I've been writing about weed professionally since 2017, which means I entered the industry at just the right time to get an encyclopedic crash course in dabbing. Five years later, I'm still primarily a flower guy. But throughout the 2010s, what kept me coming back to concentrates was knowing which brands I could rely on for pure-grade, high-quality products. Raw Garden is the brand name that remains synonymous, in my mind at least, with the ideal dab.
“The dab market is far and away the wildest corner of the weed world. From high-tech devices to crystalline extracts, innovation moves at a frantic pace, churning out futuristic products and new forms of concentrates at warp speed,” said Lindsay MaHarry for Weedmaps. Even in 2021, when advances in vape and e-rig technology have arguably made the “perfect dab” more accessible than ever, the perpetually evolving concentrate market can be overwhelming to newcomers — especially if you exist outside the inner SoCal weed scene.
It doesn't help that both the legitimate technological advancements in dab gear and the proliferation of cheap imitators over the last decade have been staggering. And whether you're new to dabbing or a seasoned veteran of the dab revolution, securing a trustworthy, high-quality concentrate is tantamount to having the experience that ardent dabbers swear by.
For this review, we'll be trying out Raw Garden's Refined Live Resin Diamonds, Refined Live Resin Crushed Diamonds, and Refined Live Resin vape cartridge + battery.
The first thing that sets Raw Garden apart from its contemporaries is the price point. Its concentrates tend to cost significantly less than other brands with comparable products and quality. Anytime you can get a gram of top-notch sauce for around $30 in LA, it's worth lauding.
The packaging is both clean and inviting. It's a no-frills-just-sauce approach that befits the Raw Garden experience. Each box also includes a sticker with corresponding strain info, THC content, batch number, and lab results QR clearly displayed.
Though I don't do this as often as I should, I actually scanned the QR code for each product on my phone, and all the lab results were easy to get to online with clear formatting.
Lime Mojito Refined Live Resin Diamonds
That heavy-citrus terpene smell hit just right when I twisted the cap off my gram of Live Resin Diamonds. I've never been exposed to a Raw Garden concentrate that wasn't the best shit I've ever smelled in my life. Just a tart, citrusy olfactory delight every damn time. When I finally got to dabbing, that pure lemon-lime citrus flavor of the Lime Mojito strain came through plenty strong upon exhale.
As I mentioned up top, I'm mostly a flower guy these days, so when I do a dab, I still dust off my ole torch and banger like it's 2018. It'd been a minute since my last dab, but loading the tip of my dab tool with saucy, sticky crystalline diamonds, dropping it into my banger, and watching it bubble into sweet, silky vapor was truly a pleasant like-riding-a-bike experience.
The vapor itself came in even smoother and cooler than I had expected — a few memories of accidentally torching a dab and coughing up a lung had just come to mind — and the effect onset was palpable and immediate.
I was pretty well settled into an evening at home when I took these diamonds for a spin. After about five minutes, I was totally enveloped in the sweet, slow song of concentrated dankness. If you're a regular or heavy consumer, sometimes it feels like even the most potent flower highs are a far cry from the emotional, revelatory, pseudo-psychedelic experiences you might have had as a newcomer — or even after a long t-break. The heavy stoner-metal buzz from this Live Resin reminded me that sometimes nothing beats the singular precision and reliability of a dab high.
Key Lime Cookies Crushed Diamonds
I'm not particularly astute at differentiating flavors and aromas between strains of concentrate, but I was particularly impressed with the mix of citrusy goodness and spicy undertones of my gram of Key Lime Cookies Crushed Diamonds.
I decided to take advantage of the Crushed Diamond's dry-ish, crumbly texture and "scoopability" to lace a joint and up the potency of my preferred consumption method. These diamonds can also be dabbed like the regular Refined Live Resin Diamonds and are likely to elicit a comparable effect when vaporized.
With a joint of sun-grown, mid-level THC flower and a modest scattering of Crushed Diamonds, I stepped outside for a walk and a toke. As I casually puffed, I was consciously waiting to feel something a little different from my usual hazy, easy-going high. After about five minutes, there it was — slightly delayed, then omnipresent.
The peak snuck up on me in a slow build and the clear, heavy euphoria stuck around longer than my usual flower high. I floated through the rest of the night on a breeze.
Pomello Jello Refined Live Resin Cartridge and Pen
Even in vape cart form, the flavor of Raw Garden's Pomello Jello Refined Live Resin is exceptional. I've never found vape cart flavors to be particularly distinguishable, other than generally denoting quality by being generally good or bad. That said, I found the taste of my sativa hybrid cart to be particularly sweet and dense, with comparable and equally enjoyable spicy notes to the Crushed Diamonds.
I'm not much of a vape cart guy these days, but like everyone else, I'm not immune to the convenience and inherent discretion of the product — especially when I'm in a pinch. It was a great relief to have a cart and battery on hand on a recent trip to visit my mom, where supplies were inevitably limited. In vape cart form, Raw Garden's Refined Live Resin offered up a pretty ideal THC groove to settle me into the late evening for some peace and quiet before drifting off to sleep. For me, it took around four or five solid puffs before I felt like I'd gotten hold of the full effect.
When everyone else at my mom's had gone to bed, I curled up next to a warm, inviting lamp in the living room with an old paperback I'd picked up from a local book shop earlier that day. As I sat and read, I casually pulled from the vape here and there, and the high came on slowly, just behind my forehead at first, then as a slight tingle in my extremities. After about my fourth puff, the full extent of the high came on like the slow build of an orchestra tuning up, appropriately thick and thoroughly mood-boosting with just a touch of subtle sedation.
The entire Raw Garden experience, from purchase to unboxing to use, is invariably enticing. If you want to feel what those who swear by the dab are raving about, you really can't do better than Raw Garden. Clear, terpy flavors, a cool inhale, and a clean, exceptional, powerful head high that lasts — these are all the essential elements of a good dab, and they're all present in the brand's fairly-priced Refined Live Resin line.
In a nutshell, consider my two cents like I'm the “Dos Equis guy” of concentrates — I don't always dab, but when I do, I prefer Raw Garden. Stay litty, my friends.
Featured image courtesy of Raw Garden