Dear Friend & Subscriber-
It’s that time of year again: THC Championship Judging!
Well, technically it’s been that time of year. But I try to wait to share my raw judge’s feedback until the submission deadline for judges has passed. That deadline was the end of February.
I’ve been judging The Hemp Connoisseur’s THC Championship for the past few years, and it gets better every year.
While legality is not always a top focus for connoisseurs, a nod is most certainly due to them for being the longest-running, fully-legal cannabis judging event in Colorado. But more important for connoisseurs is whether their input is received and acted upon. This year’s boxes have shown that THC staff pay attention to the feedback from judges and that makes it that much more rewarding to continue to participate in this event.
For 2022’s first batch of entries (Part A), I was lucky enough to judge:
Recreational Diamonds & Sauce
Med Live Resin
Med Cured Concentrates (Budder, Crumble, Wax, Shatter)
The judges boxes this year got smaller and sleeker; better suited for concentrates and smaller goods than the large boxes of previous years.
As you may know, branding and packaging are big for me; and I love noticing little updates. One such update was listening to judges’ feedback last year regarding the jars used for the entries. The new jars make seeing the concentrates and opening the jars much easier, all while remaining childproof.
In total, there were 20 concentrate entries, each 0.25 grams in weight (typically 2-3 dabs).
5 - Diamond & Sauce
4 - Solventless
7 - Live Resin
4 - Cured
To most of my friends, “judging” seems like an excuse to spend an hour a day trying different cannabis products, and to an extent, it is, but judging cannabis is different than your normal consumption routine.
Judging is very different for me than just simply smoking. I smoke a joint while I’m on a conference call. I smoke a blunt at a concert.
“Smoking" denotes a passive interaction with cannabis; cannabis is not the main focus, but an ancillary additive.
At some point or another, we’ve all been handed a joint at one point and did one of those hey-may-where’d-you-get-this-that’s-something-special double-takes. In that case, sure, you notice a difference in quality of weed. But it’s unintentional; yYou didn’t step outside from your eight course meal to smoke a joint to judge it on taste and potency.
Judging cannabis requires cannabis being the sole recipient of your focus.
Like wine or whiskey or beer, cannabis can be consumed casually (smoking), or can be tasted and judged, focusing specifically on its unique attributes. Sure, it’s fun. But it’s also about respecting the process.
Judging requires paying attention to appearance, aroma, taste, burnability and efficacy (does it get you high?).
If you take your entries and roll them up into one big joint or pack a “salad” bowl of your favorite few, you’re not able to accurately review which entry is responsible for what you’re experiencing. The staff advises waiting a few hours between samples. My advice is–especially if you’re a heavier consumer–start with the entry you’re judging, give it time to take effect, and, then, if you want to add to your high, enjoy something other than another entry, and make note of the lack of potency in your reviews.
So, over the course of 28 days, I judged 20 samples.
I love the judging process. It tests my own ability to articulate what I am experiencing, and it connects me with other judges at the awards event at the end. It would be great if there was a discord or something of the sort for us to all interact during the process, but I suppose that might jade our feedback as well.
This year I felt that each category was a little light on entries, and I’ve talked to THC about this specifically.
David (Maddalena, owner of THC Championship) and I go back a few years, so whenever I’ve got an idea or question, I give him a call. He has stated multiple times that the biggest issue they have is when committed entrants back out last minute due to their final products. There are a much larger amount of entrants per category that commit than actually turn in their entries, even if that means forsaking their entry fees which can become quite costly.
Typically, the reason a category would only have a handful of entries is if competing brands did not feel confident entering their final products.
This could be for a variety of reasons. There could have been a management turnover during the particular competition grow cycle. There could have been a system failure or power outage that created unexpected challenges from typical results.
Whatever the reasoning, a lack of confidence in final products–that will still be sold on market but not entered for judging–does give a little extra credence to growing your own…but I digress.
There are incredible licensed producers who make boutique-quality, small-batch products. There’s also a lot of average, mid-grade weed being sold every day because people will buy it. That holds true both on and off market.