Willie Nelson's stash proves to be a mixed bag

June 19, 2017
courtesy of Willie's Reserve
courtesy of Willie's Reserve
courtesy of Willie's Reserve
SOURCE: courtesy of Willie's Reserve

Product: Willie's Reserve Pre-Rolls (Lime Haze, Gorilla Glue #4, Forum Cut Cookies)

Overall: 2/5 Stars

Price: 3/5 Stars

Potency: 3/5 stars

Aroma: 2/5 Stars

Appearance: 3/5 stars

Bottom line: The Willie’s Reserve packaging was clever, but inconsistencies in quality left us with concerns that it’s more gimmick than great all the way around.

[How our star system works: 1 star – failing; 2 stars sub-par; 3 stars – average; 4 stars – above average; 5 stars – Excellent!]

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Country Western singer Willie Nelson’s songs are available for purchase almost everywhere, but Californians who want to obtain his branded cannabis products, launched earlier this year, will find themselves “on the road again,” to borrow lyrics from one of his best-known songs.

Las Vegas is the nearest city in which medical dispensaries sell his flower, pre-roll, medicated chocolate and vapor products. They’re grown and produced for the Willie’s Reserve label by six different cultivators in Washington and Colorado, according to the brand’s website. Because Nevada allows Californians with a doctor’s recommendation to join its collectives, we were able to visit Essence Cannabis Dispensary on a recent Las Vegas trip, and to buy and try three Willie’s Reserve pre-rolls available there at the time: Lime Haze, Gorilla Glue and Forum Cut Cookies. (Essence has since discontinued selling Willie’s Reserve, but some other dispensaries in town, such as Sahara Wellness and Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary, carry a wider variety of the line’s pre-rolls.)

The Willie’s Reserve tested here was grown by Redwood, according to the label, a grower not included on the list of farmers found on the Willie’s Reserve website.

courtesy of Willie's Reserve
courtesy of Willie's Reserve


Effects: Little to no effect

Condition: Arthritis, headache, migraine

Creator: N/A

Available at: Various Las Vegas dispensaries

Product Type: Flower

Price: $18 for two .5 gram pre-rolls

Smell/Taste: Mild citrus, sweet

Modality: Smoke

Lineage: Haze

Type: Labeled as sativa

Cannabinoids: High-THC, 20.54 percent

The folks at Essence said Lime Haze was their least favorite of the three strains sold, and our trial substantiated that opinion. The clever cardboard tube packaging contained two pre-rolls in an interior foil pouch, sealed for freshness. The fresh, citrus scent of the pre-rolls was inviting, but the flavor was so mild as to be bland, with only a light hint of citrus aftertaste, and almost no discernible medicating effect. Essence’s labeling delineates the terpene content of each medication, and also the harvest date and sell date. In this case, the flower was harvested two months before its sell date. Maybe it just hadn’t had enough time to cure.

Willie's Reserve
Carolyne Zinko

Willie’s Reserve Lime Haze was meh, GG4 was ok, and Cookies was a knockout.


Effects: Long, enduring high

Condition: Various

Creator: Josey Whales

Product Type: Flower

Price: $18 for two .5 gram pre-rolls

Smell/Taste: Piney, pungent

Modality: Smoke

Lineage: Triple-backcrossed diesel and chocolate thai

Type: Labeled as hybrid

Cannabinoids: THC 19.78 percent

Gorilla Glue #4 had a piney, pungent smell with a peppery taste that yielded a pleasant floatiness and then two hours of calm. How strong was its effect? I walked around the Fremont Street Experience, where visitors stroll in an outdoor mall with 32-ounce drinks in-hand as neon lights flash, street performers hustle, DJ music blares and tourists fly by on a zip-line that runs overhead. After only two hits, the cacophony subsided, as if I were in my own private bubble and everyone else was on the outside. An hour later, as I sank into a cushioned booth at a brew pub for dinner, the mellow was still there, making for a relaxing evening.


Effects: Heavy, stony

Condition: Body pain

Product Name: Forum Cut Cookies

Creator: Cookie Fam

Available at: Sahara Wellness, Inyo Fine Cannabis Dispensary


Product Type: Pre-roll

Price: $18 for two .5 gram pre-rolls

Smell/Taste: Malty, lightly chocolate-y, woodsy

Modality: Smoke

Lineage: (Purple Pain X Durban) X Florida OG Kush

Type: Labeled as indica

Cannabinoids: THC 19.69 percent

The folks at Essence said Forum Cut Cookies was the dispensary’s favorite. Once out of the tube, its aroma was that of a fresh-from-the-oven vanilla cookie with a warm golden crust. But smoking it just before bedtime was less pleasant -- harsh on the throat, with little flavor and only a lightly malty aftertaste. No creeper buzz here; the deep, stony high took effect within two minutes, like a heavy foot pressing on my sternum, accompanied by active, but not quite racing, thoughts in the brain. Those feelings didn’t last long, thankfully, as drifted into a deep sleep soon afterward.

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