[vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_column_text]Fully flowering plants lined in rows like imperial soldiers fill a pristine, expansive white room from wall to wall and swollen colas bask beneath the radiant heat of 1,000-watt high-pressure sodium lights. Aromas of fresh citrus and pine are overwhelming. Microscopic analysis reveals light cloudiness that will transition to light amber trichomes: the optimum harvest time for the plants. The average trim crew that surrounds a grow at this time is non-existent. There will be no trim party here and no trim bins await laps. Buds won’t be manicured and dried. A different approach has been decided, a relatively new hydrocarbon solvent processing technique that yields a product known as live resin.
A solitary trimmer deftly moves about the garden, clipping the large, discolored fan leaves off the plant and into paper bags. A second trimmer follows through clipping fresh buds into another bag, gathering the flower before the plant is cut down. The buds that have been freshly harvested are hastily put into a cryogenic freeze. Capturing the freshest, most pristine essence of the cannabis plant and preserving the terpene-rich essential oil ensures optimal freshness. No degradation is the goal.
Aromatic hydrocarbons called terpenes are responsible for the palate and fragrance of cannabis flower. Over 100 different terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant, each strain possessing its own rich composition. Two of the most identifiable types are monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Monoterpenes such as myrcene, limonene, and alpha-Pinene are lighter in molecular weight than sesquiterpenes, which are more prevalent and familiar. Sesquiterpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, farnesol, and humulene are responsible for the fragrances in black pepper, hops, and oregano. On average, approximately 85% of all terpenes are lost during the drying and curing stage of harvest.
Butane hash oil is produced from hydrocarbon-extracted dried and cured cannabis flower or the sugary, trichome-bearing trim left over from harvest. These concentrates range in color and clarity depending on the freshness and quality of the beginning material used. Concentrate aficionados prefer terpene-rich concentrates. Those bearing robust flavor have been carefully produced: top-shelf buds are processed in high-end, closed-loop extraction systems at subzero temperatures. They then undergo several filtration methods before being purged of solvent residue with digitally controlled vacuum ovens.
Preferred butane hash oil varies in viscosity ranging from completely stable glass known as shatter to a transparent syrup called clear.
Live resin is butane hash oil that is produced using a specific method. The starting material is completely fresh, high-grade bud. The genesis of live resin begins with a Colorado native and longtime hash master named William “Kind Bill” Fenger. Wanting to smoke a hash that tasted of the freshest cannabis essential oils reminiscent of a budding flower, he began experimenting with harvest technique and processing methods, primarily “open blasting,” or open-end tube extraction. After a couple of years of less-than-ideal results, Kind Bill set the idea aside and was soon hired by EmoTek Labs founder Giddy Up as a hash and extract consultant. Giddy Up needed assistance in fine-tuning and finessing his new high-end closed-loop extraction system. After pairing Giddy’s modern hydrocarbon extraction technology with Kind Bill’s experience and fresh ideas, the duo introduced a new product that looked like glistening sugar and smelled of freshly trimmed bud.
Live resin took the cannabis scene by storm. Winning numerous awards under various extraction outfits, this fresh-tasting cannabis concentrate has been in high demand. The low yield offered by the extraction method has resulted in a higher value being attached to the product, but the phenomenal quality of the product and the experience provided by the preserved terpenes makes the few extra dollars well worth it.
“Many consumers compare the experience as the difference between eating fresh fruit and dried fruit,” said Jarrod Kaplan, founder of SugarTop Buddery. “The taste and smell of live resin is considerably more intense and flavorful than what you get from shatter, which has been processed using standard industry methods.” Kaplan and the team at SugarTop decided to enter one of their live resin strains into a competition last year, and they won.
SugarTop Buddery won Best Live Resin with the Lodi Dodi strain, extracted by Regis Philburn, founder of Echo Electuary. Philburn also extracted Echo Electuary’s own 707 Headband, which won runner-up in the same category. I asked what knowledge the founders of the two companies could provide.
“As a grower for live resin extraction, it’s critical that the canopy is leafed regularly and the under canopy particularly is kept clear of debris just prior to harvest,” said Kaplan. “Here at SugarTop, we believe in allowing as much light as possible to penetrate throughout the plants, inspiring as much even growth top to bottom as possible, encouraging maximum airflow and low humidity. Ideally, nothing can be sprayed during the flower cycle, as any residues would ultimately be augmented in the concentration process. We take many precautions to avoid any issues with molds, mildew, or pests.”
Regis Philburn, the founder of Echo Electuary, discussed the nuances of live resin extraction from a hash maker’s perspective. “Live resin best captures the terpene profile of the living plant, which can be a unique and invigorating experience to most users who are used to a dried and cured terpene profile,” Philburn said. “A significant amount of terpenes that are expressed by the living plant are lost during the drying process. Live resin is harvested, flash frozen, and then extracted with hydrocarbons in a closed-loop extractor at under 32 degrees within a few days for the best representation of the aroma of a living plant. The process is both difficult and laborious and is a feat for even the experienced extractor.”
“A good live resin must be nurtured from growing to harvesting to freezing to extraction,” he added. “Every step counts. Water is the enemy.”
Few companies specialize in the concentrate because of its production difficulty. Just as cream rises to the top, so do the Oregon companies that produce connoisseur-grade live resin extracts, impressing consumers across the state.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]