Over the past year, I've steadily increased my use of concentrates.The formats in which they're now available, and the brands that produce them, have exploded like a drunk dude open-blasting butane hash oil in his apartment. The price has also dropped, as Oregon's cannabis oversupply issue has led to increasing amounts of excess flower being processed into all forms of concentrates and edibles.
But while I’ve been finding plenty of concentrates—primarily butane-derived or made with some other kind of solvent—for as little $10 or less per gram, I haven’t been finding much in the way of consistency in their scent, taste, or effect. A lot of times there’s no information in how a particular concentrate is made, aside from the strain name, leaving me wondering if a concentrate came from flower or from trim, and how old it was when processed. (Older flower loses its terpenes and scent, and the THC converts into another compound, CBN, resulting in a flat-tasting product that usually locks you to the couch.)
So while the cost is great, the products... not so much. Getting a big amount of cheap THC is nice, but in many cases it’s outweighed by a lack of other undesirable elements. If a cannabis product can’t support my intentions, no price can make it a bargain.
I’ve been finding greater success with solvent-less concentrates, which are consistently more expensive and have also given me a greater consistency in taste and smell. This search has led me to a brand with a wide offering of solvent-less concentrates, edibles, and flower, AKA three of my favorite things. And the company’s vertical integration gives me greater transparency of what’s going into the product.
Nelson & Company Organics, headed up by Greg Levine and Mike Ciarlo, first arrived on dispensary shelves in 2013. The company offers a rotating stable of 20-plus varieties, which—as my rigorous testing of their product line in an effort to fully inform this column demonstrates—are absolute first rate. Their strains of flower (Scotts OG, Gelato 33, Stardawg, and Chemdawg among them) look and smell fantastic, and give off intense flavors in a vaporizer. For those bitching that they can’t find flower like they could during the medical cardholder days, Nelson & Company may be the answer you’re looking for.
But it’s Nelson’s single-source water hashes and rosins that have proven to be exactly what I’ve been seeking in my concentrate experience. The scent, taste, and quality of the flower they use is immediately evident, with their GG4 water hash hitting higher than 10 percent terpenes and their Stardawg coming in at more than 12 percent. And the THC percentage for both is more than 63 percent, more than enough to get me where I want to be. Their single-strain live rosin is slightly higher in both price and potency—about $10 more per gram, and their Bruce Banner #3 weighs in at more than 76 percent THC.
THC potency isn’t everything, though. I recently bought some alcohol-distillate vape-pen cartridges which hit nearly 90 percent THC, and while effective, the taste wasn’t anything I was excited about, and certainly nothing I could ascribe to a particular strain. The Nelson products were far more enjoyable—much like waterfalls, you shouldn’t go chasing THC numbers.
Nelson also produces refined edibles, including dangerously good caramels and a new line of multi-flavor vegan gummies, both containing 50 milligrams of THC from hash rosin.
The company’s philosophy is straightforward—high quality, organic ingredients, and proper dying and curing time—and is very much in line with what I consider to be the craft cannabis ethos. Levine tells me the crop they grow allows a consistent product in which the quality of the flower clearly shines through. The small-batch nature of their hash and rosin has gained it a passionate following—a following that can strip a fresh drop from dispensary shelves within days. As with any small-batch craft agricultural product, Nelson & Company Organics are well worth the effort to track down.