Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nakamal At Home - Wow! Vanuatu Kava

In J. Maarten Troost's "Getting Stoned With Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu," he describes his first experience with Kava kava as something like an opening up to the world, a new liberation into a social universe he had never before known. Meeting an acquaintance at a Nakamal in Vanuatu for the first time, he calls him his "brother" and remembering his wife is around exclaims "that's my wife.... I love my wife!" The importance and poignancy of everything close to him in his life is revealed to him at once. Well, at least after two shells. He senses serenity, contentment, and an emotion as far from dissatisfaction as one can possibly feel. This is how good Kava is supposed to make you feel.
"Wow"doesn't even begin to describe Wow! Vanuatu Kava. At $30.00 for 250 grams, one feels like they have cheated Nakamal At Home. "Really, this was only thirty bucks?" It is a very fine, Kavasseur grade Kava kava that can only be described as perfect. It is far easier to prepare than coarser Kava kavas like Black Sand Kava. One cup of Wow! is good for about two and a half cups of cold water, but after kneading I transferred the remaining root into another cold cup of water and got a few more shells of weaker Kava kava out of it. With something as high quality as this, you want to lick the dish when you're done.

First, the flavor. Very good. After brewing, note the gorgeous color of this Kava - it looks like Chai Latte or White Chocolate Milk. This is about as mild as Kava kava can taste. My advice is similar to what Thelonious Monk's would be: Straight, No Chaser. Put the tropical fruits away, you'll want to navigate through the whole bouquet of flavors Wow! has to offer. Although not as tasty as Black Sand Kava, this brew is very satisfying.You will feel numbness in your nose just sniffing the shell. The flavor lacks spiciness and has a creamier, almost taro-like taste. There is even some minor natural sweetness to be found in the aftertaste. It is mild, but serene. If you don't like the taste of a typical shell of Kava, you will love this. But chances are that this Kava is far too powerful for you (in terms of the effects) if you haven't grown to appreciate the flavor of a good Kava kava. With that in mind, be careful who you brew Wow! for. This is absolutely NOT for newcomers.

I wasn't prepared, or worthy enough, for the powerful effect this Kava kava had on me. As Kavasseurs in the Pacific say, this "kava speaks to you." Rating the effects/potency of this Kava is impossible, because it simply sails off the charts. Nakamal At Home is quite honest when they tell you to avoid machinery after drinking Kava kava, but after drinking Wow! don't even get into a car. Three shells will get you krunked enough to want to find the nearest bean bag and just dream away. About an hour after I drank three shells I got into someone's car to get some dinner and felt very dizzy - I asked to go back home and once I was on solid ground I felt fine. This is real Vanuatu high grade Kava kava - respect it.

That being said, holy shit. This is the real deal. Believe me when I say that this stuff will floor you. If you drink Kava on a regular basis, don't even think twice - buy Wow! right now. I wish it had more to offer in the way of flavor, but Nakamal At Home aren't lying when they tell you this stuff is rare, potent, and connoisseur grade. What is even more impressive is that Nakamal At Home claims that Chief's Jungle Kava (a Papua New Guinean variety available at their website) is even stronger than this. I'll believe it when I feel it.

Flavor - 9/10
Effect - 9/10

Nakamal At Home - Wow! Vanuatu Kava - 9 shells out of 10.

-Le Kavasseur


  1. Hi Douglas
    Great to see your blog as a genuine kava Kavasseur. I hope it continues and provides honest and unbias feed back to those that already consume kava and those that want to.
    Many people have a bad first-up experience of kava because they start with a poor quality product or have no idea how to prepare it.
    As the processor and developer of the WOW kava, Black Sands Kava and the Shaman Instant Kava I appreciate your comments.
    My agent in America, Nakamal at Home (Jeffrey Bowman) are great mentors for the kava industry as they live and breath kava and believe in its positive and affective qualities and affects. Jeffrey has been to Vanuatu several yimes to stay with me on Santo Island, not just for a Holiday but to stay in tune with the kava industries and survey the continual improvements in my factory. He enjoys mixing with the Melanesian people and sharing a shell at the kava bars. He does a great job in the promotion of kava to the American people.
    Jeffrey gives me continual feed back from the consumers of my products which allows me to further develop kava products for the USA market.
    Thanks again for your comments on my products.
    John Fordham

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  2. Thanks for the comment! I'm happy to hear that Jeffrey is down there living and breathing Kava with the People of Vanuatu. I am also an anthropologist and would one day love to come to Vanuatu and do some research on Kava culture and Kava horticulture.

