California is where I live, but, as time goes by, Barcelona, Spain, is where my heart wants to be. The social club scene in the densely packed city is unparalleled – elevating the communal smoking ritual into a daily eagerly anticipated event. The people I have met have been incredibly warm and open hearted; they welcome me each time I return. A key person deeply embedded in the fabric of the cannabis community in Barcelona is Edu, aka Blue Ice. In fact, Edu has been the main conduit in Spain through which I have received opportunities to meet people and take advantage of unique situations. Meeting Edu years ago was the fortuitous encounter that marked the start of my love/love relationship with Spain. Back in 2015, after six hours of driving through the Spanish countryside and marveling at the beauty of the Basque country, my husband Nick and I arrived in Irun just in time for the last portion of Expo Grow 2015.
As soon as I stepped into the pavilion, a man with a friendly face walked up to me and announced that he knew me. After a little back and forth, I realized that I knew him from Instagram as @Blueice_tech. After our initial smoke, Edu introduced me to the WeedMaps Europe crew who proceeded to treat me like royalty. Over the last 3 years, I have made very good relationships with several of the people who initially welcomed me to Spain, and Barcelona to be specific, with open arms. Edu always speaks highly of me to the owners and managers of the social clubs; ensuring that I have the most intensely enjoyable experiences wherever I go. I was happy to receive him in the United States in December 2017 as he and Albert of 23 Oils visited the Emerald Triangle and attended the Emerald Cup for the first time. During that trip we washed hash together for the first time, thereby extending our relationship beyond mere friends to hash partners. In this climate of tightly-guarded proprietary methods, it was heart-warming sharing tips and techniques that gave us each our particular flair. A few months later, in March 2018, after the raucous rager that is Spannabis came to a close, we washed the San Fernando Valley OG “Def Star.” We collected beautiful resin in a surprisingly well stocked lab in a nondescript office in an even more unremarkable building on an industrial street away from the city center. These guys had no intention of being caught. I truly appreciated their trust in allowing me to participate in their process.
Now, five months later, I am sitting at my preferred high table at my favorite club, La Kalada, staring at the very last of the Def Star. The cut had been protected with all the care possible. However, change is the very nature of life. One evening, during a thunderstorm, the dog belonging to the caretakers of the mother plants got scared and hid amongst the plants…eventually destroying several plants. Included in the unfortunate carnage were the two precious SFVOG mothers. Consequently, the cut has been lost. The golden resin in front of me represents the last of an era. As usual, the club is thrumming with energy and activity as more and more people file in but I am consumed with the beauty before me and I notice very little. I appreciate that Edu would part with his very last gram of bubble hash.
Holding the jar about six inches away from my face, I unscrew the lid. A few seconds later a sweet, but somewhat sharp, odor wafts up to my nose. It reminds me of lemon custard. I look closely at the small mounds in the jar. The tan colored, taffy-like chunks are absolutely beautiful. Edu produced this bubble hash with the utmost attention to detail and technique and originally it was colored light beige. However, in the short time that the bubble hash was in his pocket, and then sitting open on the table, oxidation had begun to occur. Now the resin resembled a chunk of chewy light brown sugar.
I look up and see a small smile on Edu’s face. I can tell he is very proud of what he has produced. I have seen pictures of Edu’s bubble hash on Instagram and have drooled over what I could only imagine was amazing dankness. However, this will be my first time tasting his solo creations. I know I am in for a mouthful of goodness. The Def Star we washed months ago was quite tasty, though the melt was not amazing as we were dialing in on the fly our freeze dryer tech for that particular batch. Looking at the shiny mass of trichomes in the glass, I can tell that Edu now feels very comfortable using the new school tech that dries his resin in less than 24 hours.
It was his freeze drying expertise that was sought when he received a last minute call to assist a friend in the with his hash entry in High Times Amsterdam 2018. After a hasty trip to the northern city, Edu was able to produce an entry, Neder Hash, which eventually went on to win first place in the competition. This is just the first of many awards that he will surely win. Edu has been making hash for more than 15 years as his interest in hash began when he was 15 years old. Unable to find consistent high quality hash, Edu began making bubble hash on his own using his mother’s panties as bubble bags. Since those early years he has also grown cannabis outdoors and in an aeroponics system. However, he soon realized that he could not perfect the craft of making hash while also trying to be the best grower he could be. He came to understand that although single source is most preferred, his mastery of hash making would only be ensured if he relied on dedicated grower friends who would provide the best material to make the best possible bubble hash.
