Origins and Backstory: Out of a tester package from Gage, I received several very uniform females. I'm not aware of which Sour Diesel cut Gage used, or exactly what strains compose White Shark Mandala. To my knowledge as of the publishing of this article, this strain does not have a name from Gage. I have been calling her "Strawberry Poptart" after her sweet bouquet.
Appearance: The bag appeal is high with this flower due to the vivid colors and decent trichome coverage. The buds are universally shaped like pine cones on this plant, which is oddly satisfying to see. Her structure reminds me of commercial and typical california weed. She has well-frosted bright green calyxes with vividly-fiery orange pistils. The leaves are a dark green, and compliment the sparkling and stacked-calyx towers. The flowers really are pretty, and are something that might come up if you googled "marijuana," they are that typical.
Aroma: The Sour Diesel ancestry is completely absent when smelling a jar of these flowers. The raw flowers smell fruity, but not overwhelmingly sweet. The first thing that comes to mind is Strawberry Poptarts and Strawberry Special K. It is a bit skunky as well, and is the sort of strawberrynote present in Amnesia Haze and Moonshine Haze. She has background notes of a warm summer compost pile, dill pickles, moss, and even the hashy spice associated with Bubba, Master, and Pure Kush. It is also a bit honeyed and sugary. The aroma is only mild to moderate but is overall surprisingly unique, enjoyable, and interesting. When flowers are broken up, it becomes a more skunky, offensive aroma with tart raspberry tones.
Flavor: Like the aroma, the flavor is a bit subtle and understated. However, the aftertaste has kept me coming back for more, and is actually a unique change from the typical and currently-popular cannabis gene pool. The flavor reminds me of Door County blood-red cherries, strawberries, and raspberries muddled in water with some forest moss. It is a bit watered down, and therefore does not have the same draw as a more intensely-fruity strain, or a smoke that is actually sweet. The aftertaste lingers very strongly, providing sort of a skunky-tangy sensation at the back of the throat. I really appreciate this aspect of the smoke, but wish the flavor were more intense.
Effects: She comes on immediately, mostly felt behind the eyes. The mellowing effects foreshadow an indica stone to come. Strawberry Poptart (as I've named her) picks up from a mellow, oceanside breeze into a steady wind of cannabinoids. She is dreamy, soft, slow, and calming. However, she still seems functional, one's faculties never fully vacating. It puts the user into a dreamscape, feeling as if floating and drifting effortlessly around the world. The potency can sneak up on someone, but the soft and easy character of this flower tends to prevent the experience from becoming too intense. This will provide a gentle and smooth experience. While the effects mostly lean toward the broad leaf drug or indica spectrum, this flower inspires kind smiles as well as a sense of serenity.
Overall Experience: I've changed my opinions about this plant and flower numerous times between germination and combustion, swaying back and forth from disappointment (mild aroma) to excitement and anticipation. I regret this flower were not more aromatic, as the aroma she does contain is sublime. I like the diverse and unsual fruit flavors that come to the front of the smoke, but am unimpressed with the intensity of these flavors. The effects are enjoyable and calm, and I think this flower might be a good choice of smoke for a novice cannabis smoker. This is simple, smiley, dreamy weed that sort of does what is expected. While not super euphoric, this flower is still a happy smoke that is easy to put down and won't wreck a day or make one too paranoid. I enjoy having this jar in my possession and certainly love the wafting aromas of honeyed-strawberry poptarts and jam, but it won't replace Chem or OG any time soon.