When you make an incredible pie or grow a crazy pumpkin, you head to the county fair to claim your prize. When it comes to making hash, you head to the event known as Legends of Hashish, but there are no open signups or tryouts.
Rather, your invitation is held within the power and possession of the event organizers, and instead of the whole county rolling through, your spectators are mostly other top-tier makers and a select few lucky spectators.
Sometimes, that invite leads to a win, as in the case of Icehouse Jess of California’s Ice House Melts, who, after taking second place in 2021, won his first blue ribbon last year for the best full melt.
“It’s an honor to be invited to compete with some of the most respected and top hash makers in the game,” says Jess.
Winning a competition like Legends does much more than stroke one’s ego. It’s a useful platform to promote a brand and a great way to show consumers that your work is truly of the best quality.
Since premier hash makers have attended Legends for years, attendees often compete against the best, which puts many connoisseurs’ eyes on the results. All of this builds hype and publicity, which is one of the driving forces between successful hash brands in the traditional and adult-use markets. With more folks than ever producing solventless hash, standing out is the path toward success.
Best in show
Trying to find the best hash can be subjective. A connoisseur’s assessment will often depend on factors like flavor preferences, differing taste buds and palettes, and connections with certain profiles that may influence judgment.
Even different textures can extract different responses from different people, whether it’s based on the hash’s ability to be handled or the amount of terpenes visually present in the top layer.
Inviting makers to judge their peers in a proper setting with access to the right tools is the only way to find what stands out and “wins.” Legends give their judges everything they need for a true assessment: a torch and butane, isopropyl alcohol for cleaning, a temperature gauge, and 30 grams of sample hash.
Back in the days
While the competition may be the most publicized part, Legends did not launch with the intent to identify America’s best hash. The idea was born during a session of getting stoned. It was 2002 in Amsterdam, and the elusive legendary breeder and hash maker Skunkman Sam suggested he and co-founding partner Marcus “Bubbleman” Richardson throw a dinner at a friend’s Lebanese restaurant during the city’s iconic High Times Cannabis Cup. The restaurant known as The Artist had held space in years past for folks like Richardson and Sam to puff to their hearts’ desire out of German-made Roor bongs while enjoying incredible cuisine.
Since not everyone who attended the Cup was a hash nerd, the team decided to create 50 tickets and hand-select folks to gather in The Artist’s private room for the evening. Due to the high profile and sensitive nature of those in attendance (many were wanted as hash smugglers), Legends did not allow cameras or phones.
Despite being a celebration, the event soon became a full-blown friendly competition. The Artist would host at least 10 Legends over the next 15 years, further advancing the competitive culture and overall demand for higher quality solventless hashish. Since its inception, the event has been hosted in four countries: The Netherlands, Spain, Canada, and now the United States.
Born in the USA
Legends’ entry into the U.S. began with Addison DeMoura. He has been in the cannabis industry for more than 25 years, having launched Steep Hill Labs, and now works in the marketing and sales sector of cannabis.
After attending two Legends of Hashish dinners and being a huge fan of Bubbleman, DeMoura reached out to the hash mogul. Could he try a United States edition? A friend had access to a venue in downtown Los Angeles that recalled the same ambiance from The Artist, and COVID restrictions had just been lifted.
“Hash is the elixir that makes people love people more,” says DeMoura. “When you get good hash with good people in a good environment, it breaks down all the walls. Legends is all about the best food, the best hash, the best people, all in the same place.”
The American version of Legends has made some tweaks to the traditional format. For instance,
historically the winner is chosen by the first plate to be empty. To mimic this approach, a point-ofsales system was implemented during the first U.S. event in 2021 to keep track of requested samples, but the following year scorecards were kept for better accuracy. Other changes are in store for this year’s December 2-3 gathering. Rosin kits will go out to judges three weeks in advance to give folks the proper time to make their decisions. And, for the first time, Legends will have an official outsider host: Twitch star and cannabis talk show host Adam Ill. The event, in keeping with tradition, should be legendary.