The Future Cannabis Sommelier
Cannabis and Cabernet Sauvignon – an unlikely pair, with far more similarities than differences. Of course, both products are known for the variety of euphoric and intoxicating effects they can offer. However, what is a lesser-known fact is that both varieties can also be differentiated by their unique terpene profiles.
As legalization marches on, and with stigmatization beginning to subside, we are seeing the rise of cannabis sommeliers. They are a master of their craft, able to pick up the subtleties of flavour and aromas, which make each cannabis flower unique. This is done very similarly to how a wine sommelier is able to pick out specific scents and flavours, unique to a region, or grape.
5 Reasons Cannabis and Wine are more similar than you would think!
(1) Inspection: this is key, just like with any sommelier the first step in a thorough evaluation, is a visual inspection. Wine sommeliers will evaluate the colour, swirl it in a glass and see how it falls down the glass, etc. to assess the product. A cannabis sommelier relies on the same; the colour of the bud, the density, moisture, etc. are all ways to help identify the most premium products.
(2) Scent: any expert then moves onto the scent of the product. Whether opening a glass jar of cannabis, or swirling a glass of wine, both are done to concentrate the scent of the product. Not surprisingly (but a little-known fact!) each wine has a unique terpene profile as well. What is surprising, is the number of terpenes that can be found in wine; there has been over 50 terpenes identified in a single wine sample. Like with cannabis, many of the aromas and flavours, such as: lavender, orange, rosemary, floral, and ripe fruit, are thanks to the terpenes found in the wine.
(3) Taste: now this is where things get interesting, as the flavour of these products are vastly different, but they also have some strong similarities. Wines have complex flavours that come from many elements including esters, lactones, pyrazines, thiols, flavonoids, and terpenes. Whereas in cannabis, the flavours are largely due to their unique terpene profiles. The most prominent terpenes include Limonene, Myrcene, α/β-Pinene, Linalool, β-Caryophyllene, Terpinolene and Humulene. A few wines which possess very impressive terpene profiles include: Gewürztraminer, Muscat, Merlot, and Syrah. Since both wine and cannabis contain naturally occurring terpenes, it is easy to compare their similar aromas and flavours.
(4) Expertise: in the same way that a sommelier goes through years of education and rigorous (yet fun) field work to become an expert in all things wine, this is also required to become a cannabis sommelier. Although there is presently no gold standard or certification as there is for becoming a wine sommelier, there is no doubt that the cannabis sommelier is here to stay -their craft is becoming increasingly revered, just as their wine counterparts are.
(5) Complexity: with hundreds of unique molecules, each providing their own scent, flavour, and effect, both wine and cannabis are equally complex. How they are grown, the region, the variety etc. all have a massive impact on the result of the product. Their complexities can offer a lifetime of mastering the craft and unravelling the products’ secrets.
The next time you visit your local shop, try using these steps for yourself. Take a moment to analyze the colour, density, and try to pick out the individual terpenes by scent. Finally, heat it up and enjoy all of the flavours and aromas your product has to offer -the rise of the cannabis sommelier begins.