Tommy Chims Reviews the Sativa Entries in Illinois Cannabis Cup Competition

Many of these strains are readily available at your nearest Illinois dispensary

click to enlarge Fig Farms' Figment strain was our favorite. - Tommy Chims
Tommy Chims
Fig Farms' Figment strain was our favorite.


If you watch this space regularly (and of course you do!) then you know that your friendly local weed critic Tommy Chims was recently given the opportunity to serve as a judge for the People's Choice Edition of Illinois Cannabis Cup. The good people at High Times saw fit to give me a $300 judge's kit for the sativa-flower category. In the weeks since, my life has been a smoke-filled haze of rigorous scientific analysis.

The votes have been tallied, the smoke has cleared and, at long last, we have a winner in the sativa division of Illinois' Cannabis Cup Ñ let's have a big round of applause for Fig Farms' Figment strain, which edged out second-place winner Durban Poison by UpNorth and third place's Miami Punch by Revolution for the top prize. For my part, I found Durban Poison, Love Affair and Spirit Quest to be the best of the bunch, but no matter how you slice it, there are some stellar strains here, many of them readily available at your nearest Illinois dispensary. Read on and start adding to your shopping list.

Brand: Revolution
Strain: TLC DOS
Rating: 9/10
TLC DOS's buds are a light, pale-green color at their core and get darker toward the outside, where they are covered in long, pale-orange hairs. The strain has a citrusy and fuel-like smell and is rich and smooth on inhale, a real leather bookstore of a flavor. As for effects, it brought a relaxed but alert high that really got me going in the morning. Very potent, but not debilitatingly so.

Brand: Nature's Grace and Wellness
Strain: DDK
Rating: 8/10
DDK's buds are dark green with flecks of pale orange and white, with a little purple for good measure. It has a sweet, earthy smell, not too funky, with a sticky keef covering that makes for squeaky fingers on breakup. On inhale, it brings a strong taste with floral and candy notes, like smoking a Christmas cookie in a room full of flowers. A relaxed chill set in behind my eyes after a few coughs, and I found that it was a great high for maintaining focus. A nice daytime smoke.

Brand: Revolution
Strain: Miami Punch
Rating: 9/10
Miami Punch's dense and sticky buds are positively frosted with white keef, with blood-orange hairs poking through the snow. Its smell is true to its name, a rich deep fruitiness like Hawaiian Punch. On inhale, it has a peppery taste, with that fruity-candy flavor popping in on the back end and a sneezy sensation moving up in the sinuses. The high was a functional one, not debilitating. For those in search of fruity and sweet flavors in their cannabis, this could easily be a new favorite.

Brand: UpNorth Humboldt
Strain: Durban Poison
Rating: 10/10
Durban Poison looks downright mean, dark green on the outside with a lighter core, and sporting thick, dark-orange hairs and dewdrop crystals. It's got a spicy, funky smell with sour-orange notes, but not piney or citrusy exactly. On inhale, it reminds me of the bubble hash of my youth, a strong flavor that I found extremely tasty, with some spiciness up in the sinuses. As for effects, this is a thinking man's weed that had me all up in my head, pontificating and pondering — and also high as hell.

Brand: Cresco
Strain: Shortbread
Rating: 8/10
Shortbread's buds are dark green on the outside, with thick orange hairs crawling across them and a heavy frosting of crystals, and the inside gets very white toward the center. On breakup it pulls apart perfectly, great to work with, leaving your fingers dusty but not sticky. On inhale, it's got a strong grassy taste with some fun funkiness and some sweetness to it. Its high is mellow but enjoyable, and I was still able to get some stuff done without issue.

Brand: Fig Farms
Strain: Figment
Rating: 9/10
Figment is truly magical in its appearance: light green with specks of dark green, purple, orange and white, its blood-orange hairs reaching up and out. It brings a spicy and earthy smell, like standing in the lumber aisle at Home Depot, but sweeter. The buds are dense but not too sticky, and its sweet, spicy flavor is delightful. As for effects, it brings a mood-enhancing, pleasant high.

