My brother and I had a typical relationship growing up, filled with fights and sparse moments of bonding until we started drinking together. That's not to say we have zero memories of getting along, thanks to TV: Watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles together was the first brotherly activity I can remember walking away from unbruised. Based on how the turtles impacted pop culture, I doubt we're the only ’90s siblings who experienced that.
I'm aware of the fifteenth-century artist now, but I haven’t been to Italy yet, so blame my generational disposition for thinking of pizza and green ooze when the name “Donatello” comes up. And Donny’s sculptures will have to surmount a high bar if they’re going to take the turtles’ spot, as will the weed strain of the same name, a daytime-friendly hybrid that’s been making the rounds at a few Denver dispensaries.
Naming strains after beloved childhood characters is nothing new (naming them after Renaissance artists is a little more rare), but sometimes you find something — Frankenberry or Skywalker OG, for example — worth hanging on to. My budtender’s confidence in Donatello’s superiority over Han Solo Burger (a strain I wanted to try for similar reasons) was enough for me to give the mix of Casey Jones and Purple Urkle a shot, but I still wasn’t sold on the strain’s staying power.
Donatello was bright green, with intense smells of tangerines and subtle hints of juniper bushes, and my first run brought on a classic daytime high associated with strong orange flavors. However, I’ve since come across cuts with heavy coats of purple that are more relaxing and suitable for both day and night. Every high was warm and clear, however, allowing moderate focus, with hits tasting like a bag of tangerines.
While the flavor was enjoyable, it didn’t stand out among the dozens of orange-leaning strains on dispensary shelves. But the high did. Donatello has proven to be quite the wake-and-bake option for me, providing clear energy, loose limbs and limited munchies during daytime sessions. Is it enough to supplant my favorite crime-fighting testudines? No, but it’s a pretty tubular complement.
Looks: Although I’ve come across bright-green versions of Donatello, he was the purple-banded Ninja Turtle, and most cuts out there have large, bright spots of violet. Almost every nug I’ve seen has round and teardrop-shaped buds, as well.
Smell: Donatello smells much more like a Raphael, with a blast of orange citrus flooding the nostrils, staying there long after the buds are back in the bottle. Those strong tangerine notes are somewhat mellowed out by dank notes of pine and juniper, but not nearly enough.
Flavor: Donatello also tastes more like Raphael (that didn’t come out right), as if you’re smoking a bag of oranges with pine and juniper needles tossed in there. I’d prefer more earthy, Kush notes or something else to mellow it out a bit, but it’s still a very popular flavor profile.
Effects: Don’t pull out the coffee until you feel the high first. While my mind stays calm and focused after sessions of Donatello, my body gets a shot of energy and can become jittery after sitting still for too long. The clear high and light body feelings are a good pre-game for activities and mindless labor, and the munchies aren’t very powerful, either.
Home grower’s take: “I’ve noticed mint or evergreen in the grow, and some pine, too — but it’s like 8/10 or 9/10 oranges by the time you smoke it. It’s actually not that bad in the morning, and it gives me a good mindset to start the day. Very chill but still ready to move. Donatello is a pretty heavy yielder, too, if you can wait nine or ten weeks.”
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