Hey, Squid Pants here. Today we’re checking out an offering from an Ontario craft grower, Carmel. Carmel does smaller batches and as such availability can be an issue. In fact, if you don’t live in Ontario then as of the time of writing you are just out of luck short of having a friend in Ontario picking up some and forwarding it to you. Good luck with that though, as my previous experience with this grower was very positive so I didn’t exactly offer to send any of this on to Pancakenap to try.
Price is in the upper end of the market and my expectations are quite high so let’s see if they’ve earned that placement or if I am about to be really disappointed.
The lineage here is (Drew’s) Dark Helmet X MAC1, which we will discuss in a moment. According to their website the name gets the DIM bit since dim is a synonym of dark, while the MAC part is self evident. Is it supposed to be all caps? I think so, so I’m going with that. By plan or coincidence the name is really close to Dim Mak, which any martial arts movie fan should be able to tell you means DEATH TOUCH! This doesn’t mean Jean-Claude Van Damme approves, but until he denies it no one’s stopping you from believing he just might be on board. You don’t want to go up against him, he knows the Dim Mak technique! The message here is go watch Bloodsport.
The Dark Helmet genetics were initially sourced from Ocean Grown Seeds, who state this was an attempt to lock down the key traits of the infamous Forum Cut of Girl Scout Cookies. No link to the story of the Forum Cut as its true origin story is lost to internet bullshitting posts. It’s supposedly from a plant grown from GSC bagseed whose cuttings were traded in online forums a few years back. Or not. Who knows, all I can say is regardless of whatever the true origins are, I am a fan. The plant used here was selected by their head grower, Drew, which the producer also sells on its own.
The other half is Miracle Alien Cookies, aka MAC, from Capulator. Another GSC heavy variety that I most associate with the citrus creamsicle taste I haven’t experienced anywhere else as of yet. This LP also does a MAC which I have tried and really liked. Note their house brand MAC is the one bred into this, and also sadly they are discontinuing said MAC 1, so there is a very limited time left to try their version. It’s the presence of the MAC 1 genetics here that motivated my purchase
The producer traces their origins back to the legacy medical market and they continue to display a lot of the craft pride that market produced at its best. They have a craft designation here in Ontario which is always worth repeating refers only to the methods used to grow, harvest and cure their product but makes no comment on quality. Yes, taking the steps it takes to get the craft designation is correlated to quality, but not perfectly as some non-craft offerings are high calibre while some craft designated products I have had have been less than exemplary.
Due to part of my family background I took note of the producer’s name and contacted them for some clarity. Carmel can refer to a few locations in the world but primarily Mt. Carmel in northern Israel. Also, taken purely on its own the word Carmel is from Hebrew and depending on the source you consult means either “garden” or more specifically/poetically “vineyard of God”. I am not a scholar of ancient Hebrew, the only languages I am vaguely functional in are English, Mathematics and Python, and further I am no religious scholar so I take no position on what the proper translation should be. The representative told me there is a connection to the Mt. Carmel region as the founder’s family originates from there, and that it didn’t hurt that the meaning of the word as discussed above is pretty appropriate for a producer (regardless of which translation is correct, either meaning works) so the name is meaningful on multiple levels.
This producer uses a foil lined plastic bag. Pluses of this style is it uses less plastic than plastic jars and it is very reliable at sealing in scents and moisture content while keeping most light out (the foil layer is very thin so some light can transverse it, but this is far from an issue). This type of packaging prevents the surface trichomes from being broken off as severely as often happens with jars. Further they flush with nitrogen gas so no oxidation will occur until the seal is broken. They claim this also gives you a punch of scent when you open the package you don’t get with plain air. I have no idea if that’s true, I only know it should definitely extend shelf life without any danger to the consumer nor changes in the cannabis’ chemistry. Minuses are the bud can get damaged from crushing forces more easily in this packaging compared to jars as well as challenges for recycling this type of packaging. Check with your municipality if they accept this type of packaging or failing that see if your local cannabis store will accept the packaging back to send to a recycling program.
Packaging date is September 14th, 2021 which is 48 days from when I opened the package to start evaluating. Of note is since this is a new offering from the grower the time in storage is likely to be minimal. Weight was just a touch over 3.5 grams.
This cultivar features spruce tree shaped buds.
