By: Hopper Stone The Dank Duchess is a bona fide canna-lebrity who generously uses her clout to teach others how to make their own cannabis concentrates on YouTube and Instagram. We linked up while she was in town teaching a sold out three-day hashmaking clinic, and headed over to the Phresh Harvest facility where […]
By: Hopper Stone
The Dank Duchess is a bona fide canna-lebrity who generously uses her clout to teach others how to make their own cannabis concentrates on YouTube and Instagram. We linked up while she was in town teaching a sold out three-day hashmaking clinic, and headed over to the Phresh Harvest facility where we had a great time talking hash as the smoke from her signature bedazzled chillum joined the laughter and music in the air to create a truly epic evening. I’m so stoked to get to share the experience with you.
Hopper: Thanks so much for taking time to talk to us. Our readers are gonna be super stoked to hear from you, so let’s jump right in. You studied under Frenchy Cannoli. How did that come about?
Duchess: Thank you for having me! In June 2014 I came to California to look for an apartment, get my medical card, and to go to a Cup, the 2014 High Times Cup in Sonoma County. I was really big into dabs, I was dabbing all over the place with no care about what I was dabbing. I saw this booth, and it was so busy I knew there had to be the best dabs over there. So I muscled my way to the front, and was very disappointed to see all these lumps of chocolate, not the golden dabs I was looking for. A little man goes, “This is not chocolate. This is hashish.” I was like, well can you dab it? He said, “But of course!” So I dabbed it and took a picture with the guy. Then the next month I moved from Miami to Oakland, and went to a Hempcon a month after that after looking for a job for weeks. Basically, the lifestyle I had in Florida made people feel like I didn’t want to start off as a budtender, but I felt like that was the best way that I could understand the industry. Even though I’d been growing for ten years in Florida, I didn’t know anything. I wasn’t too arrogant to feel like I shouldn’t start from the beginning, but no one was giving me a chance. So I went to this cup feeling kind of down, but knowing I could network there, and I saw the little French guy. He was fussing at someone with so much passion, and I was like, this is my kinda guy! A couple days later, we went out to coffee and found out that in the 90s we’d both been web designers. He went on to do purse design in Japan, and I went on to do landscape architecture in Miami. We had a lot in common, it was a good conversation. A couple days later he offered me a position writing for Weed World Magazine about hashish. I totally jumped at it, but I didn’t know a single thing about hash. In order to write about hash with any authenticity, you need to know how to make it. I was not, in any way, overjoyed about that. I had come to California to grow weed and do cannabis media. But on September 10th, 2014, I made hash for the first time. From then on I was like, this is what I do. I’m a hashmaker.
Hopper: Who else has influenced you as a hashmaker?
Duchess: I’ve been influenced by Brandon Thergen and Nikka T. Bobby Colada in Barcelona has been a very big influence. Blue Ice Tech out of Barcelona and Tony Lazura.
Hopper: What is your number one rule for hashmaking?
Duchess: Have the right cultivar. The second one would be, be cold.
Hopper: Those are the two big ones right there! What’s your favorite micron to work with?
Duchess: I don’t isolate my microns…well, I isolate them to a degree, but not really. I plug in the 73 bag, but I do not run a 90 or a 120 in general. So I collect 73 to 159. I don’t add the 45 because it has a funny flavor sometimes, and I don’t add the 150 because it’s too giant. I find that generally for the cultivars that I’m working with, between 73 and 159 is super nice. Of course, sometimes the 120 does not wash as well, so you’ll find yourself maybe topping out at 5 stars. For me, when I find the cultivar that gives me the super, super melty between 73 and 159, I find it has the best flavor overall because it has different types of flavor without the muskiness of the 45.
Hopper: That was my next question. What’s your favorite micron to smoke?
Duchess: It’s gonna be 73 to 159. That full body flavor!
Hopper: I love how you describe your hashmaking as “an artistic endeavor”. I think a lot of hashmakers don’t get that. It’s a lot more than just following steps. Would you like to speak a little bit on that?
Duchess: Sure! I maintain that hashmaking is not a difficult process. There’s nothing particularly difficult about it. There are set steps that, if you’re just going one foot after the other, there are definite steps involved. But you’re not washing down walls or something inanimate. You’re washing a plant that presents differently every single time. You have to be willing to pivot slightly. Maybe the humidity in the room is a little high, maybe it was a little colder yesterday. That’s gonna make it a little bit different. You can’t just go by rote movement. You have to put your heart and soul into each batch to get the best potential out of it.
Hopper: Yes! You have to adapt to each wash. So what was it like being on Bong Appetit?
Duchess: I had a great time with it! I did Bong Appetit first in season 1 with Abdullah, and then season 3 with B Real and Vanessa Lavorato and Chef Miguel. Then of course Too $hort.
Hopper: I’ve gotta talk about YouTube, because you’re such a big presence there and you share so much info. That’s how I first stumbled across you. I applaud you for what you do there.
Duchess: Oh goodness, I really need to focus a little more on that. I feel like my subscribers must hate me because I’m always like ‘next week I’m gonna have this…’ and it takes like months. I do appreciate YouTube, I’m always learning something new through it. Yes, I’m a hashmaker. Yes, I’m here in Oklahoma consulting, but I’m all about the education for all. Everything that I teach as a consultant, I’ve given away for free. Whether it’s on YouTube or Instagram. I really push the idea of us growing our own cannabis and making our own concentrates because I really abhor the idea of the government having any say about my wellness.
Duchess: I am responsible for myself. I can’t run to anybody and say make my body work better, when I have the tools to make myself healthy. I’m super privileged to have access to cannabis and good cannabis products. If I can realize that that’s to my benefit, then somebody else can benefit from it too. I feel it’s my responsibility to humanity to pass that along. I like to use the quote, “A candle loses nothing by lighting another”.
Hopper: You’re always busy, always working. What’s up next for you?
Duchess: It’s funny that you ask…
Hopper: You gonna head out here to Oklahoma?
Duchess: I’m certainly circling around the idea of coming out here for a little bit. The 405 is now synonymous with 215.
Hopper: People here are excited and passionate about cannabis. It’s so refreshing to see. That’s what creates the culture. At events in California people have this too cool for school attitude. I’m sorry, go ahead…we got kinda off track there.
Duchess: I’m looking to grow within my role at Skunk Magazine. It’s really come full circle, being the managing editor. I’m in charge of the style and flow of how the articles go. I really like that. I like editing because I like putting a little polish on the vast amount of information that people have to give, and making it extra presentable to the public because we can’t wait for the mainstream media to look at cannabis and decide it’s worthy. We have to continue to put out our own publications that really exalt this plant, and come from people who know what they’re talking about. Not people who are here for the money grab.
Hopper: Exactly! Fuck the corporate takeover. I could go on and on about that, but before we wrap it up do you have any shout outs?
Duchess: I always wanna shout out my dear Frenchy Cannoli, and I wanna shout out a couple of women who have pushed me in new directions recently. Alice aka @girlsingreen710. Shout out to Dasheeda Dawson, who is the cannabis control chief person in Portland. Shout out to Mila!
Hopper: Mila is the queen!
Duchess: Much love to Mila. Shout out to Fabulous Cannabis Company who brought me out here to Oklahoma. Shout out really to all the hashmakers, producers, and growers who put their heart into this every single day. Thank you!
Hopper: Big shout out to you! It was really nice to get to know you a bit. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of each other in the future!
IG & YouTube: @thedankduchess
Follow Hopper: @hopper448
Photo at: @phresh_harvest_405
Photo By: Jay Pax