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Blackwater starts a little psychedelic, then goes mellow

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We can’t suss out the inspiration for the name, but we like Blackwater’s high. - BAYNARD WOODS
  • Baynard Woods
  • We can’t suss out the inspiration for the name, but we like Blackwater’s high.

Blackwater, a heavy-duty Indica, inexplicably tastes like boiled hot dogs. It’s not exactly like eating hot dogs, but like working at a hot dog stand on a lake in the summer somewhere and holding your face above the steam coming up from a vat of encased meats bouncing around in boiling water. This isn’t just a super-loose association — my fellow reviewer Brandon Soderberg had a similar reaction. And it’s not just situational. We had just eaten a ton of Korean barbecue, but two days later, the boiled meat flavor remained.

The flavor profile of this cross between San Fernando Valley OG Kush and Mendo Purps is particularly strange given the saccharine, fake-fruit smell of the unburnt flower, overset with the slightly noxious smell of a fig rotting beneath a tree on the ground.

The effect is also surprising and murky. It comes on like the very initial stages of something psychedelic and then mellows into a confident, anti-anxiety, easygoing flow. These characteristics aren’t so commonly paired. Usually if you get the almost hallucinatory tinge, it stays a little tweaked and shrill until it fades away. And if you get the super-chill relaxation, it will likely not start with a bit of wigging.
Maybe if you sit on the couch it would make you tired, but we have been out of town working and have taken a few tokes at night and then just gone randomly walking on empty West Coast late-night streets, full of fragments of wonder at weird architecture or vegetation.

It goes exceptionally well with a Tecate beer to create the illusion of youth, where you feel, for a moment, invincible rather than crushed beneath the weight of your worries.

As is so often the case, the name of this strain is just fucking atrocious. OK, at first, you have some nice associations — a lake or a river dyed black by the tannins of fallen leaves — but quickly you recall the military contracting company founded by Betsy DeVos’ even worse brother Erik Prince. Blackwater’s mercenary work had such a bad reputation that they changed the name to Xe Services in 2009 and Academi since 2011.



On the other hand, it was likely The Doobie Brothers’ song “Blackwater” that inspired the name, given the stoner love of double entendre that made countless high school toke buddies refer to themselves by the band’s name. But really, are the Doobie Brothers that much better than Erik Prince? Yes, I guess, yes they are.

But as I smoke this strain, rambling in a dreamlike city, it fits the dream logic perfectly, blending it all into Homer and the Greeks sailing the wine-dark sea both to go to war and to come home.

Strength: 5
Nose: Boiled hot dogs, rotting figs
Euphoria: 7
Existential dread: 2
Freaking out when a crazy person approaches you: 0
Drink pairing: Tecate
Music pairing: “Wine Dark Sea” by The Barnyard Sharks (full disclosure, my band)
Rating: 6

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