The starting material for this bubble hash was indeed quite nice. Grown indoor by Greenardo Club and 23 Oils, the SFVOG produced a medium harvest with small, aromatic green nugs. Small nugs and sugar trim were washed, then freeze dried, preserving the terps and the bright color.
The hash looks good enough to eat, but we make plans to meet at the beach the next day so that we can have hours to experience its magic.
The next day, Edu messages me and tells me he will have to meet me at a social club because work had come up. I am tempted to just take a piece and blow huge clouds of smoke from my AirBnb, but I decide to wait to enjoy it when I see him. A few hours later, after I have visited another of my favorite clubs, Betty Boop BCN, I head over to meet him. Looking both ways, I cut across Avenguda Meridiana to get to the anxiously waiting figure outside of Club Fum. As he shifts his weight from side to side and hurries me over, I chuckle at his obvious giddiness and excitement. Over the lasts three years, I have written about several people he knows and respects, but now is his time.
We walk into the club, and after brief introductions, settle into two deep leather sofas separated by a square table. Edu asks how I will like to smoke the hash. I am partial to dabs, but I will like to smoke with Edu how he would do so normally. As a typical Spaniard, he likes the mixture of tobacco and bubble hash. The tobacco keeps the joint rolling well. Very few people smoke weed and hash at the same time. Therefore when I am accommodated in that way, I know it is a big deal. Wasting no time and not waiting for me to change my mind, Edu breaks down a cigarette and using a dab tool, breaks some of the hash off. By now, the bubble hash is a deep earthy brown. He forms a snake and then begins to pinch small pieces of hash off, dropping them like herbal bacon bits on the shredded tobacco. In a smooth, well-practiced motion, Edu deftly rolls the joint and twists one end shut. A few minutes later, he picks up the small newly dried joint, looks at it admiringly for a few seconds, and then lights the tip. He purposely sucks in and for a brief moment, he appears to glow from within. As he exhales, a wide mile stretches across his face. I ask him if it is that good. Edu takes another puff and blue smoke wends its way up from the flaming tip, he tells me that each time he smokes the Def Star, he is reminded of the first time he smoked American genetics. en years ago, he tasted San Fernando Valley OG sinsemilla and he fell in love. Although always appreciative of Spanish flavors, he was delighted to partake in new terpene compositions. Since then, he has taken advantage of each time he has had an opportunity to relive his first hit.
He passes the burning joint to me and I put it to my lips without too much thought about the carcinogens I must be inhaling at the same time. I am somewhat prepared for the particular harshness of the tobacco, but am pleasantly surprised when the baby powder OG flavor floats above and encompasses my mouth. As the smoke slides down my throat, the burnt paper taste of the tobacco chases quickly behind. Oh, I mostly like this, but I do not completely love it. However, this is the way Edu likes it and I make an attempt to have an open mind. I exhale and curiously, the flavor of the tobacco has diminished significantly. Instead, a mild pine lingers behind. I pass the joint and wipe away the warm tear that had pooled in my eyes.
He takes a few more puffs and offers it back to me. I pass. I figure I have honored the tradition for long enough and I will like to do some newschool dabbing. Edu walks off to get the E-nail ready and I settle back into the leather chair admiring the decor of the club. The theme here seems to be a clash between Old World charm with deep leather seats and hipster millennial aesthetic replete with pallets on casters serving as makeshift modular tables. With incredibly high ceilings, air circulates well and thick smoke from tobacco and Hashish never threatens to overwhelm us. Thank goodness.
Edu beckons me over to the E-nail ready for our dab. I give him the honor of the first hit. Edu smokes more spliffs than anything else, so I expect him to take a small dab. Instead, he eagerly pulls in a mouthful of smoke and chases it with cool air in order to push the smoke down into his lungs. He exhales with a loud, racking cough that makes me chuckle. He was not ready for his own creation. I scoop some hash and take a pause to smell the small nugget of resin. Though not as strong as in the jar, the soft odors of flowers, citrus and cake tease my nose. I sidle up to the machinery and scrape the bubble hash onto the banger. I do not like titanium bangers as they often impart a hash metallic taste; especially if the temp of the E-nail is too elevated. To my surprise, this dab was smooth, full of delicious flavor, and devoid of that unnatural aftertaste that I was expecting. Rather, the delightful taste of warm pastries fills me up. I take another long dab, marveling at the smoke swirling out of my mouth.
