I was just out at the Hall of Flowers held yearly at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa, California. While there, I had a chance to taste the fine flowers offered by fumé, and without even being patient and getting some at the show, I bought some from a dispensary. I knew that there would be no shortage of fine flowers available to me, but if I wanted to capture any tasting notes, I was forced by necessity to do them early in my day’s work. Such is the life of a cannabis-tasting notes aficionado. At least it’s not like doing a rum tasting. The hangovers from the sugar were insurmountable sometimes. Cannabis offers no such experience, especially not cannabis, from companies such as fumé. They offer such an elevated show. It’s refreshing to smoke their offerings early in my tasting routine, which this year was no disappointment.
Please enjoy the following interview with Ian Hackett, Napa Valley Fumé CMO, and Head of Compliance. Did I say that their herbs are deliciously different?
Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about the new brand.
Ian Hackett: We created our new brand, fumé (pronounced foo-may), in an effort to showcase what we believe to be some of California’s best cannabis strains. We developed this premium line with the educated cannabis consumer in mind; those who seek out unique strains with complex terpene profiles and are grown by farmers who honor the plant and go the extra mile to grow responsibly in order to protect the planet. The fumé consumer understands that terpenes are key players in their experience, and they have a passion for sustainability and giving back to the cannabis community, two key components of our brand. We evaluated dozens of strains–held blind sensory panels for aroma, taste, and experience–and met with the growers in person to hand-pick the strains. To complete the experience, we coupled them with premium smoking accessories that allow people to experience the true flavor of these terpene-rich cultivars. We wanted to push the envelope in terms of cannabis packaging. I have an issue with the number of single-use plastics that, due to regulations, we can’t really avoid. So, I worked with an amazing packaging supplier, and my designer and I came up with a stunning, child-resistant certified, plastic-free solution for our king cones, pre-roll packs, and flower.
WB: Why cannabis?
IH: I want to help people. It’s simply part of who I am. I believe that the cannabis plant–with all of its healing properties–can help people fix themselves. The positive results have been demonstrated time and time again. From the medical perspective and how critical cannabis was in helping those suffering from HIV/AIDS and cancer starting in the 80s to how it’s used today to treat PTSD for our Veterans, and it is helping so many people who suffer from anxiety and depression with real results. We should try and heal ourselves, not mask or medicate with opioids that have been overprescribed and subsequently abused for many decades. That said, I also see the massive opportunity that the cannabis industry brings to the economy. I was lucky enough to be part of the e-commerce boom, and to me–aside from space–the cannabis industry is the next frontier.
WB: Indoor or outdoor grown? Why?
IH: I believe that outdoor is the ideal growing style for cannabis. It’s the most natural and cost-effective method. I just love the idea of the cannabis plants basking under the California sun and swaying under our big blue skies. That said, I am a big fan and love a good greenhouse grow. You can take advantage of the sun’s energy, maintain a hospitable environment when mother nature is having a bad day, and you can have multiple harvests per year. We have one sun-grown strain in the fumé lineup called Dank Fruit, and it recently took third place in High Times’ NorCal Cannabis Cup in the sun-grown category. It’s a cross between Purple Papaya Punch x Blue Dream. I dubbed it an introvert’s paradise, and it’s my current go-to weekday strain because it delivers such a well-balanced high, and it smokes super smooth. The other two strains in the fumé line are absolute stunners. Our Double Chem OG (Light Dep) is a heavy-hitter and delivers that body buzz before taking you into a calm, relaxed state. And, our Cherry AK (Mixed Light) has an incredible nose—I get goosebumps whenever I smell it. It’s sweet and piney, and it packs a burst of energy right out of the gate; it’s a cerebral banger, and you’ll want to move around.
WB: Favorite let’s get stoned food, where?
IH: Gimme the salt all day. Pretzels, pizza (duh), and olives. This is why I really love an overflowing Mezze platter when I smoke with friends. I like the freshness of a Mezze platter and how savory the items are—the olives, feta, eggplant, tzatziki, and the warm flatbreads just hit the spot for me. With a loaded Mezze platter, there is something for everyone so we can just settle in, listen to music, talk, and graze and blaze.
WB: What is your passion?
IH: I am honestly just in love with the cannabis community. I have never felt so protective, engaged with, and proud of a group of people. I want to help people find healing with the plant and bring joy to others through recreational use. So, to combine my passion for helping and healing through the plant with my professional desire to build things, I have found an industry and community that gets the best parts of me. I have used cannabis since high school recreationally and medically after my first panic attack about eight years ago. But, being able to work with the plant, develop products and brands, and collaborate with some amazing growers, marketers, retailer buyers, and my awesome team makes me very thankful for the opportunity I have been given to work in this industry.
*Unique, high-quality cannabis, grown responsibly
fumé strains are uncommon as they are small-batch cannabis with complex cannabinoid and terpene profiles that deliver a full-spectrum experience. The strains are visually appealing, have vibrant colors, and produce enticing aromas when squeezed. Each large bud was cured to perfection and hand-trimmed with care.
The flower is sourced based on the sustainability of the grower’s cultivation practices. The brand showcases the growers, many of whom are heritage growers who have honed their craft of growing small-batch cannabis sustainably and responsibly. That means no run-off from their grow, no chemicals or toxic chemicals are used, and they don’t import water.
*Elevated packaging and smoking accessories
fumé strains are offered in three formats–Flower (3.5g), King Cone (1g), and Pre-Roll Pack (3.5g). The flower is beautifully packaged in a premium UV-resistant, air-tight flower jar that preserves the flower five times longer than any other jar on the market. The King Cone and Pre-Roll Pack include custom cherry wood smoke tips created by a small wood accessory maker in the US and an organic beeswax hemp wicks to remove the taste of sulfur from a matchstick or butane from a lighter, allowing to taste the flower in its truest form. fumé packaging is totally sustainable, 100% recyclable, and child-resistant certified–to open the King Cone and Pre-Roll Packs, you simply insert a credit card to expose the snug-fit tray where each cone joint is housed in a glass tube with a cork for freshness.
*Giving back to the cannabis community
In 2020, Napa Valley Fumé partnered with Last Prisoner Project to free people who are currently incarcerated for a drug that is no longer illegal. The company continues to be an active partner with continued support in its ongoing efforts with recurring monthly donations. Napa Valley Fumé is proud to be long-standing supporters of Last Prisoner Project.
fumé is now available throughout California on Eaze.com, Sweet Flower in Los Angeles, and select High Times dispensaries.
About Napa Valley Fumé
Napa Valley Fumé is a vertically integrated cannabis company based in Napa, CA. The company’s mission–Planting Trees for Future Generations–comes from its vision to plant seeds to grow a brighter future for cannabis by bringing the most innovative products and experiences to market. Its first brand–LAKE GRADE–entered the market in July 2019, and its proprietary strains quickly became one of the most popular sun-grown cannabis on the market. In August 2021, Napa Valley Fumé launched its flagship brand–fumé–for those who seek an elevated cannabis experience.
To learn more, visit www.fumebrands.com.
Warren Bobrow has been a dishwasher, the owner of the first company to make fresh pasta in South Carolina , a television engineer and he even worked at Danceteria in NYC, then a trained chef which led to a twenty year career in private banking. A cannabis, wine and travel aficionado, Warren is a former rum judge and craft spirits national brand ambassador. He works full time in the cannabis business as an alchemist/journalist. Cocktailwhisperer.com Drinkklaus.com Instagram: warrenbobrow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Bobrow