Every once in a while, I get a mysterious package forwarded from my publisher. This one was bigger than most, and came with an intriguing note: “This one will really blow your mind.” So I opened it to see once again that the guy knows my taste:
The Grizzly Guru is the first portable vaporizer I’ve seen that really does it all – dry herb, concentrates, and e-juice – and not only does it well, but does it right. The secret is in the interchangeable “heads” that dock to the main unit, which adapts its entire operating style to what you’re doing. It’s not actually artificial intelligence, just intelligently designed. Everything you need (except the weed) is included, and the Guru sells for less than $200.
The Grizzly Guru is the first portable vaporizer I’ve seen that really does it all – dry herb, concentrates, and e-juice – and not only does it well, but does it right.
For herbs, you set the temperature digitally, and it heats to that temperature quickly when you want it to. The temperature stays right there until you turn it off or change it…perfect for either solo vaping or passing it around. When you switch to the cartridge adapter, the Guru turns into a super-powered top-of-the-line customized pen-style vaporizer, where the up and down buttons now digitally control the exact voltage going into the atomizer, and the top button becomes a “push-to-heat” button!
There’s hours of battery power available for long or repeated sessions…in fact, I only have to recharge it every four days or so, and I’m using it several times a day. And unlike some other portable vaporizers, it can be used normally while recharging.
To get the details behind the vape, I interviewed Sean, the CEO of Grizzly Originals, and Kory, the COO. Grizzly Originals is a subsidiary of Namaste Vapes, an online retailer that operates primarily in Europe, Australia, New Zealand and who went public recently in Canada. They designed the Guru vaporizer in-house, and made prototypes on a 3D printer. The dry herb head uses a ceramic heater encased in a ceramic housing, with a heating coil embedded around the chamber. Charging, heating, and voltage monitoring are all controlled from the sealed main unit, which also contains two 2600 mAh batteries.
Dry Herb Mode
The first thing you do is slide the ceramic herb head onto the main unit until it locks in place. Then you press the top button three times in succession to turn it on. The Guru is now in temperature setting mode, and you simply change the temperature with the Plus and Minus buttons below the display. Hold one down long enough, and it starts moving faster.
Once you’ve gotten the Guru to your desired temperature setting, it will remember that setting even after turning it off. To begin vaping, simply hold the top button in for 5 seconds, and it goes into heating mode, and rapidly (about 30 to 45 seconds) gets up to your set temperature. It stays there until you hit any of the buttons, which puts it back into temperature setting mode. Then you can change the temperature setting, or turn the unit off with another 3 clicks of the top button.
To load it, you simply grind up some herb and dump it in the hole; it holds enough for one or two people without refilling (depending on tolerance and quality, of course). Don’t tamp it down, or you might restrict airflow. As with most vaporizers, a long, slow inhalation works best.
The Guru is so clean that you can easily taste the terpenes in your cannabis if you start inhaling as the temperature climbs past 220F, which is way under the temperature that THC even starts vaporizing. The ceramic heating chamber never gets hot enough in normal operation that it will burn your cannabis. I found that 375F (190C) on this unit was the “sweet spot”, where I got good vapor, good effects, and great taste with my herb of choice, which happens to have Jack Herer’s name on it. Jack never lets me down!
When it’s plugged into the charger, the operation is slightly different: it starts heating automatically soon after you turn it on with 3 clicks of the power button. However, like a mobile phone, it can be charged safely (without heating) and even faster if you leave the power off and just plug it into the charger, which is a “wall wart” style with a 5’ cord.
The mouthpiece (and almost identical optional male 14mm adapter) is made of molded glass and generally resembles a miniature wide-screen CRT tube (see picture). Did I mention it’s made of thin molded glass? I discovered this fact while trying to clean out one of the air holes with the end of a paper clip (use a pin instead!). The mouthpiece cracked across its face, but is staying intact (so far with several weeks of multiple daily use) with absolutely no sign of glass chips that might be inhaled. But it should be sturdy enough in regular use, if not mishandled by clumsy product reviewers.