A few of our friends from Weedmaps have arrived and we share a few rounds of chillum with tobacco and Edu’s hash. Although the group is mostly conversing in a mixture of Catalan and Spanish, I find myself understanding the vast majority of what they are saying. I interject comments here and there in English and I am happy to feel a part of this small community. After about 30 minutes, we leave to continue onto Dr. Dou Club where I keep up my chatter and bubbly energy. We are not smoking any more of the SFVOG bubble hash, but the happy-go-lucky effects keep me smiling all night. Around 11:00pm Edu wishes me a good night and I leave too; walking back to my room feeling like I am walking on a trillion moonbeams. As I settle into the soft bed, I make a note to wake up in time to see the sunrise over the beach.
Though I had planned to be at the beach at daybreak, I wake up on my last day two hours later than expected. The amount of chillum I had consumed at the club last night certainly is a contributing factor to my late sleep, but I feel no grogginess at all. In fact, I am ready to head to the beach while the air is still cool and bearable. I step onto my small balcony and after packing my vape pen with the last of the bubble hash, I took a few deep pulls. Staring at the iconic Arc de Triomf right outside my window, I exhale and grimace slightly at the barest taste of burnt resin. Vape pens are incredibly convenient, but for bubble hash, ceramic buckets provide the best experience. Right now, the bubble hash is sitting directly on a coil and consequently the hit is not the most flavorful it can be. My eyes become glassy as tears well and spill onto my cheeks. If this pen had variable heat control and I could lower it significantly, I would surely enjoy it more. Despite the harshness, I feel the sharp edges of my thoughts softening already. Gathering my towel and sheet, I take the elevator down stairs and step onto the breezy street. I jump in an Uber and admire the beautiful facade that whips out of view as we slide smoothly through the barely populated streets. Barcelona is a great cosmopolitan city, but resembles a sleepy town during the relatively quiet morning hours.
My Uber drops me off in front of the nightclubs that line the beach. I walk onto the sand and cluck disapprovingly at the sheer amount of trash. The beach receives everybody, and quite a few of the beach goers from the night before were absolutely filthy. Before getting squeamish about the whole situation, I tell myself to enjoy the chance to soak up rays and jump into the Mediterranean one last time. As with on the street, there are very few people on the beach and I feel comfortable pulling on my vape pen. I blow a large cloud of smoke in front me before I get up and walk into the still chilly water. In a few hours, when the beach is pulsing with music and the sounds of the happy children and softly rolling waves, the water will feel warmer, but now the cool temperature is slightly shocking. I continue into the water up to my waist and I puff slowly. My feet move slightly in the soft sand on the ocean floor, but I feel well rooted. I feel able to take on every-and-anything. I love how powerful I feel with cannabis that makes me feel like a million bucks. My busy brain chatter has not shut off like with CBD-rich varieties, but I do not feel pressed to acknowledge the drivel that usually consumes me. Instead, I feel pretty good right in the moment. A few minutes later, I walk out of the water and onto my towel. I check my phone and Edu has texted saying he is minutes away. I dry off and look around as the beach finally begins to awaken. A haze that had put the city into soft focus has begun to burn away and I can feel the skin sizzling temperatures the day has in store. I can imagine it will be uncomfortable, but that minor concern soon floats out of my head. A sweet voice softly says, “Hey, sweet Duchess.” I look up from staring at deep blue water into the clear blue eyes of Edu. I smile. He sits. And though my flight back to my residence in Oakland, California is in a few hours, at this very moment, I feel very much at home.
Grown by Greenarado Club and 23 Oils
Processed by Edu aka Blue Ice.
The Dank Duchess is a hashmaker based in Oakland, California. These days you will find her making Hashish, smoking Hashish, writing about Hashish, and/or organically growing cannabis plants to process into Hashish. Follow her on your favorite social media channels at
@TheDankDuchess or online www.thedankduchess.com
Originally published in Weed World Magazine Issue 137