I have wanted to write this review for quite some time but I always get tripped up by wanting to say too much about it. I love the place and feel almost biased because I like it so much, particularly when you compare it to other dispensary visits/experiences I’ve had. There’s lots of different types of dispensaries around Portland particularly, but when you get down to it, you go to them for one reason and that’s the herb. The branding is decidedly up-market and a cynic might say that they’re really not doing anything much different than your average grower-turned dispensary owner, but with a shinier exterior and an upscale price to match. Of course, with Calyxes the product does actually show substance over style. One of the funnier aspects of the shop to me is that generally speaking weed nerds in the PDX area love and crave Green Bodhi herb (just watch how fast certain strains last at Farma, Oregon’s Finest, etc) but if you ask ‘em if they’ve been to Calyxes they give you a blank stare. Dudes, its in Multnomah Village. That’s still Portland. It takes like 15 minutes to get from SE to there even in traffic. Talking to people you’d think it was in the next county over or something.
Customer service is a funny thing when it comes to dispensaries. I’ve seen a bunch of different attitudes and styles, from the “we just need a body taking the money” to budtenders who essentially size you up and test your cannabis-merit before giving you the time of day. I’ve worked in the service industry for years, specifically in restaurants, and one of the major keys to being a good server is figuring out quickly what kind of interaction a diner is desiring, while keeping in mind what the place does best and what the general expectation is in a place of its caliber. Some people want a jovial, human-to-human experience. Some want their food and to be left alone. You don’t judge a person to figure out which they are, you use intuition and precedent your gentle guidance to get there. When someone comes into a shop looking solely for the biggest THC percentage, you’re going to interact with them much differently than say my mother-in-law looking for something mild to ease her everyday aches and pains. Calyxes kills at this in my experience, I love chatting with these guys about what they like, how different batches vary, which things I like based on my general preferences. I also really, really appreciate that their staff doesn’t fit the cliché stoner-bro vibe that is endemic to many PDX dispensaries. Diversity makes people feel comfortable and included. I also like that they sincerely want to hear your feedback, both about what strains you have enjoyed in the past or what you might want to see going forward. The comment from an old review about them being snooty or something is sorta odd to me, I mean, talk to Kay or Chris there and tell me you weren’t treated well.
The further along you get in your Oregon Dispensary experience the more you know that there are a handful of seemingly bulk/commodity strains that tend to be usual suspects and are everywhere. Having dealt with one of the distributors in Oregon, there’s a reason for this. There is a ton of absolutely mediocre weed that gets pumped out in big volume, and if you’re starting up a dispensary, you’re probably going to be buying some of it in bulk so you have the appearance of choice. Look at Calyxes’ menu at any given time and its noteworthy to see the absolutely crazy, unique boutique strains that pop up from time to time (and usually go quick). Alien Orange Cookies? See that everywhere? How about Sour OG? Catch some Sour Banana Sherbet at your neighborhood dispensary? They even have strains that are completely out of the box like Big Sur Holy Mountain that they essentially had to stop carrying because of customer’s complaints (to me that one was a spiritual psychedelic experience than a common buzz). This isn’t even considering their house strain, Hazy Kush, developed by the owner as a lifestyle enhancement for outdoor activity, which has then been backcrossed into another stellar brain-hack called Mystery Kush. The pollen from these often hit other big name strains like Girl Scout Cookies, Durban Poison, or Stardawg, so if you like Hazy, you’ll also get to see it expressed in different ways. I hope I’m lucky enough to keep trying these great hybrids for as long as possible.
Now, to the nitty-gritty, and to address some of the things I’ve seen reading their reviews that I feel qualified to comment on since I’m a regular at this point. The price issue is certainly one: the prices are somewhat on the high-side, and there’s never a $20 eighth special or anything. Everything really is top-shelf. I basically could just go in there and throw a dart at the board or have the staff pick something out. It’s standardized quality, you know that you’re going to get something good basically no matter what. You will notice that things that have stuck around for awhile for whatever reason will eventually get priced lower to move, but no blow-outs or anything. I think that’s a good idea, this is a high-end place. No need to wreck the prestige feeling. That being said, while everyone has their preferences I think extremely rarely a stinker slips through. When I brought a jar back that I smoked a nug or two out of and strongly disliked they couldn’t/didn’t let me swap it out for something else, but honestly that’s probably good policy. You can’t certify for sure that what’s coming back to you is necessarily the same stuff. I think the employee mentioned that if I hadn’t of smoked out of it they would have happily exchanged it though. A reasonable policy also considering that if they did do that, you’d have people mildly disliking something and coming back immediately wanting something else.
