The sun is out and the grills are firing up, but forgive me for not feeling like summer has arrived. There are still no backyard parties free of second-guessing, still no baseball, and still no Summer Olympics to give me something to watch other than baseball. If there's one thing the pandemic won't rob me of, though, it's the annual tradition of finding new strains for my ever-changing summer lineup.
A summer strain must do two of three things to stay in my rotation: It must taste like summer dessert, provide sustained focused energy, or create manageable relaxation. Those highs are mutually exclusive, but as long as a strain has me handled for one daytime or nighttime, I'm good. Apples n' Cream, a relatively young hybrid from Cannarado Genetics, seemed like a promising contender for the evening slot after I learned about the strain's genetics, a long, varied mix that includes a backcross of Grape Pie as well as Fruity Pebbles OG and classics Acapulco Gold and Highland Nepalese. It's essentially a fishbowl cocktail of modern fruity potency and an old-school kick in the ass.
Apples n' Cream's diverse background checked off at least one requirement, blending together for a zesty, candied mix of apple, cinnamon and vanilla aromas, almost like a fruitier, more tart version of apple butter. The luxury after-school special smelled like an easy first-round draft pick for my summer lineup, but trying out a new strain is like drafting a quarterback: It's a total toss-up until game time. And even though Grape Pie was already a personal favorite and Cannarado genetics have been nothing but golden in my joints, Apples n' Cream's family tree was intricate even for today's hybrids, which have spun out my brain more than once.
At first I didn't think Apples n' Cream's high was a good match for an evening or nighttime toke, since it quickly made me restless and hungry, even though I'd eaten dinner 45 minutes earlier. The energy came close to getting voracious, but luckily a small grilled cheese sandwich and a podcast settled me down fast. After twenty minutes, that short burst of unconfined energy didn't return, and neither did a sliver of anxiety. As a result, Apples n' Cream can have a spot on my bench of summer strains, as long as I have some easy listening and a snack in mind for afterward.
And isn't that what summer's all about?
Looks: Typically round with close-knit calyxes, Apples n' Cream comes packaged in bulbous, forest-green nuggets with vivid purple spots and gangly orange pistils, which look like they might be growing trichomes themselves given the thickness of the flower's resin.
Smell: Such a delicious-sounding name will instantly raise the expectations of a new nose, but Apples n' Cream has the potential to do more than just meet expectations. A blend of cinnamon-sugar, apple/white grapes and creamy vanilla invokes visions of Apple Jacks before more sour, rubber and pine notes cut out some of the sweetness just enough to remind me that this is weed and not cider.
Flavor: Tart flavors of apple move in after the initial hit, with creamy, zesty tastes of spices taking a back seat — although noticeable — before classic notes of resinous pine and small hints of rubber provide backup and linger as an aftertaste. It's not as transcendent as the smell, but it's still sweet and deserving of being the last course before bed.
Effects: Apples n' Cream was much like a light dessert, giving me a short sugar rush before making me tap out for the night. In between those starting and ending points, though, I regularly experienced strong bouts of hunger (even after eating) and a warm sense of little worry. While not the best for motivation or a healthy diet, that's not what the majority of cannabis users are looking for in weed anyway. For regular users, it provides the giggles and comfort that become more elusive with a stronger tolerance.
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