    Thanks again,

  3. This is amazing kava I've been drinking kava regularly for about two years from all different vendors. And this stuff is just on a whole new level. You have to respect it, cause it will knock you on your ass. And its easy to drink, which is amazing considering how strong it is.

  4. Douglas, John, All~~:
    ~~*Finally* have gotten around to trying Wow. (John, I understand you have developed this product.) Thus far, I have tried Chief’s Jungle, Black Sands, Tongan, Shaman.
    ~~ Definitely liiiiiked this one. Very easy to brew. Loved the beige-chalk color, easy flavor, rather mild, with unexpected finish-bite (Rahr!). Decided to brew half-strength based on Douglas’ writings. Used the larger nylon mesh for the initial squeezings, & bottled it quickly before I ran off to a lecture & returned to the sought-after brew at 8:30pm. Refrigerated in my ¾-full mason jar of brew (a little over 2 cups), there was about an inch of fine sediment, so I filtered with a much much finer nylon before I drank a half-cup “shell”. Within 5 minutes I was talking to my non-Kava friend in fluent & excited fashion about the speakers of the evening. Very mental, associational, but focused, w/very slight sort of pleasant body coordination-loosening. Wouldn’t call it muscle-relaxing per se; this strain comes the closest for me thus far. There’s so much connection between mind release & body reaction that these lines become very blurred. Second cup definitely heightened the fluency of conversation &, as well, cemented the coordination-balance reaction as a definite effect. It didn’t overwhelm me, it was just the type of thing that you noticed that if you moved too fast, there would be a little bit of a rubbery feel. Movements would turn out to be slightly slower than anticipated (simultaneously though w/slightly heightened visual). So I learned to compensate for this – that said, it was a fun-feeling effect if “expected” – by moving a tad slower/carefully and/or not moving as much (preferred).
    ~~My issue – & I’ve read that a custom revolves around people drinking at say, 5 or 6pm and eating by 8 or 9pm – is that I started late, just after 8, and really wanted to get in a dinner before I slept – so I had to kind of rush through the full experience. Decided to have another dose at the 45 minute mark which added to the euphoria a little more, but basically extended the values of the second-cup expression – finally, eating rice & veggies at the one-hour mark. Total= three (3) one-half cup half-strength shells. Cautious, right? (lol, I thought so. I probably could have had another…but, read on.) Regarding my light dinner, I’d say even though the food brought the effect down somewhat, I still felt it for another hour while I pleasantly watched TV, and slept very well after that, with, of course, “fluent” dreams & easy remembrance. Drank water several times, diuretic as well (not unmanageable) & still, in reality, feel it somewhat the next morning, if I tune into it. A little harder to wake up, but mind is nicely relaxed I notice, once I stop moving around too much. Hard to do when one needs to get ready in the morning.
    ~~Easy-to-drink strong-variety kava, extremely rewarding. My normal kava session would be double what I did (two-1/2 hours vs one hour) before I would eat. So I’d be consuming four/ five full-strength shells vs three half-strength ones. Perhaps, like I’ve suggested w/Chief’s Jungle, this could be used as a one or two-time booster to other shorter-acting brews. That said, its effects by itself are extremely nice, & I almost wouldn’t want to introduce other varieties to mix up these effects. Definitely an argument could be had to brew it weaker & stretch out several glasses even further. Certainly it soaks generously; that nutty flavor comes through even further with longer soak times. Honestly, the powder-like consistency & easy juice leads me to believe its kavalactones & flavor could be squeezed out more times than one might initially imagine. Great job on this product development, John. Nakamal At Home, gratitude! And thanks for the inspirational forum, Douglas. As the Bula’s continue…

  5. Wow! Fantastic review. I'm going to brew up another batch just so I can remember how pleasant this Kava is. Thanks for re-inspiring me as well!

  6. Just made my first batch of WOW Kava from Nakamal. The fallowing is a timeline of the events and effects that occurred. Forgive me if my grammar gets a little messy towards the end.

    8pm - First shell down and my mouth went completely numb for the next 5 minutes.

    8:15 - Muscles are starting to feel very relaxed and I notice myself becoming a lot more talkative.

    8:20 - Downed second shell and 5 minutes after doing so my arms are now starting to feel heavy just from typing. I am watching a movie called "The Invention of Lying" and I find myself laughing at everything. Going to take a 20 minutes break before my next shell.

    8:50 - Third shell downed and at this point I am starting to feel a cerebral buzz. Nothing can upset me at this point. My fingers and feet feel numb at this point. After downing this third shell I walked outside to smoke a cigarette and was staring at the stars and the moon in amazement as they seemed so bright. The moon was giving off a glare almost as bright as the sun.After walking back inside from my cigarette my legs felt like rubber. It wasn't hard to walk but trust me, it feels a lot better to sit down.