You hear people bitching about the price, and wondering how these guys can even exist in a flooded market, but the prices you see on the menu are what you pay, unlike many places where you get excited about something, then find its $10 more than the listed price PLUS the rather ludicrous 25% sales tax. Also, you bring the jars back to them and get a discount, so more often than not you can walk out with a quarter for less than a hundred depending on what you’re picking. I don’t shop at other places much if at all, but the last time I did I got shitty herb in a plastic container for like $125 a quarter. I had instant buyer’s remorse. That’s not going to happen again now they’re open seven days a week. Again, its sort of unfair to compare anywhere to Calyxes’ standard: its Green Clean Certified herb, which has accountability, versus calling your herb “organic” and hoping you’re honest.
A few other points I see in older reviews is that the herb is too speedy/jittery/picked too early. There’s something to this – it’s a preference of the grower to pick the herb on the early side of the ripeness window. You’re not going to get narcotic pot from this place, and I think that’s a good thing. Sure, there’s stuff that hits harder or is more traditionally couch-locking, but even strains you think are going to be big bruisers are usually more on the up side. It’s certainly worth thinking about though if you have a preponderance for anxiety or need medicine for insomnia. For me, I use cannabis for a number of reasons but the most obvious is ADHD – many of the strains are pure medicine for this purpose, and not necessarily “recreational” to me in the conventional sense. A great example of this is the Jesus OG – that thing is wildly stimulative and focusing but I wouldn’t want to necessarily smoke it before going to a show or something. While everyone is different the budtenders will be able to let you know before you dive too deeply in which way the different strains affect them so you’ll be able to choose wisely. What I would suggest is to perhaps let the more crazy-sativa jars sit just a week or so more before putting them out to sell. I often find that stuff I get there that’s too jittery immediately is absolutely perfect with a week on it (and by that time its almost gone). Who knows how long they’re actually curing the herb and burping the jars, but seeing other growers pushing their product out the door the minute the stems snap I’ll tell you they’re not rushing things. I’m biased though, my sweet spot for herb curing is 6 months. I got into an interesting discussion with a newly minter toker who said that he preferred fresher herb since it “emphasized the sativa characteristics.” Uh, wow, OK. I know a grower in Trinidad/Tobago who won’t touch his land-race sativas until they’ve cured for a FULL YEAR. Smoke some freshly dried Neville’s and get back to me.
Towards the “The weed isn’t 30% THC so therefore it sucks and doesn’t get me high” point mentioned in another review…come on. Testing is the Wild Wild West at this point, frequently I hear that if you send a sample into some places they’ll give you a wildly differing test result each time and its not exactly controversial to suggest there’s some pay-to-get-good-results going on. The cannabis high is much more than THC percentage. Take the Ripped Bubba they had a few months ago for example: it tested at like 16% and just got me absolutely blasted, versus a 30% (!) tested Golden Goat I tried from a local place. There’s no comparison, and no question in my mind the latter had been fudged. It looked commercial and lacked any visible trichs, versus the Ripped Bubba, which was a little spindlier (my preference) and was drenched in crystals.
“The weed was dry” is another complaint I read in the previous reviews, and weirdly I’ve met a lot of Oregon stoners that want their weed so wet it sticks to the wall. I know we all have preferences and whatnot, but that’s not properly cured weed. Stems should be snapping, and any “stickiness” should be just that. Not wetness. Sorry that you’ve been misled. I suspect if you raised that issue with anyone at the shop, they’d tell you the same (politely). Also, Oregon is usually moist in months that aren’t July, August or September, so if this bugs you, just leave the jar open overnight.
I think I said my peace. Honestly I want to see this store throughout Oregon, and later, the country. It seems plausible to me. They know what’s up. Don’t be the person that won’t drive 15 minutes to get what I think is the most primo herb available commercially in Oregon, and stands head and shoulders above the weed I’ve smoked in most of the United States, Canada, and Europe. I eagerly anticipate their moves into seed sales, and other formats of their product like extracts and outdoor. I wish I could just get a monthly subscription to the place so I could get guaranteed access to all of the amazing stuff that often comes and goes before I can get up there.
Dispensary said:Wow, we are blown away with this amazing review! We can't thank you enough for the kind words and all of the suggestions!