I like to think I’m a pretty hip guy. My beard’s trimmed, I get most of the shit on Saturday Night Live. My memes are fresh. And when something starts attracting adulation, I want to find out why. So after visiting the third dispensary in a row with a jar of Mandarin Cookies, I decided to stick my hand inside and smell the commotion. Spoiler alert: It’s worth the hype.
This new, hot strain is a cross between an indica-leaning Girl Scout Cookies phenotype, Forum Cut Cookies, and Mandarin Sunset, a sativa-dominant hybrid of Herjuana and Orange Skunk. Most of us can thank Ethos Genetics for this terpene match made in heaven; while there are a few versions from other breeders floating around in other states, the Colorado breeder has shared the wealth, making it available to both home and commercial growers.
Each bud of Mandarin Cookies hits your nose like a gust of wind, pumping out sour, earthy and Diesel notes with a doughy, citrus-heavy back end. The sweet, gassy combination is intoxicating before you even pack a bowl. Without much knowledge on the background of Mandarin Cookies (I knew it was a citrus-heavy child of GSC, which I’m very familiar with, so how surprising could it be?), I smoked a joint after breakfast one day, and it was like jumping off a cliff: The immediate effects were exhilarating, but that lasted about ten seconds before my body splattered across the floor.
My first knockout from Mandarin Cookies could be attributed to unfamiliarity, but I obviously disrespected the hybrid’s potency. Smaller amounts of the strain were still relaxing and slowed time down a bit, but I was able to function enough to cook dinner and clean up afterward — the real challenge.
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Mandarin Cookies has been multiplying like rabbits around Denver this year. A Cut Above, Ballpark Holistic Dispensary, Botanico, Buddy Boy, the Clinic, Euflora, Healing House, the Joint, Leiff, the Lodge, Lodo Wellness, Seed & Smith, Starbuds, Trenchtown and Urban Dispensary have all carried it, and those are just the shops we know of. Wholesale grower Bonsai Cultivation also grows Mandarin Cookies, selling it to dispensaries around Colorado. So far, I’ve really enjoyed the cuts from A Cut Above and Bonsai, and the Joint’s version is pretty tasty, too.
Looks: Generally round, cone- or pebble-shaped, Mandarin Cookies has a slightly more compact bud structure than other Cookies strains, but the hybrid’s wintergreen color and frosted coating of trichomes make it a chip off the ol’ block.
Smell: For me, this was the selling point — and that’s saying a lot, because Mandarin Cookies checks off every box. But the sweet intensity of its tart, fruity notes fill the room with a skunky, cereal-like aroma, while sour scents of Kush, Diesel and citrus make for a classic backdrop.
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Flavor: Mirroring the smell, Mandarin Cookies starts with a sweet, acidic and doughy flavor up front, almost like sourdough bread and marmalade, followed by a grainy, piney coat over the tongue. It tastes like breakfast.
Effects: The citrus-heavy flavor — usually associated with sativas — can be deceiving the first time, but don’t let it fool you twice. Mandarin Cookies is sedating, best reserved for after work or nighttime, not as a pick-me-up. The calming effects are perfect for following a workout or staying in, and the strain has been used to treat anxiety, eating and sleeping disorders, pain and stress.
Commercial grower’s take: “It’s high in caryophyllene and limonene, so that’s why it tastes like orange cookies, and relatively high levels of lanalool and myrcene might explain the relaxing effects. It’s just high in everything, honestly: THC, terpenes, yields. It can take, like, seventy days to flower if you really want to reach those flavor profiles, but that’s not terribly long, and it’s worth it.”
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