Brand: Cresco
Strain: Rainbows and Cherries
Rating: 8/10
Rainbows and Cherries' buds are green with light flecks of dark purple, covered in dusty clusters of keef and dense dewdrop crystals. On breakup, it's sticky and spicy with hints of onion, and it crumbles easily into a nice rolling consistency. On inhale, it's rich and grassy, with lime and citrus notes. In all, it's a nice mild upper that brings pleasant body-high warmth and makes you feel great, without a care in the world.

Brand: Cresco
Strain: MACaroon
Rating: 8/10
MACaroon's buds are a stunning dark purple in color, so dark they almost appear black, and they break up to a light-green core that is covered in crystal-y keef. The strain has a fuel-like smell mixed with some grassiness, and on breakup it is dense and dusty. On inhale, it smells like it tastes: rich and flavorful, with a gassy sensation in the sinuses. As for effects, this stuff brings a creeper high for sure, a soaring-through-the-clouds ripper that surprised me with its potency.

Brand: Ozone
Strain: Animal Cake
Rating: 9/10
Animal Cake's buds are dark green and orange on the outside, with a pale green and white center. On breakup, they are hard, but crispy and light and easy to work with, with a strong fuel and citrus smell that punches you in the face. Flavorwise the strain brings a powerful floral taste that hits right in the sinuses, and the effects hit almost immediately, strong and fast-acting with a warm feeling throughout the body.

Brand: Verano
Strain: Sour Jack
Rating: 9/10
Sour Jack is green with hints of purple on the outside, with tight patches of crystals and a sparkling core. It crumbles easily to a light and fluffy pile that would be great for rolling. On inhale, it has sour and sweet notes with hints of citrus and diesel — it's incredibly unique in its flavor. It brings a strong but mellow high that kicks in hard with a burst of energy and stays there for the duration.

Brand: Revolution
Strain: Frost Donkey BX1
Rating: 8/10
Frost Donkey lives up to its name (the first part of it at least, maybe not the donkey so much) with a white frosty fuzz covering it inside and out. Its dark-green buds are covered in hairs that are almost red, giving the whole affair an autumnal feel. On inhale, it's tangy and rich, with a chocolate or coffee sweetness in the background and a pleasant spiciness in the sinuses. As for effects, it's a great high, not too debilitating but plenty potent. A great strain, and possibly the coolest-looking of the whole sativa batch.

Brand: Bedford Grow
Strain: Escape
Rating: 10/10
The droplet crystals, keef and abundance of orange hairs covering Escape's buds are almost perfectly even in their distribution, making for a striking look. The buds are dense but almost soft with a little crackle, and they crumble easily into little chunks, bringing a strong citrus and pine smell that reminds me of Pine-Sol. On inhale, it's got a grassy and spicy flavor that covers the palate and lingers there. As for effects, it feels less like a sativa than most of the other offerings, leaving me relaxed and unmotivated to do anything, while also providing some delightful pain relief. One of my favorite highs from the bunch.

Brand: nuEra
Strain: Granny MAC
Rating: 10/10
Granny MAC's buds are light green in color, covered in peach-colored hairs and positively fuzzy with keef. The strain brings an apple-y, citrusy smell that's very fruity and sweet like a delicious dessert. On inhale, it's got an earthiness to it, with fuel-like diesel notes and a bit of nuttiness. Its high had me on my feet immediately, a real shot-in-the-arm energetic boost that brought some satisfying pain relief as well. Definitely one of the best of the bunch.

Brand: 4Front
Strain: Green Crack
Rating: 9/10
The fine dusting of crystals on Green Crack's forest-green buds gives it an almost pale haze, with peach-colored hairs poking throughout. The strain's smell is very nice, with prominent diesel and citrus notes, and on breakup it lightens up to a pale, white-ish green in its center. On inhale, it's smooth and sweet, with a taste that brings to mind baked goods, but with floral hints on the back end. I wrote in my notes that I was jolly high after smoking this stuff, grinning ear to ear and entertaining myself with ease.

