Warren Bobrow=WB: One of the gifts that I’ve received while working in the cannabis industry is the ability to taste cannabis as if it was wine. Wine reviewing was where I started in the “tasting” business. The flavors and aromatics that are present in terroir-driven wine translate easily to cannabis and it has unlocked my brain in ways previously unknown to me.
Out in California, cannabis is grown in soil that may have held grapes. It’s uncanny to drink wines from places like Mendocino, then smoke cannabis from these micro-climates. They taste nearly the same. It’s the soil at work. Enter the indoor growing scene with hydroponics and LED lighting entering the fray. Geneticists in cannabis in conjunction to soil scientists use specific techniques to emulate the power of the sun and the richness of the soil without using any soil at all. Places like Colorado with limited outdoor growing are leading the way towards making indoor grown cannabis every bit as pertinent as their outdoor grown brethren.
Enter to the cannabis cultivar scene Danny Murr-Sloat, Founder of AlpinStash. Digging a bit deeper here with some germane questions pertaining to cannabis propagation and his craft.
WB: What are the earliest cannabis names, who was responsible for naming them, and why were they given such names?
Danny Murr-Sloat=DMS: Some of the earliest names include cultivars familiar to those alive in the ‘60s and ‘70s: Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, Thai Stick…just to name a few. These were all heirloom/land-bound cultivars with names reflecting the geographic area they were originally from and physical descriptions of the flower itself. As these heirloom cultivars began to be hybridized, the resulting progeny had names such as Skunk, Big Bud, Blueberry and Haze. These cultivars, as well as cultivars today, are originally named by the breeders who created the cultivar. These names, again, often reflect physical traits of said cultivar. Big Bud, for example, grows big buds and Blueberry smells and tastes like blueberries.
WB: What makes a name most successful, and are there limits to a name?
DMS:This is a good question and there is an art to naming a cultivar, for sure. A successful name needs to be memorable and roll off the tongue. Names that are clunky and hard to remember often fall by the wayside. If a name can implant a pleasant or funky image in one’s mind, all the better. Many of the dessert-themed cultivars, such as Girl Scout Cookies, Wedding Cake and Lemon Biscotti, do just this. If you get a cultivar called Lemon Biscotti, you already have a preconceived and pleasant notion of how it will taste and smell. Just like the old school cultivar names I mentioned above, many of these also have roots in the physical description of the cultivar, usually taste and/or smell.
WB: How do you choose names for your AlpinStash Originals?
DMS: Most breeders try to include some homage to a parent cultivar in the new name. Our cultivar Grape Grimoire, for example, is a cross of Grape Ape and Moxie Dog. It was important for us to include “grape” in the name not only as a smell/taste descriptor, but as a nod to the Grape Ape mom. Another example would be our cultivar Emperor’s Breath, a cross of our AlpinStash Original Lemmiwinks and a cultivar called Pug’s Breath by Thug Pug. When we were naming this cross, we wanted to include “breath” in there, an obvious inclusion once we realized that she smells like an emperor’s breath after a feast. We settled on “emperor” because Lemmiwinks is the Gerbil King, and “emperor” is a synonym for “king.” There really is no limit to a cultivar name and picking out a good name is one of my favorite parts of the breeding process. Sometimes this style of naming doesn’t work, and we just go with what inspires us and what seems to fit, like we did with Lemmiwinks.
WB: What’s the future of cannabis names, given now that cross-pollination is rampant?
DMS: We will see a lot more copyrighting of cultivar names, and there will be lots of drama in the industry as this begins. Issues are already popping up when two different breeders name a cultivar the same name.
WB: What inspires your breeding program at AlpinStash?
DMS: First and foremost, we breed for ourselves. We want to create cultivars that excite us and then share them with the market. While traits like bud/growth structure, cannabinoid profile, and coloration play a role in what we select to cross, terpene and flavonoid profile are the most important traits we seek. When it comes to selecting something, I want to smoke, I always follow my nose. After all, if it smells and tastes like crap, it doesn’t matter how sticky or pretty the flower is, I wouldn’t personally ingest it again.
WB: How do you choose what becomes an AlpinStash Original?
DMS: This is an easy question to answer: the cultivar/phenotype has to tick every one of our boxes: smell, flavor, coloration, bud structure, and quality of the high. We’re not looking for A cultivars, we’re only interested in growing A+ plants.
WB: Which ones are your favorites and why?
DMS: I love all of the AlpinStash Originals we grow for different reasons! We rotate some cultivars and always grow others, though. The ones we always flower are Lemmiwinks, Sparrow King, Emperor’s Breath, Cookie Confundo, Orange Creamsicle, and Tegridy Cookies — these cultivars are our most popular and are always requested by our customers.
WB: Any tips for breeders just getting started in their journey?
DMS: If you start with parents, you like and show the growth traits you’re personally interested in, you will have a higher chance of being successful. Just go with what moves and inspires you and ignore the buzz behind many of today’s “hype strains,” unless you absolutely love said cultivar because of its physical characteristics!
Danny Murr-Sloat, Founder of AlpinStash
Danny Murr-Sloat inspires many as the famed owner of AlpinStash who credits consuming and growing cannabis with losing 70 pounds, transitioning off over 19 prescriptions including opiates for an array of medical issues, and eventually becoming one of the most revered micro-cultivation brands in Colorado. He’s also a prolific breeder. Since 2014, he’s steadily built the AlpinStash brand through his meticulously bred in-house cultivars, several of which are cult favorites among Colorado connoisseurs. Murr-Sloat’s Lemmiwinks, Sparrow King, Falkor, Grape Grimoire, and Platinum Tiger Cookies cultivars are flying off the shelves, which is especially notable in a state where the retail system pays little homage to growers, if at all. Danny’s secret is keeping operations small-scale, paying attention to the finest details, and adding his personal touch to everything AlpinStash grows. To learn more about the Alpinstash breeding program and Danny’s exclusive in-house cultivars, please visit: https://alpinstash.com