Colorado's Ethos Genetics is responsible for the orange crush so many Denver dispensaries are under, crossing Herijuana and Orange Skunk that birthed Mandarin Sunset, then taking off commercially with Mandarin Cookies. Our latest citrus deity is a cross of Mandarin Sunset and Temple Kush, another Ethos creation. Mandarin Temple isn't very orange, though, instead taking after Temple Kush's background of OG Kush, Sour Diesel, Afghani and Purple Thai. While that might disappoint someone expecting the sweet orange burst from Mandarin Sunset and Mandarin Cookies, I'll happily accept this black sheep's hash qualities and dependable high.
Mandarin Cookies' ability to combine Florida oranges with heavy resin is more distinguishable than sturdy evening effects and flavors from decades past, but the fuddy-duddy in me prefers the way Mandarin Temple always hits the same. It's my glass of whiskey after work, giving me a short rush that numbs stress and increases intrigue before chipping away at my energy. The juiced-up approach toward Eastern Kush varieties is like watching a well-made period piece, giving me all the clothes, cars and music from the ’50s in clearer visuals and sound.
Mandarin Temple won't ever be Mandarin Cookies in terms of widespread notoriety, but the strain's current popularity among wholesale growers and its modern boost on older cannabis characteristics give it a bright chance to stick around. Just don't expect any orange on the tastebuds, or you'll be seeing red.
Looks: Like other Mandarin strains, Mandarin Temple has bright-green calyxes and a decent amount of pistils. However, the strain's dense bud structure, healthy trichome coverage and dark-purple sugar leaves give it more of an indica look with good bag appeal.
Smell: Mandarin Temple's orange characteristics are surprisingly tame. Instead, the strain pushes out classic hash aromas like vanilla and soil up front, similar to Temple Kush, with hints of roses and citrus zest playing backup.
Flavor: Earthy and floral all the way, with subtle hints of vanilla, pine and gas along for the ride, Mandarin Temple is a clear reflection of the old-school smell. There are virtually no hints of orange or citrus.
Effects: Most users report Mandarin Temple being somewhere in the middle on the hybrid scale, and I'm inclined to agree after weeks of testing it out, but I still keep it for after 5 p.m. The first hour is like the apex after an espresso, keeping me enthusiastic and wired, but with an extra level of interest. Rarely straying into unfocused territory, the productive launch gently declines into physical relaxation, and there's no going back once you get there.
Where to find it: Callie's Cannabis Shoppe, Cookies, the Herbal Center, Higher Grade, High West Cannabis, LivWell, Rocky Mountain Cannabis, Simply Pure, Solace Meds, Star Buds, Trenchtown and Unity Road have all been spotted with Mandarin Temple. Trenchtown's cut is grown in-house, while wholesale cultivators Dutch Botanicals, Outlaw Cannabis and Super Farm supply most of the Mandarin Temple around Denver. Trenchtown's version is a solid choice at the price point, but Outlaw's take on the strain hits all the notes in taste, smell and potency, providing a Kush-flavored descent from sunset to bedtime.
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