Unless you work for Xcel or one of the handful of other industrial businesses along the railroad tracks in the area, you probably haven't ever set foot in the corner of Denver that L'Eagle Services calls home -- though you've driven past it thousands of times on I-25. The shop's warehouse-front location stands out for it's surroundings not because of the industrially artistic orange corrugated tin siding, but due to the immaculate flower garden out front. First thought: The petunias and sage look good enough to smoke.
380 Quivas St. Denver, CO 80223 (303) 825-0497 LeagleDenver.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday by appointment only. Raw marijuana price range: $30-$35/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Member discounts. Other types of medicine:High-grade icewater hash, minimal edibles. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
Walk inside and up a small flight of stairs and you're at the waiting room/check-in area. Purple paint on the walls and high ceilings give a dark, royal feel to the room. My budtender appeared behind the glass after I buzzed myself in. He took my ID and red card and ran off with it for a minute while I sat on the black leather couch and read through a few pot ads in a Rooster magazine before the guy let me through the security door to the dispensary itself.
More of the purple walls inside, and though there's a few closeup photos of buds on view, the focus for me was the wall underneath a row of windows, where bud test results are displayed for patients to view. Every strain has it's own clipboard with information on the THC, THC-V, CBD and other cannabinoids. While the testing is done by in-house scientists, the levels didn't look over-inflated. The highest THC content came in around 25 percent, for the Bruce Banner.
My budtender was a mellow, laid-back dude who looked like he played cornerback at a Midwestern agricultural college -- and his eyes suggested that he'd recently puffed a few bowls of what L'Eagle is selling. It was my first time in, so he gave me the two-minute tour, explaining about the featured herb as well as all of the test results. The bud bar is to the left of the herb information, with a rough-cut chunk of wood that juts out from the wall serving as the bar itself. Underneath is a glass cabinet filled with jars of herb and trays of hash. My budtender said L'Eagle has about sixty strains on rotation at any given time, but the shop tries to stock up on favorites for patients to check out.
The grower, according to my budtender, doesn't even smoke cannabis. That doesn't mean he's incapable, though. In fact, he has a master's degree in horticulture and worked for the last decade or so in Texas produce. My budtender tells me he wears cowboy boots, starched jeans, a rodeo belt and a Stetson hat to work and stands out like a soar thumb compared to the rest of the bro-brah/hairy hippie-heavy industry. That is, until you see the buds the guy is organically producing.
"Chunky" is the best way to describe them. "Plump" would be too genteel for everything on display, from the enormous buds of crystal-coated Sour Diesel to the ripe strawberry-sized Blue God Bud flowers and tangy Super Lemon Haze. I also really dug the house skunk blend, Leagle, with its sweet sage smell out of the bag. My budtender said it's a house-cleaner, too, providing a burst of high-potency energy after the first bowl. The Mob Boss was also intriguing. Very well grown (like everything else), but with a crazy baked sweet smell not unlike cheap, off-brand gas station vanilla cookies. Still, not all of the strains were stinkers. The Sour D and the Chemdawg, for example, didn't have the nose-tickling tartness I want to smell out of the jar. Nevertheless, the presentation and size of most samples was impressive.
The Bruce Banner had a cool, oak richness to the smell not unlike a lightly aged rum, and broken up, it smelled like rain-wet dirt and PineSol floor cleaner. The flavor wasn't over-the-top potent and you'd likely miss it if your pipe is dirty -- but through a clean bubbler and dry piece, it had a classically skunky cannabis flavor with hints of the same earthy, organic soil it grew in. Like everything else I brought home, it kicked like a mule in the cerebellum, which I would expect with a 24 percent THC test. For being the sativa pick of the shop, though, it wasn't a speedy and skyrocketing strain. More of a psychedelic, mood-enhancing, care-fading puff of fresh vapor.
Fortunately, the Hash Plant, which allegedly comes by way of Austin, Texas (where it's gained quite a reputation), hit the mark in terms of potency and bag appeal with an awesome Tangerine Haze-like fruitiness immediately hitting your nose out of the jar. The flavor wasn't as pronounced, but it still came through well in a vaporizer and clean bubbler. This is naptime ganja; there's really no other way of putting it. It soars you high and pain-free into the stratosphere for about 45 minutes before slamming you down, face-first, into a pillow. Aches, pains, headaches, nagging in-grown hairs, deadlines: They all drifted off along with my consciousness. In smaller doses, it had valium-like sedative properties.
After I had made my pot picks, one of the owners came out to chat and talk up the L'Eagle hash. He was pretty cocky about it, bragging that it's the best in Colorado, California and Oregon combined. I wouldn't go that far, but it was some supremely well-done icewater extraction.
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The owner said staffers dry the icewater-extracted hash for twelve weeks and cure for another month or so before it hits the shelves. I don't know if I fully buy that, but whatever they are doing, they are doing right. This is full-melt, clear-dome icewater hash the way it should be. He also pointed out that it's the same quality as other "solventless" products without the pilled-up chunks achieved through micro-planing or pushing hash through a colander. I thought it resembled a wedge of cheese-like BHO, but without the chemically wax smell. It burned amazingly in a bowl, forming large bubbles of oil and hash as it cooked down, and also melted well on a hot titanium nail, making it the first dab-able hash I've found at dispensaries in months. The $50 price tag, on the other hand, wasn't the best value I've seen. Dropping the top tier down to $40 a gram and lower-level hash to $30 a gram would be more reasonable, especially considering the long, drawn-out process.
Pricing on the herb seems fair, however. Highest-priced eighths I saw for nonmembers was $35 and members get bags at $20 an eighth and $40 a quarter according to my budtender. I walked out with a half gram and an eighth for under $50 for being a first-time patient, and my budtender threw in a few samples of other strains on hand behind the checkout counter, including a potent (but flavorless) Death Star. My overall impression was definitely confirmed: L'Eagle is a shop worth checking out.