Chernobyl: bad name, energetic high 

click to enlarge Beware: Chernobyl's high ends with a crash, “almost a jolt of ragged exhaustion.” - BAYNARD WOODS
  • Baynard Woods
  • Beware: Chernobyl's high ends with a crash, “almost a jolt of ragged exhaustion.”

Start this week with a correction. In my recent review of Phyllis, I gave it an overall score of 5 by accident. It was actually an 8. I didn’t spot my own typo and so of course there’s no way my editor could know I meant to assign a different numerical judgment than the one I typed. So take this as both a correction and a disclaimer. Distrust all numerical ratings of subjective experiences, because quantitizing experience is not only prone to errors, but perhaps an error in itself.

I am lucky that my errors result in, well, maybe, just maybe a slightly decreased interest in a fine strain and not, say, the Soviet nuclear power plant disaster that happened in 1986 in Chernobyl, which is both the name of the weed I am reviewing and the title of a popular new series. I had hoped that by reviewing the strain, I would force myself to finally watch the series. Dear reader, I did not.

And I won’t spend long belaboring the obvious horror of this as a name for your strain. But I’ve written about noxious names so goddamn often now that I am just going to assume that there is some hidden law, like putting diseased lungs on cigarette packs, that forces us to affix ridiculously bad monikers to our mota.

So despite its name that belittles great suffering, this strain has an extraordinarily energetic high that I kept coming back to over the course of a couple weeks. It starts with a slow warming, rising awareness that soon envelopes you like the windows of a dreamy but bustling 19th-century arcade. It then moves onto a period of flex that is almost manic. It’s great for getting work done in that space where doer and deed ain’t no different, where you’re fully engaged in what you are doing. 

It stays there for about two hours, a relatively long and stable sense of uplift. But on the backside — and maybe this is where the name came from — there is a crash. You come out of that state of absorption with a shock, almost a jolt of ragged exhaustion. A light 2:1 CBD to THC edible eases that problem and a couple more tokes bring the uplift back. But you should still be aware that it isn’t as subtle a comedown as a lot of the strains have achieved these days. Both the rise and fall are faster.

The wretched name may also have been inspired by the bud’s eerie green glow that seems almost too bright to be found in nature, an Andy Warhol screenprint of a flower. In the jar, unburnt, it smells like a long-awaited downpour on an equinox evening, as the light hovers, fractured and glowing in the rain. When vaporized, that almost musky rainy-day essence becomes something more fruity, like the final blackberries dying on a brambly vine.

And perhaps that is the hope of this horribly named but mighty fine strain — some species at least will outlast us and our errors.

Strength: 8
Nose: Rain on the equinox in the last dying blackberries on a vine
Euphoria: 8
Existential Dread: 6
Freaking Out When a Crazy Person Approaches You: 3
Drink Pairing: Homemade blackberry wine
Music Pairing:  “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” by Bob Dylan
Rating: 9


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