Medical marijuana dispensary review: Flavored Essentials in Denver

In the year or so since photos of what looks to be a clean, well-lit and well-stocked Flavored Essentials were posted on the dispensary's Facebook page, the shop doesn't appear to have done much upkeep. Lights were out all over the place, and the only illumination came from the few lamps hung over houseplants and the leaking orange glow coming from an otherwise blacked-out window concealing the sparsely filled grow facility. The lights in the cabinets were all dim, spots overhead were out, and even the LED-lit magnifying glasses for patients to actually view the buds weren't working. And sadly, based on their appearance, the buds on the shelf could use a few more watts in the grow room, too.

Flavored Essentials

3955 Oneida Street
 Denver, CO 80207
 (303) 377-0539 Flavored Essentials

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $10-$13/gram $25-$40/eighth-ounce, $140-$220/ounce. Members receive about 10 percent to 15 percent discount. Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, kief, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

The walls in the online photos are blue, but I don't remember any of that -- just a dingy room with half-empty display cases and a wall of rolling papers and blunt wraps. It was like an old-school New York bodega that wasn't being discreet about selling pot on the side. The two dudes in their twenties running the shop were both really friendly, though. I don't want the place to sound unwelcoming, because they were doing the best they could with what they had. But like two bachelors living together post-college, they could really use a maid, or at the very least a Swiffer and some Windex.

Unfortunately, the nearly two dozen jars on the shelf showed about the same level of care put toward them as did the shop itself. With the exception of maybe two or three containers, the buds were all down to the shakey bottoms, which was depressing, considering there was still an ounce or so left of the larfy, tiny budlets in each jar. The not-so-kush-smelling Jedi Kush was crumbles, the Canalope Haze a mess of tangled red hairs, and the MILF looked like chopped salad.

The guys behind the counter knew it, too, even though they didn't go so far as to openly admit that they only had shake left. During my visit, one pulled out an enlarged photograph displaying a great example of the shop's purple TPOG strain to show me what it looked like before it crumbled down to particles and dust -- and then tried selling me on the bud by saying they always came out brittle and fall apart like that. They might, but they shouldn't. If you've got to show someone a photo of what your buds should look like, they shouldn't be on the top tier. Granted, I was given a discount when I eventually made my purchase, but it still put things at $30 an eighth when $25 would have been a stretch considering that other shops sell ounces of shake like that for $70.

Continue for the rest of the review and photos. The few plump buds in the shop didn't do much for me, either. The Strawberry Cough had a sweetness to the smell, but the buds looked blown out like the never-flushed Bubblegum I used to see around here about ten years ago. The only other jar with huge nuggets inside was the East Coast Sour Diesel, which my budtender was at least honest enough to tell me wasn't worth my time.

That left me with the two phenotypes of the Girl Scout Cookies -- neither of which was likely actual Girl Scout Cookies, which is only passed around by cloning. They were seed-grown, which means they either come from one of the seed banks capitalizing on the buzzword strain or they actually came from rare Girl Scout Cookies bag seed. Either way, neither of the two phenotypes was anywhere near the sugary-sweet goodness that one would hope to see with GSC. Instead, the dried little buds had the generically hashy smell of used vape-pen oil. Broken up, the underdeveloped budlets had a light minty freshness, and I did get a noticeably more sugary, earthy flavor than I was expecting -- but they still need work. A decent buzz followed my morning bowl for about an hour, but I was wanting more (and more flavor) well before lunchtime came around.

The other strain worth bringing home (relatively speaking, of course) was the Cat-piss Romulan. Again, the jar was down to the shakey bottoms, and the buds I brought home were "hand picked" out of that batch to be some of the best. But I think that at one time, this batch of CPR at Flavored Essentials was really enticing. I'm not sure it's really CPR, though, as there's no nose-burning cat-piss haze to it -- just a light lavender Flo smell that turned fruity when broken up, with a light soil finish that came through in the bowl's flavor out of a dry pipe even with the crackly, dry smoke. But the nutrient-burned leaves on some of the buds and overall condition are details that the guys at Flavored Essentials needs to work on if they want to try and attract a connoisseur clientele. Not a bad strain to keep improving on, and with some more TLC, this might be worth a second trip.

What little hash Flavored Essentials had in stock was kept in a hand-blown glass container sealed off with a cork, like the head stash of a hippie. It was your typical dark-brown, pressed and dried bubble hash going for $25 a gram. (I think that's what he quoted me; it's the price listed on their WeedMaps menu.) I'm glad to see the shop offering water-made hash, but a drop in price to $15 a gram would be more befitting of the quality. The shop also carried peanut-butter-consistency wax, but I didn't feel like gambling $30 or so to figure out if was worthwhile -- which, really, means it wasn't worthwhile. And, unfortunately, that's the shop in a nutshell right now.

To their credit, the owners said they were having some licensing issues in regard to getting one of their grow warehouses up off the ground; they told me they plan to stock larger harvests in the future as they prepare to open to recreational sales. (The budtender told me the store is headed that way and has applied for a license.) But while they're waiting for the city's approval, they should really get out the broom and mop.

And change a few lightbulbs.

Read more reviews from Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic, William Breathes, in our Mile Highs and Lows blog, and keep up with all your Colorado marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes

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