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The best cannabis concentrates in Oregon

July 8, 2021

Dabs in Oregon have seen a shift from surplus-era pricing and experimental quality to a market that rewards excellent flavor, easy dabbability, and chemical-free production processes.

While you can still find aged b-bud and trim extracts at around $10/gram, the tide now favors live preparations, rosins, and collaborations between growers and extractors. 

Here are some of the best dabs you can find in Oregon.

Most flavorful dabs: Echo Electuary

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Price point: $50/gram before tax

Echo Electuary is for flavor lovers. While they make budget-friendly dabbables like shatter, their most-celebrated products are fresh-frozen resin budders that preserve the scent and flavor of a plant at its most vital point. By freezing a plant on harvest day, extractors capture a sensory bouquet that can otherwise fade during the drying, trimming, and curing phases. The day-of-harvest flavor is what keeps Echo on people’s lips.

Perhaps best known for single-source, batch-specific collaborations, Echo Electuary’s flagship releases are often created using entire, single-source plants, purpose-grown for extraction. This sets Echo’s budders apart from budget products that cut costs by using trim and b-buds, which are less potent and don’t taste as great. 

I recently tried Echo’s Southern Belle live budder collab with Evans Creek Farm ($50/gram before tax)—a whole-plant, fresh-frozen budder extracted from premium buds that gives top-shelf extracts a run for their money. Next to more expensive rosin-based badders, Southern Belle gives a flavor performance and muscle-softening high that challenges the you-get-what-you-pay-for sense governing much of the market.

What is dabbing?

Best connoisseur concentrate: Nelson & Co. Organics

rosin cannabis concentrate
Gelato 33 rosin. (Courtesy Nelson & Co.)

Price point: $60/gram for ice-water hash; $70/gram for hash rosin (before tax)

Nelson & Co. Organics is a small-batch indoor cultivator specializing in classic fuel strains. Their soil-grown, grinder-gumming flower is bucket-list worthy on its own, their menu of artisanal hash-based products is too.

With each harvest, they freeze a portion of their flower to be processed in-house into ice-water hash by @puaextractions. While you can occasionally find the pure, nude trichome heads sold as-is in a frozen dust, Nelson’s gummies, caramels, and super clean melting rosins are in demand as well.

Before Nelson & Co, you couldn’t find ice-water hash at an Oregon dispensary. Similarly, ice-water hash rosins—as well as solventless products and rosins in general—were few, far between, and experimental, with inconsistent results. Nelson recalibrated the market for pure-melt solventless concentrates that preserve and amplify a flavor and potency true to the original flower.

The team has decades-long relationships with their strains in production. They spent the medical era perfecting strains like Chem #4, Deathstar, and various hard-hitting OGs, yielding some of the most potent herb and concentrates achievable by anyone, anywhere. 

Nelson & Co. never fail to deliver a reliable, day-altering experience. Their dabbables will put a skimmable layer of sweat on your forehead and initiate inward journeys to the far corners of the mind: They’re not for newcomers. And their dabs are a strong counterpoint to brands selling one-offs and hype strains that don’t justify the price tag.

Best budget dabs: Willamette Valley Alchemy

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Price point: $20-60 before tax

Extractor Willamette Valley Alchemy, or WVA, deals in reliable quality at a competitive price. WVA’s menu is comprehensive across dabbables and cartridges, live and cured inputs—a something-for-everyone approach that makes the brand easy to recommend. They work with a number of noteworthy Oregon growers, including Fox Hollow Flora, DogHouse Farms, Gnome Grown Organics, and Focus North.

WVA’s entry-level dabbables comprise BHO standards like shatter, pull ‘n’ snap, and crumble, for $20-30/gram. For $5-10 more per gram, WVA curates fresh-frozen selections: Live resin, terp sauce, and sauce over diamonds, all representing the aromatic experience of a plant at peak maturity; like a picture of a smell.

Nudge up into the $40+ per gram price range for an excellent value on solventless preparations, badders, and ice-water hash rosins. Or for the convenience of a scoopable, spreadable badder without the cost of fresh-frozen inputs, check out WVA’s cured-flower options—a sweet spot for affordability and ease of use.

The same could be said for “living-dead resins,” a Frankenstein extract that combines cured- and live-plant inputs to enhance flavor and preserve a true-to-the-flower experience.

For goldilocks examples of WVA’s value-positive, quality-to-price relationship, see their live resins and badders, and a take on terps-over-diamonds dubbed “Royal Jelly.”

Best dabbing temperatures

Best strain-specific dab: Grandpa’s Gun chest by Zen Extracts

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Price point: $50/gram before tax

If I had to choose one strain to represent the 2020-21 season, it would be Grandpa’s Gun Chest, created by Surfr Seeds. At present, the clone-only cross of Animal Mints and Redneck Wedding is available only in Oregon—as flower from indoor cultivators Evans Creek Farm, and as a dabbable live resin badder made by newcomers Zen Extracts using fresh-frozen plants from Surfr Select.

Whether smoked as flower or dabbed as an extract, Grandpa’s Gun Chest offers a rare complexity of flavor. My notes describe it as “A leather wallet stuffed with empty water balloons” and “sweet, musky wood, like a 19th-century jewelry box.” And as for flavor: “Electricity passing from a 9-volt battery into my tongue” and “lavender, key-lime meringue served with a rosewater shooter.” 

Like I said, “Rare complexity of flavor.” And this becomes more pronounced when consumed as Zen’s live-resin badder. The mouthwatering extract is a perfect example of their prowess for identifying great collaborators and strains, earning the fresh-faced company a simmering, back-channel buzz. 

With feathers like Grandpa’s Gun Chest in their cap, we’ll likely be hearing more about Zen Extracts in the future.

Best concentrate brand: Archive Oregon

archive oregon cannabis concentrate
Ice-water hash rosin. (Courtesy Archive Oregon)

Price point: $60-80 before tax

Archive Seed Bank breeds its own seeds, nurses an exotic genetics library, sells their own flower, and transforms it into crowd-pleasing, ice-water hash rosin at their retail branch Archive Portland.

Concentrate artist Chris Owen (@dammit__bobby_) processes Archive Oregon’s single-source, fresh-frozen inputs for one of the cleanest melt concentrates in Oregon—their ultra-refined hash rosin will vaporize to an almost see-through residue, characterized by a barely perceptible yellow tint; no dark reclaim or blackened carbon deposits in your banger. In place of common impurities is a smooth, true-to-flower flavor and effect.

The combo of exceptional quality, exclusive, breeder-direct flavors, and limited availability runs up a premium price tag: $80/gram for their first-tier rosins, and $60/gram for second tier. 

Matt Stangel's Bio Image
Matt Stangel

Matt Stangel is Leafly's Oregon Product Specialist. His cannabis-related writings have appeared in The Guardian, Willamette Week, Cascadia Magazine, and elsewhere—links to which are available at Cannapinions.com.

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