"Marijuana reviewer": sounds like a Kush-y job, no? But it's more difficult than it sounds to survey the goods, get high, and write coherently about the experience. As in the specialized spheres of single-malt whiskey, wine, or perfume criticism, marijuana critics are tasked with communicating an ephemeral experience, breaking down the bud's flavour profile, smell, and appearance to the macro level.
Arguably the best, and best-known, cannabis critic in North America is Jake Browne of The Cannabist. What sets Browne apart is his ability to include in each review at least one unexpected, poetic turn of phrase that captures, par excellence, the olfactory and visual characteristics of whatever high-grade product he's sampling.
Here are five of Browne's more memorable bon mots.
1. Dawg's Waltz
Browne's take on this extremely pungent, indica-dominant hybrid with dense, purple-hued buds? "The beneath-the-sink chemical notes fight the vine-ripened scents well, like cleaning up after one of the Real Housewives of Anywhere."
2. Strawberry Cough
Of the potent sativa blend with mysterious genetic origins, Browne says, "There's an undeniable sweetness to the strawberry notes, less like a fresh variety you'd pick up in a forest green till at the farmer's market and more like the syrup-covered chunks you'd pour across a pound cake, replete with the creamy, soft vanilla notes that the haze genetics bring to the table. In restaurants they say you eat with your eyes; this is a strain you'll smoke with your nose."
3. Gorilla Glue
Of the potent, Cannabis Cup-winning hybrid, Browne writes, "The smell of diesel is there, but there's also enough chem in there to give it something resembling glue. What's notably absent are the chocolate notes, instead it's more of a stale coffee you'd get from a Starbucks cup discarded to a passenger-side car floor. What I keep coming back to is the body, with pointier calyxes that fail to round off like Chem Dawg or Sour Diesel. It's a Christmas tree, but stripped of the bulbous ornaments."
4. Tangerine Man
Browne's sassy take on the sativa from Leafs by Snoop: "The citrus notes weren't quite as bright, more akin to a car air freshener that is overdue for a change, but the black pepper and cane sugar became more pronounced. [...] Cracking a nug of Tangerine Man in a crowded room is like farting on a road trip: People will immediately try to suss out the source."
5. Sour Diesel
Browne offers a trippy nod to childhood playtime when describing this cross between Alien Kush and Tahoe OG: "Rubber and pepper dominate the jar like a bunch of green army men relegated to miniature mess hall duty. But maybe they lit some incense to try and create a little atmosphere."
Kudos to JB for spearheading a sophisticated shift in the way we talk about cannabis - and in 2030 or so, when America is looking to appoint its Poet Laureate of Pot, we know who's getting our nod.
banner image: facebook.com/jakebrowne