I really don’t like discussing effects as they are subjective in many ways and I am also a total lightweight as far as tolerance to THC goes. That said I spent a very long time researching shapes of evergreen trees to find the closest shape match after my first sampling.
In hindsight that research time was wasted as the buds are clearly shaped like the classic style of Kong brand dog chew-toys.
Stigmas are rich orange, surface detail is well preserved and colouring varies between light and dark over the bud. Coverage is as good as I could ask for. Trim is pretty close to flawless, no errant stems, no crows feet, no damage from the trim process, just flower presented with no distractions. Care was taken with each bud, they are clearly proud of this product and want us to know it.
Bud size was one big one and a few medium and smaller buds. The presence of the smaller buds is the only negative of note.
Under compression it’s dense. I found it hard to compress at all and it showed some nice return. What jumps out as soon as you let off the pressure is just how sticky these buds are. I am not hesitant to say the feel is pretty well ideal. Feels just chewy enough in the grinder to be satisfying and grounds are fluffy with good cohesion. A pleasure to roll wit
Opening the pack the first scents identified were the background; orange zest, a strong acrid undertone, orange creamsicle but on the negative side a hint of freshly mown grass. Shifting focus to the main composition, I was struck with how familiar it was but had difficulty putting my finger on it at first. Then the light finally went on, It’s full-on Girl Scout Cookies.
Grinding releases an extra note of rich pine, completing the palette from the same grower’s MAC1. The final lineup is Cookies headlining with MAC1 as the opening act.
Volcano: Heat starts bringing out the cookies at full force. Sweet, fuelly, lemon candy cookies is how I would describe the taste. With subsequent uses the taste remains strong but shifts through skunkier notes which progresses to lavender before it dries down to a not-unpleasant scorched rubber taste.
Joint: Taste expression is a bit different here, on the exhale the cookie elements take a back seat to the citruses. Bitter peel zest and sweet lemon candy tastes compete for attention for a giddy effect. The cookies side lives in the aftertaste, staying with you for a while after smoking is done. The burn is pretty clean, ash is quite pale and the joint doesn’t need to be relit in the time I smoked it for. Combustion product tastes are as minimal as one can realistically expect. The paper started forming a resin ring early on signaling a nice, rich smoke.
Much of the time in the legal market the cannabis might be actually quite good in a vaporizer but when switching over to smoking the product can be non consumable due to terrible burn characteristics. In some of our blind reviews I went back later to try it in a joint and in hindsight revised down my opinion. This is a product I have no problem saying smokes just fine.
Price and Value
I picked this up from Toke in Toronto. Price was $50 even after tax, which is close enough to $14.29 a gram.
The label claims the active content is 221.55 mg/g of THC with CBD negligible if even present. This works out to about $6.45 per 100 mg of THC. If that’s your sole metric, it’s clearly a difficult sell. Terpene content is labeled at 2.17%, with limonene, farnesene and caryophyllene listed as the dominant molecules detected. We don’t even need to note that terpenes are not the only aroma compounds in cannabis to know this is going to pack strong scents and tastes. If you are mostly seeking flavour and scent, the price is far easier to justify.
Is there value here? To me the market skews too high in price, but the market disagrees with me and asks a higher price across all tiers than I would prefer to pay. As such I tend to feel with most products the regular price is too high and it would be best to wait for a sale to pay what is the actual fair price in my opinion. Here I find myself having to admit I am perfectly fine with the price I paid.
This is top shelf product and top shelf pricing is fair for the full experience of this cannabis.
Let’s take a look at the data from CannStandard. We can see I am not alone in being comfortable with the asking price, Carmel as a producer is 3rd highest in market share for 3.5 gram packages priced $40 to $50 in Canada. Note this is a more impressive position than one might think as Carmel sells in Ontario only, so they sell enough in one province alone to be third in sales in class in the country.
I like my weed to tell me a story. The story of the genetics, of the grower, the grow process and so on. This is why I like to go into details about the genetics and the producer. This producer feels the same way, they are up front and open about what genetics they use, why they picked them and so on. This does help me enjoy my experience and adds depth to it. However, to enjoy the experience first and foremost the cannabis has to be nice to consume. A well told story about a turd is just a story about a turd after all. This is a well told story about the opposite of a turd, which I have decided is a sample of pure titanium metal for some reason. I guess my point here is that you can pretty well expect at least one really terrible and often unpleasant metaphor from me per review.
That and I really like this cannabis.