Brand: Bedford Grow
Strain: Candy Coast
Rating: 6/10
Candy Coast is pale green with tons of white crystals and orange hairs throughout, and its buds are among the whiter ones I've seen. Its smell is funky and its flavor is light, with crackling styrofoam buds that break apart easily. It brings a mellow high that I found pleasant but largely unremarkable, but it is one of the better-looking strains of the bunch.

Brand: Rythm
Strain: Love Affair
Rating: 10/10
Put plainly, Love Affair is some good-ass weed. Its buds are a nice spectrum of pale to dark green, covered in crystals in a way that looks less like dust and more like a damn geode, with the longest red-orange hairs I've ever seen reaching for the sky. The strain brings a spicy-sweet seasoning smell, faintly reminiscent of oregano, and on inhale, its taste is deep and rich, weedy and earthy and extremely flavorful, like a fine cigar. Its high hit me right in the forehead first before spreading throughout my body, bringing relaxation and pain relief in a way I'd expect more from an indica than a sativa.

Brand: Rythm
Strain: L’Orange
Rating: 7/10
L’Orange is powerful in its appearance, covered in orange hairs and droplet-like crystals that shine like morning dew. It has a bright citrus smell, with some sour notes and a bit of pine. On inhale, it’s funky and sweet, with a nice spiciness on exhale. Its effects are a bit jarring at first, bringing an intense burst of energy that gives way to a soothing head high.

Brand: Rythm
Strain: Durban Zkittles
Rating: 10/10
Durban Zkittles' buds are well structured, with an even distribution of dark and light green and clusters of orange hairs throughout. It's got a great fruity smell, with some spiciness and diesel notes, as well as some pine. It's sticky on breakup — a grinder would be wise — and on inhale it delivers a light and smooth fuel-like flavor that hits hard in the sinuses. After making my way through a small amount of paranoia (this stuff is strong), I found it to be an energetic high that made me want to get shit done.

Brand: Seed & Strain
Strain: 3D
Rating: 9/10
3D is definitely in the running for me as a daily smoker. Its buds are dark green with long orange hairs and keefy highlights, with crystals that penetrate all the way to the center. It's got a hospital-clean aroma mixed with its earthy weediness, and on breakup it crumbles easily into sticky little bits. Its flavor is as sweet as candy, with wood and diesel notes that hit me right in the sinuses. As for effects, this one's a real go-getter, leaving me clear-headed and motivated, energized with no munchies. A working man's weed.

Brand: Columbia Care
Strain: Spirit Quest
Rating: 10/10
Spirit Quest's buds are extremely cool looking, like little orange and green clouds that are downright fuzzy with hairs. They're dense and sticky, and they give off a delicious fruity smell when broken up, with notes of citrus and pine that make their way into the flavor as well. On inhale, I felt a near-immediate burst of energy; this strain is a big-time upper that kicks you right in the chest. Novice smokers should proceed with caution.

Brand: Ozone
Strain: SFV OG
Rating: 7/10
SFV OG's tight buds are frosty with crystals and sticky on breakup, rolling into little balls that would be good for a one-hitter or a chillum. It's got a pleasantly sweet floral smell with a nice spiciness that goes straight to the sinuses on inhale, bringing some wood notes as well. Its high is a motivated one that leaves your body feeling good and provides some nice pain relief.

Brand: Verano
Strain: Clementine
Rating: 9/10
Clementine looks great and is stunningly strong, with orange hairs covering its dark-green buds and round, dewdrop crystals shining throughout. It's got a strong citrus smell with floral and fuel-like flavors that I described in my notes as similar to well taken care of antiques.” The high is, simply put, incredibly high. I found myself downright stupefied and staring into space.

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