AMSTERDAM — When ESPN420 starts, they’ll be doing classic coverage of the Barney’s Farm vs. Green House era like it was the Lakers-Celtics battles of the ’60s. “They were the undisputed titans of plant husbandry,” Al Michaels would say. Then, live to the Berkeley campus for hacky sack and dizzy bong contests. You’d watch.
How dominant have these two seed companies been? Until The Green Place took home top honors in 2013, they’d combined to win 14 of the last 15 Amsterdam Cannabis Cups. They’ve been the runner-up seven of those years. And in Amsterdam, I can walk to buy one of their joints while smoking a joint.
You still can’t say that, Denver.
Tangerine Dream by the numbers: 16 euros/gram at Barney’s Lounge, Reguliersgracht 27, 1017 LK Amsterdam, Netherlands
So I head to Barney’s on Reguliersgracht, which I think translates to “Regular Old Canal Street,” a perfect spot for an incognito pot purchase. The haze aficionado in me is after their 2011 Cup-winning Tangerine Dream.
The shop looks like a 15-seat froyo place that’s trying to be a nightclub, which is kind of adorable. It’s brightly colored and padded in a way that suggests children would have a great time there, I’m sure to the chagrin of passing toddlers.
You eat Pad Thai in the states and everyone laments how it’s not quite the same. Tangerine Dream in Holland doesn’t exactly distinguish itself. It’s a perfectly fine sample, and much, much stickier than the dust most nugs become in Denver. I need a paper shredder, not a grinder. But the sample is average.
I hear “tangerine” and immediately think of a handful of Denver dispensaries that serve Cuties-level strains. I think of the Agent Orange at Terrapin Care Station — it’s like you grabbed the Florida peninsula and wrang it out for all its citrus goodness. This bag, on the other hand, has the less-terpene rich orange that’s faint but not dominant. It’s an orange juice bottle repurposed to carry water, leaving the citrus behind that’s pronounced only because it feels so secondary.
In the jar you’re not necessarily looking for traditional “haze,” as the G13 that’s crossed with Neville’s A5 Haze to create the sativa-dominant Tangerine Dream gives it decent beefiness in terms of structure. This bag is slightly darker green than I usually see — you want it light and trichome coated — but the hairs are the tangerine orange I’m looking for.
Filling up a Volcano vaporizer, the taste is much more distinguishable, with a light vanilla rounding it out as the marijuana-scented turkey bag crumbles in on itself. I vape a full quarter gram and wait. There’s several groups, all dudes lighting spliff after spliff, laughing at something either clever or profoundly stoned, in a language I can’t understand.
If vape is the Oxford Dictionaries 2014 word of the year, I’d like to offer “vapelock” for 2015. The concept is simple: If I vape enough weed, I’m not getting any higher. There’s a stagnancy to the buzz that ultimately can’t be built on. I don’t know anything about cars, so any resemblance to vapor lock is purely coincidental. I do know I hit vapelock with the Dream.
Initially there was a light high behind the eyes that crept into my shoulders — between the AirBnB lodging and 10-hour flight, they were giving me hell. Lugging around my laptop from coffee shop to coffee shop felt less like a papoose holding a particularly cherubic baby and more like a European carry-all filled with waffles and joint tubes. But I never really peak.
Two views about Amsterdam
Usually, this is a strain that floors me with euphoria. Euflooria, if you will. So, despite all of my pre-Amsterdam “training,” I was expecting to be floored considering sober travel times and jet lag. Instead, I was unremarkably even. Barney’s notes that the strain was “handcrafted for medical patients,” but I’ve been smoking like I’m pledging for a pot fraternity.
There’s an uptick in mood, as I feel like I’m walking with a light grin instead of the dazed, Google Maps-checking demeanor of a half-hour earlier, but it’s a more reserved high than I’m used to from Tangerine Dream. It’s as functional as advertised, but perhaps too functional. The walk back to my room is a standard American appreciation of foreign architecture with vigilant deference in traffic situations.
All I was missing was the sense of awe that comes with a pure head high to drive the experience.
On the haze spectrum, Tangerine Dream is much closer to being a friendly hot dog vendor than a basketball mascot. You won’t have boundless energy, but for someone who needs to smoke to leave the house, it’s an ideal strain to make you slightly more personable to any tourists you encounter.