, stony silence numbs the body, relaxing the muscles to a comfortable near-paralysis, while slowly stirring the mind and offering contemplative inspiration. It is deeply grounding, evokes a tingling sensation of auratic awareness and washes away worries before falling into a dizzying trance.
Flavour: Pineapple, dried apricot and geranium mingle into a honeyed fruit punch, garnished with a sprig of rosemary.
Taste: Creamy pineapple with undertones of toasted brown rice, tempered with lemon zest and rosemary and dusted with cocoa powder, transitions into a cocktail of juicy pineapple, smoky whiskey and bitters, with a hint of lemon.
Effect: This happy, undemanding high introduces an optimistic sense of lovable goodness, encouraging muffled smiles and deep cleansing exhalations. Meanwhile, the intellectual capacity slips inconspicuously, replaced by a fluttering buzz of absent-minded innocence.
Flavour: A mildly sweet scent of lemon butter mingles with pungent diesel fuel, accompanied by soft cedar and peppery ground that lingers on the nose.
Taste: A bittersweet blend of earth, woods and citrus evokes a lemon grove, and the chalky smoke leaves a slight peppery bite in the throat.
Effect: Body and mind become loose and lethargic as a warm, fuzzy feeling enters and dissolves pain, tension, stress and anxiety. Conversations flow freely at first, until dreamy inattention takes over. As time goes by, a creeping heaviness leads to a desire for a nap, or at least a quiet time to veg on the couch.
Photos by Caitlin Podiak and Erica Edwards