To meet the interests and demands of an evolving and competitive medical market, Arizona cannabis brand Huxton recently launched a premium flower line for the discerning consumers in the company’s patient base.
Huxton’s BLCK line showcases a “glass-to-glass” slow-cured flower product, in which the finest colas of three strains are hand-picked, treated with care and cured for more than a month in large glass jars, according to the company. BLCK was introduced with Huxton’s Green Crack, Cannalope Haze and Wonder Woman strains—the company’s “star performers,” head cultivator Matt LaScala says: “our Clydesdales, for lack of a better term.”
The end result is a picturesque eighth of flower, packaged in smaller glass jars for the consumer—but the process begins, of course, in the grow room.
“Those tops are only selected by either myself or my harvest supervisor,” LaScala says. “They're not whole-plant harvests. It's all touch-driven, so it's just the best tops literally hand-selected by one of the two of us. And then it's only ever hand-trimmed. There's zero mechanical processing.”
The company’s staff sees the glass-curing process as a vital element of cannabis cultivation. It harkens back to earlier days, where small farmers drove the industry, step by step, into the national consciousness.
“It's really well-received, because it's more of a smaller grower technique,” LaScala says. “Knowing cannabis as long as we have -- and lot of us are patients -- it's something that we've always done [to store] our cannabis ... before all of these high-tech moisture management systems. Glass was all you had. It's a very traditional method of curing cannabis. We all love it, and we all find a huge value in it. And the patients love the story.”
The company’s cultivators became so enamored of the process that they made sure that every Huxton flower product would go through the glass-curing stage. But while every flower product gets about 30 days in the glass jars, BLCK products are cured for another two-week cycle—and sometimes longer. (It really helps sharpen the terpenes,” LaScala says. “It homogenizes the batch -- the uniformity as far as moisture, terpene content. There are no hand and fast rules; either it's there and it made it or it's not. It's completely dependent on the batch ... and our selection.”)
The BLCK line also includes half-gram, single-strain pre-rolls (also packaged in glass). For the state’s approximately 170,000 medical marijuana patients, the new products present a fresh perspective on the plant.
“A lot of those patients are cannaseurs, if you will,” Huxton co-founder Chelsea Johnson says. “They know the details—they know strong terpene profiles and they can look at a bud and notice the intricacies of the structure and the colors and the aroma. There [was] a need for maybe a more distinct product line.”
And for Huxton, the BLCK line is the latest iteration of the company mission to meet consumer demand for particular experiences. It's a natural complement to Huxton’s Vibe series, which packages single-strain flower products into three experiential categories: Rise, HiFi and Zen, each correlating to a particular set of physiological effects.
“One of the biggest questions patients were asking was, 'How is this going to make me feel?'” Johnson says. “For all the products, they wanted to know and be in control of that experience.” The company’s top brass looked around and saw branded edibles, concentrates and vape products—but no branded flower. The Vibe series led to the BLCK line, and Huxton’s brand became forged in the consumer reception of these curated products.
All told, while consumers are enjoying the BLCK products (the first shipment of pre-rolls sold out at local dispensaries immediately, Johnson says), the product line offers an important lesson for growers intent on ensuring quality in a highly competitive marketplace—which is to say: all cannabis growers in 2018.
Huxton’s slow-curing process keeps the company accountable to itself.
“All of our products do touch the glass, because it was such a well-received process,” LaScala says. “It just ended up being a valuable homogenization point and another QC point for us in Arizona. It was so well-received that we extended that glass step to all of our products. The BLCK was the original product for it, so that was kind of the idea behind it.”
Top photo courtesy of Huxton