One of the biggest surprises I had with the Guru is that the vapor is so cool and easy to inhale that I keep underestimating how much I’m inhaling, so I’ve gotten way higher than I wanted, more times than I can count. It even passes the “Felicity test”: despite her very sensitive lungs, my wife can easily use the Guru without problems or coughing. Since she could never really get the hang of using my MFLB, this is actually the first time she’s inhaled actual bud vapor in 5 years!
I ran into a number of slight glitches, mostly relating to the battery charge display, but Kory assured me that these were due to me getting an early production unit, and that new products will have a software update that give proper resolution. My particular unit sometimes pops out of heating mode on its own, but that’s probably related to the software as well, and in any case is a very minor thing. Sneaky tip: if you press the Plus and Minus buttons simultaneously, the temperature display will toggle between Celsius and Fahrenheit.
Kory also assured me that it’s perfectly safe to clean the chamber with isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab, just don’t submerge the thing. And don’t worry about all the little pieces of herb that fall inside: the electronics are designed to deal with that as well, and they will eventually fall out the air holes on the sides. There’s also a one-year warranty, which includes everything except batteries and glass.
Along with the Guru. you get a cleaning brush, some alcohol wipes, the charger, and a neat little metal funnel to help you load up the ceramic heater unit. But if you happen to lose, misplace, step on, or your pet robot snake eats the aforementioned funnel, the top of the heater unit is kind of a funnel on its own (Grizzly Originals understands its target audience). You will also find that a set of tweezers will come in very handy for pulling out your newly created AVB, at least if your weed is as sticky as mine!
Note: the actual unit is all black plastic, although they’re considering making some in custom colors. I couldn’t resist adding some spiffy orange paint to the logo using a toothpick on mine though! And it helps it show up better in pictures.
Here again, Grizzly did it right. The male end of the “head” that the cartridges screw onto is doubly threaded for both internal and external standard 510/eGo mouthpieces, and almost everything I had around here fit and worked perfectly (the sole exception was a pen atomizer that uses proprietary Atmos/601 threading). I even dug out my preloaded Bhang oil cartridge, which I only try once every 6 months or so because it’s so strong that one good hit usually leaves me too loopy to stand up.
The wax/oil/concentrate cartridge was ceramic lined, and tasted great with everything I put in it. The e-juice cartridge is well built from heavy-duty materials and uses a silicone gasket that did not leak when I tightened it properly, and also performed quite admirably, giving off huge clouds of vapor even on the lowest voltage settings with my homemade e-juice.
Water You Waiting For?
Grizzly also sent me a nifty cool “business card” grinder, and one of their amazing Grizzly Glass Water Tools, which is about the smallest water attachment I’ve ever seen. The beauty of this one is that it not only fits right onto the optional 14mm adapter, but you can also get adapters for a number of other popular vaporizers (like the Ploom Pax, Arizer Air and Solo and the Storz and Bickel Crafty/Mighty). You can also use the 14mm adapter as a mouthpiece, but wipe it dry before attaching it to glass.
Unlike most portable glass bongs or bubblers, the Water Tool made of quite thick glass indeed, so you should have no qualms carrying it around. This 30 second video should convince you (Grizzly Originals personnel should cover their eyes):
When full, it only holds about 2½” (6 cm) of water, and that doesn’t seem like it would provide much filtration, except that this thing has more percolation than a 1960s coffee maker! Here’s the trick to filling it as high as possible: run your faucet and add water from the bottom, then turn it over quickly and fill it from the top.
Normally, I like to set the Guru at 375F (190C), and at that temperature I don’t get any “burnt” taste whatsoever. But when I’m vaping an indica strain, especially one with some CBD in it, I like to turn it up to around 405F (206C) to make sure I get all the goodies, and using the Water Tool stops that from becoming…untasty. In fact, I normally cough every time the Guru is set up that high, but not when using the Water Tool. The Water Tool probably wouldn’t be much use filtering smoke, but it’s just right for vapor!
One Last Thing
If you’ve read this far, you deserve a reward. So we’ve arranged that if you order the Guru directly from Namaste Vapes and use the code BC420, you’ll save 15%. How cool is that?!?