All I used to want for my birthday was weed and someone to puff it with, as most of my smoking pals were traveling or had too much family in town to be high. There’s little to celebrate about December birthdays.
I remember senior year vividly:
The deep, gripping freeze of Iowa over Christmas break meant gathering a few friends who were still in town, rolling up an eighth of schwag into several ambitiously-sized blunts and us driving country roads, listening to a burned DJ Shadow CD we found on Napster and doing some more illegal burning of our own. In the years since, it’s gone from blunts to a blunt to a joint to a bowl (maybe two). For my 32nd birthday, I found myself with a bag of Tangie I had purchased out of guilt.
Tangie by the numbers: $69.35/eighth at The Clinic Highlands, 3460 W. 32nd Ave. in Denver.
When a reporter for the L.A. Times hit me up to talk about The Cannabist, I was feeling the holiday spirit. For me, that’s a mix of contempt and churlishness. I suggested we meet at Pinche Taqueria and stroll to The Clinic Highlands, as the short walk from my house was all the effort I’m willing to make. He let me know he’d be in a brownish sports jacket and jeans and looking sadly 50, and I imagined myself at 50 in much the same predicament. I resolved to be less of a jerk.
We arrived at The Clinic and the place was empty, save for three employees all doing their best to kill time before closing a half-hour later. I know the feeling well and tried to do abbreviated versions of my usual prattling on, but my budtender was tremendously qualified and not phoning it in. He handed us probably ten jars, knowing full well that it’s just a dance we’re both doing for the reporter and he’s stuck playing the unwitting groomsman who is now in the arms of some touchy aunt he never met before.
To the shop’s credit, everything smelled spot on in the jar. Sometimes these sample nugs sit there for weeks, stale and tired by the time you pop them open. Either they’re rotating well or just have the stuff, because I found myself particularly taken with their Tangie, which I was told won multiple awards in flower and shatter forms. So taken, I didn’t even look at it — or the $40 price tag on my half-eighth. Rec prices are falling everywhere, but apparently they haven’t received the memo. Still, my budtender rocked, and so I rolled with the punch to the gut.
If you didn’t know any better, you’d think Tangerine Dream and Tangie were the same strain, only the Tangie was a little cooler. Kind of like that girl Lindsey in middle school who started spelling her name Lyndsee. Instead, the former is Barney’s Farm’s umpteenth Amnesia Haze project, whereas the latter is a fascinating mix of an unknown skunk hybrid and Sam the Skunkman’s legendary California Orange (or Cali-o). As always, it’s not that simple.
According to Don from DNA Genetics, Tangie used to be around Los Angeles in the ’90s, only under a different name: Tangerine Dream. Seriously. It was lost, as many of the best strains were during strict prohibition, until he got a call from his buddy Sergio letting him know the Dream had resurfaced. After giving it to another master of his craft, Crockett, for selection (picking the best of the best from a veritable sea of plants) they wound up with the sativa I’m puffing on today. And people have the audacity to say stoners are lazy.
While most of the big boys in seeds have some variety of orange offering, Tangie typically stands above the rest in terms of smell. It’s an orchard flush with citrus Cuties (a traditional holiday snack in our household) that was hit by the spray of a skunk a few days prior. I’m usually looking for muted green foxtails, but it’s the bright orange hairs that will catch your eye first. Instead, I should have had my eyes peeled for immature seeds.
Not a particular fan of grinders, I started out my birthday evening by cramming a bowl of my egregiously expensive Tangie into a pipe. On the first hit, I hear popping in my pot, never a great sign. Sure, the flavor of ripe citrus did its best to mask the harshness of the seedy weed, but it’s unfortunate considering what the experience could have been. A more patient person would have unloaded, picked the seeds out with tweezers, and considered it better than those old schwag b-day blunts. I am not that person.
Usually I love this strain for its ability to flip an imaginary switch that turns off my inner curmudgeon, or in this case, all of that seasonal Grinchiness. Instead, as we headed to the local taco spot for happy hour (or hora feliz), I felt flat. The buzz was absent in my body, which is somewhat to be expected as it’s not a noted limb loosener. It also didn’t lift my mood. It’s not a good sign when my fiancée has to turn and ask me if everything is OK.
Instead of making my usual dad jokes to our server or finishing a laughable number of tacos, I was distant, observing instead of impacting. Even after sneaking another toke with a friend, as is birthday tradition, I wasn’t getting anywhere. After striking up a conversation outside with the lone valet (who was clearly over the age of 21), I offered to give the rest to him. But before I did, someone pulled up, and we never had time to talk again.
It’s not a bad strain, and I’d hate to imply as such. Selection is the story of any strain, and this Tangie, complete with its oh-so-incomplete seeds, just didn’t do it for me. I still have remnants of that bag, which has been stuffed in many a pants pocket, never to be smoked. Maybe next birthday.