Tangerine Dream & Chocolope
Homesick nostalgia and white collar weed.
Seeing as how this is the first of these review articles I've written, it would be a safe bet to say that this might be your first to read. If you'd like to know more about me or why my opinion should be taken as having any sort of authority, you can check out this article here. If you would rather just take what I'm saying at face value, that's fine as well.
As far as the metrics I've decided to use when it comes to reviewing cannabis in its purest form, there are plenty that will be taken into consideration every single time, though they won't always carry the same weight depending on the product in question. Primarily, I'll be looking at the most obvious features, such as the smell, taste, consistency, and the psychoactive effects, but that doesn't mean factors such as price (in CAD unless otherwise noted) and packaging will go without note. Also, because of my own very limited photography skills, I'll be pulling images for each strain from various reputable online suppliers in Canada. While producers choosing the best specimens to be professionally photographed for their products are absolutely understandable, I will be placing an emphasis on how realistic those photos are compared to what ends up in my hands as a consumer. With all that said, let's just move onto the weed, yeah?
When I first moved to Montreal from Houston, I didn't really know what to expect when it came to cannabis. It had only recently been legalized for recreational use, though certainly there were plenty of producers more than prepared for the day they could take their good to market, and the work they had put in beforehand became quickly apparent. Within weeks of arriving in Quebec, I had already found two of my absolute favorite strains, both of which seemed perfect to start off this series of articles.
Tangerine Dream - San Rafael '71
San Rafael '71 produces some top notch cannabis, and I'd love to get around to talking about them as a brand at some point. For now, I'd like to focus on this one particular strain and everything that it has done for me since I've moved away from the States. This Tangerine Dream smells like exactly what the name would imply. More than that, it smells exactly the same as the tangerine tree in my mother's front yard. That tree was more than something that provided us with fresh, beautiful fruit every year, it was a point of pride. Unfortunately, the recent freeze in that swept Texas has left the tree all but gone, with little hope of recovering. Still, the scent of this strain brings my soul no small amount of relief and nostalgia. The smoke isn't bad, either.
The name might be Tangerine Dream, but the flavor is blatantly grapefruit. I cannot emphasize enough how much this strain smells like its namesake and tastes like you are smoking a fresh grapefruit. It's honestly a bit overpowering, with the floral notes of the smoke quickly giving way to subtly harsh notes. But, this is the bane of a strain that is so incredible fragrant, and it's hardly a detractor at the end of the day.
The high is fairly mellow, never snowballing into a manic or couch-locked state in my personal experience. San Rafael '71's own description of the bud reading "This mid-potency THC sativa, typically derived from G13 and Neville’s A5 Haze, is down for whatever the day brings on," is in no way misleading. The description of the bud's appearance as "striking and unmistakeable" is also spot on, considering it looks just the same in person as it does in the photo provided at the top of the this entry. As such, the fact that it won an award as 2019's best sativa at the Canadian Cannabis Awards isn't any surprise at all. At just over $8 per gram, Tangerine Dream is far from the cheapest weed available, though it maintains its affordability rather than going all in on the ludicrously expensive, designer bud market that it could easily find a home in.
Chocolope - Aurora
Aurora is a massive company, which gives consumers both the expectation that their products will be the absolute highest quality and the expectation that they will occasionally suffer from the problems that eventually plague all mass production efforts. Their strain of Chocolope, for example, seems to hold up both of these expectations as true. It's fine weed. It's more than fine, actually. In all honesty, it's one of the few strains I genuinely try to have on hand at all times, as the high is so lucid that it's almost impossible to not spend the day smoking Chocolope and doing chores around the house. It just makes me want to be productive, which is honestly one of the best feelings there is when it's accompanied by a general sense of calm and comfort. And, it's less than $8 per gram, which is more than fair. Unfortunately, all of these praises don't make up for its shortcomings in other areas.
Aurora's Chocolope doesn't carry any particularly pungent nor distinct aroma, instead just filling the room with a sort of generic weed smell when the plastic jar is opened. The taste is much the same, with what would otherwise be pleasant lemon and pepper notes being overshadowed by, again, a sort of generic weed flavor. In the two years I've been smoking this strain by this brand, there hasn't been a noticeable drop in quality, though I don't know that I've ever seen an eighth that looks anything like the promo photos that are found online. This doesn't make Chocolope bad by any means, but it does make it a bit of a begrudging choice when the day's plans don't line up with smoking anything more potent or less productive early on in the afternoon.
Hopefully, at least some of you found all of that to be helpful in some way. I don't know how often these articles will be coming out, though I'd like to think there will be at least one every couple of weeks if not more often than that. The lack of access to edibles in Quebec, as well as my inability to confidently travel across the border because of the pandemic means that most of these reviews will be focused solely around bud for the time being. In the future, I would like to see that expand to spotlighting other cannabis products, specific brands, and even what's available elsewhere in North America. If you have any suggestions, feel free to follow the links below and contact me on any of the associated pages.
John Dodge can be found writing primarily about comic books for CBR.com at the link right here. He's also on Twitter here and here, on Facebook here, and in your heart if you just close your eyes and listen for a spell.