A sample of Purple Urkle grown in Colorado. (Ry Prichard, The Cannabist)

Purple Urkle (marijuana review)

“O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!”

Katharine Lee Bates’ patriotic classic “America the Beautiful” alluded to the beauty of the many hues of purple occurring in nature. According to the Library of Congress, Bates wrote the piece during an 1893 visit to Colorado Springs while she soaked in the “purple mountain majesties” of Pikes Peak.

Colorado cannabis consumers have been just as infatuated with shades of purple nugs for decades.

Purple Urkle first appeared in California medical circles in the mid 1990s, according to Michael Backes’ “Cannabis Pharmacy.” Backes writes that the strain is believed to have been originally bred at the Cannabis Buyers’ Club of West Hollywood, one of California’s earliest medical dispensaries, and the classic purple genetics later gained a following in Bay Area medical clubs.

Purple Urkle by the numbers: $13/gram $45/eighth at Timberline Herbal Clinic & Wellness Center, 3995 E. 50th Ave., Denver

Like its cousins Grandaddy Purple and Grape Ape, according to Backes, Purple Urkle is known for its heavy sedative properties and is a favorite among insomniacs.

It would seem that strain was named after Jaleel White’s nerdy character in the popular ’90s sitcom “Family Matters.” It’s unclear whether the strain was named after Steve Urkel, but if I had to venture a guess, I would say that the indica-dominant properties will have you bumping into inanimate objects, followed by Urkel’s famous, nasal-y catchphrase: “Did I do that?”

I got this particular cut of Purple Urkle at Timberline Herbal Clinic & Wellness Center off of Interstate 70 and Colorado Boulevard. The store was pretty standard — clean but nothing especially great. I was curious whether they grew the product or bought it wholesale. The budtender emphatically told me that they grow all their own product and don’t wholesale at all. When I saw the Purple Urkle, I was immediately interested, having sold many pounds of it as a budtender. As I perused the rest of their selection, I hoped their Urkle was stronger than the cut I used to sell, which we referred to as our “daytime indica” — it was one of our cheaper and weaker strains, but the uniform bushy purple nugs made it a top seller.

I poked my head into the glass jar of Purple Urkle and noticed that it was not nearly as purple as the pheno we sold when I worked at a dispensary. The smell was very earthy with hints of sweet berry. The nugs were much less bushy and looked more scraggly than what I was used to, leading me wonder if this might be a different strain altogether (renaming strains for retail appeal and consumer recognition is rampant around the industry). Nonetheless, I bought a gram and was on my way.

I decided to save the presumably couch-locking strain for my weekend relaxation time. When I woke up on Saturday morning, I immediately turned on college football and decided to game-plan my brunch. I pulled out one of the nugs and noticed that it was almost completely forest green, with a few hints of purple. It also had quite a few long green leaves that were overlooked by the trimmer. Searching for the purple that made this Purple Urkle, I emptied the rest of the nugs onto my coffee table and got ready to load my chillum. Most nugs were the same shade of dark green, but there was one that was mostly purple with a plethora of long, pumpkin-orange hairs and noticeably more trichome coverage than any of the others.

Admittedly, my expectations were not that high given the prominence of the earthiness in the fragrance. First, I took a dry hit, which had a berry sweetness and hints of citrus. When I lit it up, the smoke was smooth and sweet with a slight spice at the end of the hit. I was thrilled that the earthiness that was prominent in the jar took a backseat to the other flavors.

The first few hits left my throat immediately parched, forcing me to get a glass of water. When I got back and sat down, I sensed my stature relax, like a statue melting into the couch. My eyes were still alert and focused on the game, but my eyelids relaxed and drooped over them. I could feel my brain slow down as I asked my roommate, Andy, if he wanted to join for brunch. He suggested a place, but I already had my mind made up on a neighborhood spot, Jezebel’s Southern Bistro — because brunch without bottomless mimosas is just breakfast.

With my appetite riled up like a locker room before a big game, we walked over. My egg and cheese sandwich was amazing as usual. After stuffing myself, I had to get home to take a nap.

I woke up three hours later energized and ready to meet up with some friends to watch the evening college football games. This time, I opted for a sativa as my gametime smoke so I didn’t need another nap.

I’m still skeptical that this was actually Purple Urkle, but overall, it was a decent smoke — though certainly not enough to convince me to brave the offensive, gag-inducing odor emanating from the I-70 Purina pet food factory on a regular basis.