Mitch Shenassa thoughtfully describes aroma in his first (let’s hope it’s not his last) Cannabis Aficionado’s Handbook, which is a must read for any aficionado.
This simple black and white pocket-sized handbook, among other things, categorizes ‘aroma’ into four categories: Ambient Aroma, Exuded Aroma, Essential Aroma and Incinerated Aroma, all of which tantalize the olfactory into a transient state of bliss for which we as cannabis aficionados simply call, “the nose.” Experiencing cannabis aroma in this fashion gives us a greater appreciation and understanding of how it was cultivated, and more importantly, how to develop a palette for what we enjoy.
Ambient Aroma: “The aficionado’s first encounter with the flower’s fragrance, the cloud of terpenes that has filled the headspace in the flower’s sealed jar. The Ambient Aroma is the fully ripened expression of the flower, filling the nostrils and sinuses with a lush, intoxicating bouquet that can be expressed across the aromatic spectrum.”
Exuded Aroma: “The smell given off by an individual flower when held to the nose. A well-practiced patience in drying and curing techniques is revealed by the presence of this often ephemeral aroma.”
Essential Aroma: “The most unique aromatic characteristic of each varietal and is most frequently evoked by cultivators to identify an unknown flower. [It] is a pure fragrance from deep inside the flower, where it is protected from the profusion of environmental variables that threaten to compromise or degrade it.”
Incinerated Aroma: “[The] aromas that remain in the air after the flower has been smoked. The Incinerated Aroma offers the trained palette an analytical handle for the smoke, revealing either imperfectly flushed flowers that burn hotter (destroying more terpenes) or above-average concentrations of terpenes realized through exceptional cultivation.”