Ngaio Bealum’s top 8 ‘cultivars’

Ngaio Bealum. (Photo by SN&R)

Welcome back—2019 was a pretty good year for California weed. There were definitely a few hiccups, and the prices in the dispensaries are still a little high, but it was a great year for high-quality cannabis.

I smoked about 300 different cultivars (no one says “strains” anymore, we’re fancier than that now) in six different countries and who-knows-how-many states. As always, this list is California cuts only. So shout out to the Roadkill Skunk from Colorado via Kentucky, the Apple Jack in Amsterdam and the Cheese Glue in Barcelona. And now, in no particular order, are my top strains from 2019:


The Congo Club, Bay Area

Red Congolese

First you notice the hint of pine. Then you taste the earthy, slightly chocolatey flavor. Next is a beautiful, heady high. This flower from Amber E. Senter‘s team is top notch, proving that we need more black women in the weed game.


Greenshock Farms, Mendocino

Orange Terpentine

These guys don’t stop. Not only did their “P.O.G.” cultivar win second place and The Breeder’s Cup Award at the 2019 Emerald Cup, Orange Terpentine, from master grower Mark Greyshock’s personal stash, placed in the Top 10 and is my favorite new flavor of the year. Deep orange creaminess with a euphoric and casual high make it my go-to bud when I really want to chill out.


Provenance unknown


Fruity-fruity-fruity-fruity rockin’ everywhere! Got a sample from my friendly neighborhood weed dealer and was blown away. It’s a cross between Skittlez and Forbidden Fruit. Purple and mouthwatering. Tasted great and gave me the giggles. Find it.


Buddy Buddy, San Francisco

Northern Night

I like Buddy Buddy because they understand how to develop good flavors. All their cuts are fire, but my favorite from them last year was the Northern Night. The aroma is creamy and the buzz is smooth. Creamy and smooth. Mmmmm.


Specialé, Bay Area

Animal Crackers

I am generally not a big cookies or crackers or cake fan (I’m talking about cannabis flavors, not the food), but this bud won my heart with its gentle aroma and flavorful smokiness. Pairs wells with a nice scotch, if you are that sort of person.


Cookies, Oakland


A cross between Zkittles and Gelato, Runtz is fruity with a hint of kushiness and strong, myrcene-fueled effects. I didn’t smoke my bag all at once, I saved it for special occasions and to share with friends.


Jahnetics, Bay Area

Dream Machine

I got this one from a free-market homie, and Jahnetics as a team seem to be shrouded in secrecy. No matter. This cross of three different landrace strains (Indian, Afghani and Brazilian) is tasty with a strong pleasant-at-any-time buzz. I smoked all mine right away, then had to get more almost immediately.


Deep in the Foothills

Lemon Haze

I can’t remember how I got this. I think a homie at the Emerald Cup slipped me a giant bud. All I know is that it tastes like lemon and pine, and it makes me do stuff. Cleaned my kitchen, did my taxes and I even pulled out my carpet cleaner and gave my living room the once-over. Highly motivational.

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1 Comment on "Ngaio Bealum’s top 8 ‘cultivars’"

  1. I was surprised to know that you have tasted 300 different cultivars from six countries. I have not had the good fortune to smoke so much but I’ve tried the Northern Night once & it was so good I’ve ever tasted. I have kept eight cultivars’ names on my checklist from your writing & I will give feedback after tasting.

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