    9:10 - I am watching TV while sitting on my couch and it feels as if I am one with the couch. My body feels very heavy at this point. I'll check back after my forth shell.

    9:25 - Still feeling strong effects after my third shell so I am holding off a little longer for my forth shell. My father just called and I was very talkative. I didn't want to stop talking. I am in a state of pure bliss.

    9:45 - Just downed a forth shell and at this point I am krunked. The only thing I can compare it to is drinking 2 bottles of red wine and a six pack of beer. However, my speech is not slurred and my mental clarity is still there. By no means am I saying I could go out and drive a vehicle but at this point I don't even want to get up.

    10:25 - Just downed my fifth and final shell. Words can’t even describe how I feel right now. I feel relaxed yet motivated at the same time. All I want to do is give off positive energy. At this point, I can already tell I will be sleeping very well tonight. I will check back after I finish watching the new episode of Dexter.

    11:00 - At this point I am floored. I don’t even want to move at this point but if I have to get up and walk it is absolutely no problem at all. It’s getting kinda hard to type because my arms are feeling heavy.

    11:30 - Just finished watching the new episode of Dexter and I noticed all of my attention was focused on watching the show. Usually my mind is wandering off every once in a while but during this episode it actually felt like I was part of the show. The effects of the Kava are coming down at this point and I am getting extremely drowsy.

    Conclusion: This Kava is of very good quality. For such a potent Kava, it’s taste is rather mild. Much more mild than the Stone Kava I consumed last week. It’s effects on both mind and body are equal unlike the Stone Kava I consumed last week. The Stone Kava was a more cerebral experience. The Wow Kava makes me feel more relaxed but the Stone makes me feel more krunked. Depending on what kind of night I want will depend on which one I prepare. You can’t go wrong with either one.

  7. This is my first time drinking Kava. (I have tried the 85% Kona Kava paste before but the results were not as anticipated.)I used 3 cups with 6 cups of water and it got 6 people a pleasant "krunkness". However I felt somewhat more stimulated then assed-out, prehaps a result of paying my dues to the "Kava Gods". Needless to say I am very happy I chose this product for my first experience drinkin kava. Thanks to your reviews I had better insight on what kind of kava to purchase. Please continue to give fair honest reviews. Next...On to the Hiwa!

  8. I just make kava for the first time tonight. I'm two shells in with the wow kava over the last 40 minutes. My mouth went numb for a while! I do not feel that different though. I made the kava to spec according to the directions. Maybe I made it wrong or I need more. I'm 6'2" and 247lbs. I'll just keep drinking the kava and see what happens

  9. Ok I'm the 247 guy that just posted that wasn't feeling anything. I had made a double recipe with two cups Wow kava, four cups water. After drinking about three shells with over two hours I felt nothing. I chugged the rest! ooh I feel it now!!! I feel relaxed, calm, stress free, and funny. Everything is funny and cool. Tomorrow I'll try the chief's jungle kava. I have the week off of work so no worries...

  10. Ok, just a wrap up from 247. I finally felt the full effects of Wow kava. It is a great feeling and just the stress reliever that I needed. I definitely just needed more kava than most people that I've read about on the blogs here. Everyone who blogged here gave great and informative information so thanks everyone!

  11. I think the first time I drank wow kava I mixed 4 heaping tablespoons of kava with about 4 cups of water. I drank it all within about 10 minutes, and it practically floored me. I then bought some Chiefs Jungle Kava expecting something stronger, but WOW! is much stronger than chiefs. Chiefs left me feeling mellow and relaxed, but WOW! came with feelings of euphoria and an almost drunk-like state. WOW! is very enjoyable, but should be used in moderation and be respected.

  12. Is Wow out of stock and ever coming back?

  13. I have no idea. You will have to ask Nakamal at Home. I expect that they will get more in the near future, it is one of their staple varieties.

  14. I recently got kona kavas "hawaiian organic" kava and was not very pleased,it was very weak..I am wondering if you could recommend a kava that would be great for focus and calming..I spend a lot of time working on the computer and I am a hyperactive person..thanks

  15. just wanted to say that I am pretty inexperienced with Kava- I have tried the Tongan, Stone, and now this Wow kava. I, however, have "paid my dues" and can feel the effects perfectly fine and I believe I make the stuff pretty well. I just wanted to warn people that if you follow Nakamalathome's directions of 1 cup root to 2 cups water you will be totally obliterated and probably sick. I used 3 tablespoons to 2 cups of water and it is PLENTY strong, so much so that I am holding off on my 4th shell because i dont want to overdo it. Freaking awesome Kava though, I like it better than stone because of the enormously relaxing and actually euphoric body high. I have tried many drugs in my day including MDMA, Cannabis, LSD, and mushrooms, and while this is obviously no comparison to those in terms of effect, I can safely say that this particular Kava is QUITE powerful in both body and mind.

