It’s always fun to analyze a classic and try to understand how it passed the test of time. My parents grew up listening to Ray Charles and the Rolling Stones, and so did I. If I ever have kids, they’ll grow up to “Hit the Road, Jack” and “Sympathy for the Devil,” too.
A few months back, Isa Jones wrote about the whirlwind of emotion she felt during a Bruce Springsteen concert because her father was such a big fan. All of our dads liked Bruce. Millennials probably shouldn’t — he’s in his late sixties and still rocks tight denim and a soul patch — but every time “Born in the USA” comes on, we think of a barbecue or Sunday morning with Dad.
The Stones and Springsteen have both remained relevant despite decades of new fads, but how much of that is because of greatness — and how much because of nostalgia?
That’s what I’m trying to figure out with Hindu Kush. On the one hand, it’s a landrace indica with pure genetics that have been around since long before the hybrid strains dominating menus today. On the other, it’s never gotten the same love as Durban Poison or Afghan Kush, for reasons I don’t understand. The strain hails from the vast Hindu Kush mountain region that includes the western Himalayas, and it’s one tough sonofabitch, growing short and stocky with unusually heavy trichome coverage to overcome harsh winds and cold temperatures.
Hindu Kush doesn’t have the heavy effects of an Afghan or Bubba Kush, which could be why it isn’t as popular with those looking for a potent indica — but delivering a relaxing yet functional high shouldn’t downgrade its reputation. It’s hung like a horse in the resin-gland department and carries a potent seed to match, birthing strains like Master Kush and (rumor has it) OG Kush. The strain is also largely responsible for the world’s love affair with hash, as its trichomes were often used to make the finger hash that our parents grew up with.
And this is where the aging-rocker connection comes in: Like a basic weed brownie or joint, Hindu Kush is something that will always be relevant for both an older generation of stoners and the younger crowd. For me, its timeless flavor and hulking coat of trichomes makes it much more of a Mick Jagger strain than a Springsteen.
Looks: Like Afghani, Hindu Kush nugs are generally light green with amber and tan hues and have a thick coat of trichomes. Pistils range from orange to tan. Although buds are short and stocky, as with a typical indica, they’re generally on the fluffy side — but that varies by phenotype.
Smell: Hindu Kush’s genetics are responsible for any number of aromatic notes in the strains it’s fathered. Fresh, strong smells of oak, bubblegum and soil should accompany each whiff.
Flavor: Earthy, heavy flavors of soil should be up front, followed by mellow, sweet flavors of bubble gum and hash.
Effects: While Hindu Kush is a sedative strain, many users smoke it during the day and feel functional — though at a slightly slower pace. However, prolonged or heavy use will lead to a strong comedown. Medical patients use Hindu Kush for stress, muscle aches and insomnia, among other ailments.
Home grower’s take: “I’ve always wanted to try this strain outside, just to see if it can grow like its ancestors did. But I’m always a little skeptical when I see Hindu, just because you never know how ‘pure’ its genetics really are, or if the phenotype can handle the environment. You worry about that with every strain, but with pure indicas, getting it right is more important for me. The most important detail is maximizing trichomes, because yields are just so-so. That’ll also show you how good your genetics are.”
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