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Mandarin Cookies makes you feel rightly, appropriately, high 

click to enlarge In a Goldilocks kind of way, Mandarin Cookies makes you feel just right. - BRANDON SODERBERG
  • Brandon Soderberg
  • In a Goldilocks kind of way, Mandarin Cookies makes you feel just right.

The first time you got high, what was that like? Not necessarily the first time you “smoked up,” mind you — it seems like every few folks I talk to have that story about how their first time ended up with them not really affected at all, and often the first time or the first few times are just foggy, weird, loopy or ended with a straight-up freakout. What I’m asking you to remember is the first time when weed’s charms and effects were clear and present and undeniable. When you realized why people did this at all, or frequently, or like, all of the time — pot revealed itself as a sort of prophylactic against the everyday and average-ass (and with it, if you’re Gen X or Gen Y, how that ridiculous D.A.R.E. program you endured where some cops came in and told you all drugs were the same and once you smoked pot you’d be doing harder drugs in no time was, well, bogus).

So yeah, think of how you felt, when you were just rightly, appropriately, high for the first time. That’s how Mandarin Cookies makes you feel. No fuss here, its unhurried high gives you a rumble in your joints, some flitting around in your head, calms you down and offers up an oddly transcendent realization that you can sit, not doing much, and feel fine — especially when the high stops short of nervousness or paranoia.

And while Mandarin Cookies’ high is profoundly basic, the buds themselves look strange and special — light green and covered in so many crunchy trichomes that it appears almost mustard-colored, and when you crack it open, nearly white, albino-looking, it’s eerie, releasing a smell that teases sweetness, landing somewhere between orange-pineapple juice (cheap, viscous, bodega kind) and patchouli. Mandarin Cookies is a combination of Girl Scout Cookies, which you don’t need to have explained any more than it already has been I’m sure, and Mandarin Sunset, a narrowcasting, numbing sort of Indica. Somehow those two strains together, and the allegedly even split between an Indica and Sativa it brings with it, conjure up a sort of straight-shooting stoned feeling — a high of the mind’s eye, on the cusp of too much, or a deeper intensity that gets pulled back before it can go there. I’m convinced the story of cannabis as it gets more complicated thanks to legalization and commercialism is a sort of Rube-Goldberg-machine-like game in which we’re crossbreeding and combining strains and growing it all under these expert conditions and whatever only to get where it began: a coy buzz that lets you stare off from the couch for a couple hours.

But something this simple and predictable is rare. Cannabis culture is thankfully complicated now, with subtler, more nuanced, harsher, almost narcotic strains and everything in between, all of which some folks somewhere need. Everybody though, will get something out of Mandarin Cookies.

Strength: 7
Nose: High-fructose-corn-syrup-packed “fruit” juice and vanilla ice cream
Euphoria: 8
Existential dread: 2
Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 2
Drink pairing: The first beer you ever drank
Music pairing: Ernest Hood’s Neighborhoods
Rating: 8

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