I used to care about waiting a few months to review a new dispensary -- but I've since changed my mind.
If a shop is going to open its doors to the general public, then it shouldn't matter when I visit. The kinks in the shop might need more time to be ironed out, but the kinks in the grow room will take months to get sorted.
Which brings us to the newly opened Reserve 1 in Glendale.
Reserve 1 Glendale MMJ
4182 E. Virginia Ave., Unit C Glendale, CO 80209 303-321-0295
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6:50 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $5.71-$8.57/gram $20-30/eighth-ounce, $120-$215/ounce. Members receive about 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: wax, tinctures, edibles, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes. Recreational sales?: Soon.
The shop is brand-spanking-new, and located in a spot that formerly saw most of its traffic from limos waiting on bachelor parties throwing away money at Shotgun Willie's, across the street. But times change, and the neighborhood with it. Even Shotgun Willie's has gone classy -- or at least as classy as it can get.
Reserve 1 has completely gutted its space and spent some considerable time and money making it clean, bright and classy -- albeit empty. It smells new inside, with fresh pastel-green paint on the walls and a new wood floor that echoes even the smallest sneaker squeak around the cavernous patient waiting room.
A woman behind the extra-thick glass at the receptionist window was waiting to take my ID and red card. She was friendly and told me the shop had only been open two weeks or so -- and added that it was going to convert to a dual-use recreational and medical facility in the next month. In the meantime, however, the shop is pretty bare-bones -- including the bud selection n the shelf. It's nice, though: The owners could easily have one upscale joint on their hands (pun clearly intended).
The equally empty bud room is split up into two areas, with birch-and-glass counters running the length of the shop front to back on either side. On the left, the counters and displays were completely empty, waiting for the recreational sales to begin. Shelves on the right were lightly filled with a few edibles, vape-pen displays, pre-rolled joints and crumbly, brown "moonrock" wax (I've given up trying to find a good batch of this). Bud was kept out in large, square plastic tubs with the tops completely off. When I walked in, the receptionist mentioned something about the buds not being cured correctly, and it was a problem they were working out. But openly drying them in the room seemed a bit drastic, and wasn't going to help them very much. Props to the staff for at least recognizing they have a problem, though.
The bud bar at Reserve 1.
Casey's Dream from Reserve 1.
Most of the dozen or so strains were bulked together in the $25/eighth price range, with ounces selling for as low as $120. That's about as much as I would pay for any of the lanky, underdeveloped and slightly burned leafy buds I picked through. Strains such as the Alien Dog and the Skunk 1 looked like they were harvested weeks earlier than they should have been, and some, like the Sensi Star, had the olfactory appeal of old hay. One of the better strains, the Ghost OG, had a pretty piney, earthy smell to it, but the buds were long, dark-red, airy things very uncharacteristic of that strain.
I opted for the only two top-level strains available, and I use "top-level" loosely. Even those two strains had some issues with being undergrown and missing the mark on aroma. The Bruce Banner -- a strain I can't seem to avoid these days -- had fragile, thin calyxes that were dried out to a crisp, and the buds sported a light dusting of silver trichomes around them. The smell wasn't quite there, either; instead of the funky, piney mentholness of Banner, this recalled the buildup of #2 pencil shavings in an old elementary-school wall-mounted sharpener.
The buds burned down with a crispness, as well, crackling through the flame and leaving a wispy and dry smoke in my lungs. They did pack a mediocre buzz, though, and I was able to find some hunger in my belly after puffing an extra-large bowl. But overall, they were what other shops have on their $25 sale shelf and probably aren't going to win you over as "top-shelf" here at Reserve 1.
Bruce Banner from Reserve 1.
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The same goes for the Casey's Dream, though it was arguably the prettier of the two batches I brought home, thanks to sharp, spear-like buds that were coated in spots with amber trichomes. But the flowers weren't exactly plump and ripe, either. Breaking up the buds in my fingertips for bowls was a painful, stem-poking experience, and the unfortunate dryness meant the bowls snapped, crackled and popped their way down. The Casey's Dream did have a more pronounced smell and flavor, however, with a light haziness on top of a mild fruit-punch taste on the first hit out of a green bowl. Still, the drying and curing was certainly an issue, and something Reserve 1 needs to get under control if it's going to try and sell this for more than any of the other buds on the shelf.
While the shop is just newly opened, the buds on sale to the general public aren't exactly what I'm looking for in quality medical pot. It might do well on the recreational market in a month, but if the crew members want to keep patients coming back, they'll have to improve by next harvest. Thankfully, they recognize that, so we'll give it a few months and see if they actually act on it.