An example of Jack Flash from another Colorado dispensary. (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

Jack Flash (marijuana review)

The first grow I stepped foot in looked like a nightmare. It was a basement seemingly overrun with hoses and wayward electrical cords and pipes that didn’t seem to go anywhere. I remember thinking of the three ways I could die down there, electrocution would probably be the most kind. Then drowning, then being incinerated. The only reason anyone in their right mind would endeavor to create a mess like this was the thousands of dollars of Jack Flash in front of me. It was the beautiful eye of the #$&%storm. I’ve been fond of Jack ever since.

Jack Flash by the numbers: $10/g, $60/quarter at Frosted Leaf, 445 Federal Blvd. in Denver.

My neighborhood dispensary recently went “rec,” but I was disappointed to see a $70 price tag on the first eighth on their menu. Even when I lived in Iowa — where the Field of Dreams isn’t growing herb — anything over $60 was laughable. So I jumped online and found Frosted Leaf advertising $10 grams — or half the price of the chain down the street. There’s usually a trade-off in buying discount, and usually the price is paid in your time, but they actually let you reserve your order through their website. Buying blind isn’t something I recommend for newbies, but Jack Flash practically jumped through my monitor and into my pipe.

For what it’s worth, the in-store experience was fairly state-of-the-art. Frosted Leaf, like Euflora, has an open dispensing area littered with various “smelling jars,” although trying to unscrew a couple became a “Sword in the Stone” proposition and I couldn’t muster up the courage to ask the security guy (who might have been doubling as a budtender) to open them for me. I had my order number from earlier and was able to skip the touchscreen portion of the buying process. That didn’t stop me from playing around with them for a minute, though. They’re slick-looking, no doubt about it, but I missed having some kind of human interaction right when the “securi-tender” noted it works just like self-checkout at the grocery store.

Borrowing its name from a tribute strain named for the late Jack Herer (author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” and one of the most noted cannabis activists) that was crossed by Sensi Seeds, Jack Flash is at its core a beautiful cross of haze and skunk. When shopping for Jack, I prefer looking for expressions that grow more on the skunk side of the equation with fewer foxtails and a denser, overall darker complexion. As I often heap endless praise on haze, I’m worried I might lose my card on that one. No matter what, you’re going to see thinner leaves, so be on the lookout for a more blood-orange shade of hairs.

The smell is unmistakable. Brings me back to that basement grow every time. It’s easy to mistake for Durban Poison if you’re not paying attention, as it has a lot of the pine and chemmy odor to it, but there are amazing undertones of sweetness and citrus that culminate to almost make it smell like cleaning up old urine. I realize that doesn’t sound very amazing. It’s just so distinct and singular to this plant. I love it.

I’m a fan of a good sativa-leaning hybrid for most daytime puffing, and as I got my ducks in order for my first trip to Hempfest, it was the perfect find. Some strains I smoke like they were a cup of coffee — getting them down while they’re hot — but a puff here or there on the Jack Flash was fine. That’s not to say the smoke was particularly pleasant. The taste was more on the chemmy side and burned to a greyish black ash, eliciting coughs that I’d prefer weren’t there given my still-bruised ribs from a recent kickball mishap. The nugs were brittle enough to disintegrate with little effort. But the high!

Jack Flash always gets me straight between the temples. All of a sudden, I was talking just a little louder than usual, like my conversations were taking place via cellphone. The body buzz was immediate and light, giving that extra buoyancy to movement that a great high will have occasionally. Per usual, it wasn’t a strain that had me particularly “munchy” but it gave me plenty of cotton mouth, as I surprised myself after noticing my water jug was empty about 45 minutes in. I’ve never found it particularly effective for serious pain management, and the ribs concurred, but the overall high was a great distraction from the stress of the upcoming trip.

Given the choice between smoking Jack Flash and the closely related Jack Herer, I’ll almost always pick the former. It’s just hard to mess up in my book. If what I saw in that basement was any indication, I’m pretty sure they could grow it in Mordor. And even then, I’d gladly smoke it.

Map: Colorado recreational marijuana shops and medical dispensaries