Even a holiday for the undead is no match for COVID-19. No trick-or-treating this year. No real parties or haunted houses. No new superhero movies released over the past six months to shill costumes. Just about the only trademark chill that remains is the parental worry over the dangers of strange candy, except this time the hysteria isn't over razor blades or THC.
Halloween won't be the same on the outside this year, so I guess we'll have to make the most of it from the inside. Even though my cannabis use is hardly seasonal, it will still be an integral part of my horror-movie intake, candy consumption and holiday enthusiasm. And while it's usually smart to go with something familiar in that situation, my dispensary was out of the trusty Jack Herer featured on its website, so I was stuck with a bunch of unknowns. Brandywine, a name that evokes East Coast towns and a Revolutionary War battle, seemed like a fine choice. In the fall, who doesn't love a little colonial history, full of headless horsemen and witches?
Ironically, Brandywine's roots are nowhere near the East Coast. Dungeons Vault Genetics, a breeder based in Washington State, created the strain, with Olympia-area grower Doc and Yeti Urban Farms winning a Dope Cup for their take in 2017. Still, Brandywine's reputation for an even high without fogginess sounded perfect for evenings spent draping decorations and carving jack-o-lanterns while sexually curious teens get hacked in the background. The strain's parents, Grandpa's Breath and Pink Champagne, both carry Grand Daddy Purple influences, however, and nobody ever accused GDP of not being foggy enough. I didn't think a little relaxation would hurt, though, as long as it wasn't too sedative: I got fall shit to do.
Over the course of a couple weeks and and a few different cuts, Brandywine revealed itself as a creeper strain, trapping me into one bowl too many before the smog came in. A creeper strain might sound perfect for Halloween, but the stoney wave washed away any initiative in my body, and I routinely found myself in a listless state bordering on comatose. Patience and less smoking showed the strain to be much easier to handle, allowing me to enjoy the ride and its calming characteristics without instantly falling into a black hole. Still, my brain was half-cocked at best, and the aloofness was hard to fight. Phone calls soon went unanswered, because I couldn't mumble much more than a "Yeah" and "Oh, nice." No one likes that guy, even after a joint to the dome.
We've seen Brandywine at Callie's Cannabis Shoppe, Green Dream in Boulder, La Conte's, Live Green, Mile High Dispensary, Mile High Green Cross, Simply Pure and Starbuds. Most of the versions I've come across are from Bud Fox, a wholesale cultivator.
Looks: Brandywine's buds are usually long and ovoid, with gnarled calyxes, a wintergreen color and a dense structure. Light-purple spots on the buds and dark sugar leaves remind me of the GDP influence, but they're nowhere near as intimidating.
Smell: Light but memorable, Brandywine's aroma carries hints of citrus and grapes, with a bitter, herbal back end. Some versions smell more like white grape juice, while others lean more toward bergamot tea.
Flavor: Although Brandywine's flavor isn't as welcoming as the smell, there are enough sweet notes and interesting spice characteristics to keep me interested. The fruity sweetness is more thick and syrupy in the smoke than the light citrus aroma implies, with a zesty, woody aftertaste.
Effects: Brandywine hits me initially with little euphoria and a light body high — at first I actually wondered if I'd bought a CBD strain by mistake — but the cerebral cloud and stress relief grows quickly, and it only gets stronger. Coffee does little to counteract the heavy relaxation during the daytime, so I don't recommend turning to Brandywine for stress relief before the sun goes down.
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