With three years removed from the original Desert Smoke-off, a new set of contenders brought the heat to the desert.
And they have a lot of hype to live up to. The original Desert Smoke-off was no joke. The winner, Gelonade, would go on to win the first indoor Emerald Cup last year ahead of the L.A. move to the Montalban next month. Area 41 also has held up well as a popular top-shelf pick in the years since.
But with Coachella finally back on, it’s time to crown a new set of winners. We had some industry veterans and influencers run through the contenders on weekend one with us, and here are this year’s winners in the flower and preroll:
Best in Show – Wizard Trees\Fiya Farmer – Zangria
While there were many reputable offerings in this year’s flower contest, it was hard not to call Zangria the star of the show. The cool packaging proved to not be a gimmick, and more so a flashy gateway to some very exceptional terpenes from the blend of Thin Mint Cookies and Z. I would say generally the flavor profile leans on the Z terps, but the sharpness of the Gelato cuts through to spice it up a bit. We could not stop going back for second looks and smells, as we watched excitement fill the air when the bag was passed around to different groups throughout the weekend.
Good Greens – Gas Pedal
While Zangria stole the show, it would be criminal not to offer honorable mentions to Good Greens for its Gas Pedal. It was arguably the most full-bodied offering in the contest and some might even argue it was the most LA-weed of the pack. It hid most of the fuel notes when you just smell the jar, but as soon as you crunch into it, they all jump right out and dominate the bud’s new aroma. After you enjoy the delicious not-quite-OG flavor, expect the onset of effects quickly.
CAM – Bubba Girl/Biscotti-oti-oti
Both CAM offerings had an argument for a spot on the podium. The Bubba Birl was more the wet towels kushiness that comes with some Afghanis. While it may not have had all the flavor boxes checked compared to the wildly flavorful jar of Biscoti-oti-oti next to it, it basically beat out everything else.
The Biscotti-oti-oti was a symphony of dessert weed notes – like the best Gelato or Sunset Sherberts you’ve ever tasted in your life, dusted with a pinch of cherry Kool-aid on top. That terpene profile came all the way through in the flavor compared to some other sweet-smelling strains that are all nose with no flavor when it counts. It doesn’t hit as hard as the previous offerings but still is a fun and adventurous high.
Sonoma Hills Farm – Pink Jesus
Our former covergirl still got it. Sonoma Hills Farm’s pairing of Cherry Cheesecake and Starfighter previously wowed us and the terps continue to shine. Our non-industry judges were surprised to discover it was outdoor, given it was a bit louder out of the jar than some of the indoor entries. The uplifting high also was a fun twist from the pack that was mostly filled with indicas and hybrids.
Winner THC Design Garlic Cocktail
THC Design reminded us again why farm-direct prerolls are the way to go with their symphony of terps in Garlic Cocktail. It would be fair to say these checked the box as number one in every aspect but innovation. But who needs new tech when the pot is this good!? Not you, Garlic Cocktail will get you absolutely ripped.
Highnstein Melonade Cross Joint
The weed in Highnstein’s cross joints is good enough that it doesn’t feel like a gimmick. While it fell a hair short of the top slot due to the heat THC Design is pushing, it was right on its heels. We were curious how it would burn after you got through the actual cross section, but everything remained functional down to the end. It takes a bit of lighter work to keep the three sides even, but isn’t enough to be a hassle.
Lime 2 Gram Blunts
The lone blunt offering in the contest was solid. The two-gram indica blunts were full-bodied and definitely capped off the podium for us on prerolls.
A big thanks to Flight Path in Desert Hot Springs for helping us receive the product for the contest. They also had a great Gelato they couldn’t enter that was grown in house and definitely worth looking into.