  16. Adam- Try fire island instant kava from, It is very great for relaxing and for focusing, as long as you limit at about 2 shells. More than that and you will be krunk, but i guess you get even more focused then.

  17. The new wow supply is great and so fresh, this is a good time to get in.

  18. thank you for the response Patrick! Im going to give that a try..

  19. Thanks for the reviews. Very helpful to find honest reviews by someone not actually selling something.

  20. I enjoy Wow. Some food for thot.... I had a negative experience last night when I drank Wow and then smoked up. It was fun for about an hour until I became really nouseous and felt like throwing up. I dont know if that would be every ones experience mixing the two. It was regs so Im sure that contributed to the paranoia....cuz high end sinsemilla doesnt do that to me. I wont be mixing the two ever again. I went to bed at 9p and slept till I got up for school. But wow by itself is delightful.

  21. I'm trying to figure out what to try as a first timer. This was described above as "not for newcomers!" but I wonder if it would be a good choice if prepared as a weaker brew than usual and work your way up. Or is there more to it than that?

    Otherwise, so far, it sounds like Malekula Magic would be a good choice for an newcomer.

    What would be your recommendation?

  22. Just discovered this blog, and ordered some of this Wow! and Stone Kava. Thus far I have only tried 40% Kavalactone extract from eBay (not impressed) and some apparently low grade powdered root that had little to no effect. The extract was like a really small benzo dose, worked somewhat the first time but afterward didn't do much at all. I am so glad I found a LEGIT review site, and somehow I have a very good feeling that next week I will finally understand why so many people like Kava. I refuse to give up my pursuit of an herbal anxiety/PTSD medication - enough RX poison for me. Will be back with detailed reviews for both Kava strains.

    1. weed and kava go together like milk and cookies! I had used extracts in the past and even 84% kavalactone extract did very little. The secret is in the preparation and wow! kava is a strong drug that deserves a place next to shrooms in my book. A few years ago I'd have told you it had the same effect as valerian tea, but I've finally had a breakthrough, and kavasuer has steered me more or less in the right direction.

  23. Noob here, just ordered the Wow! and some nylon diaper looking things from Nakamal. Do I need anything else to brew this stuff right?
    Tony San Diego

  24. Hello,

    I search a kava NOT drunk, and the best for ANXIETY !

    'm french, sorry for my bad english.

    I search a Root Kava Powder for my ANXIETY.

    So, I want a powerful kava because HIGH anxiety.
    A long lasting kava, et not a lot of expensive... for treat my anxiety all day, every day !

    I've try "Quick Kava Premium" (Vanuatu Kava Store). For me it's 8/10 for anxiety, et 5/10 for pickled. But it work only 1 hour, and it is expensive.

    I've try "Vanuatu Isa/Tudei" and it is very pickled/drunk (I hate this), and it is very small anxiolytique (I want a lot of anxiolytic effect). So, this kava don't treat my anxiety. I search a kava who treat my HIGH anxiety and don't create pickled/drunk.

    I DON'T want a kava drunk, I DON'T want be pickled as alcohol.

    I search a Kava a lot of anxiolytic and not drunk.

    Thanks to help me !

  25. Try looking a kava from and

    Hawaiian kavas have less DHK/DHM which would cause that drunk feeling and more kavain the relaxed euphoric feeling.

  26. Ok thanks Anonymous,

    So "Farmer's Choice" of 100% hawaiian kava root powder is very anxiolytique and euphoric feeling, and not drunk feeling?

    (sorry for my bad english)

  27. Yea Farmer's Choice" of 100% hawaiian kava root powder will be a good choice have heard only good things about it. And it would be relaxing but not drunk feeling.

  28. This is hands down the strongest kava I've had. 1/2 a cup of powder squeezed out for me and my wife is plenty to induce a spectacular stoney high!
    Never got a chance to sample the soloman but have tried the highest rated kavas here and WOW is stronger and more spectacularly euphoric than any of them-- even paradise's frozen stuff, which I found remarkably weak, for as highly as it was rated.
    It is pretty pricey stuff, but well worth it. After that I'd say chief's jungle which lands Nakamal at Home a solid position as my favorite drug dealer!
    Yes, I said drug dealer! If I had enough to share, I'm pretty sure my friend J**** would not be trying to kick heroin right now, cause he'd have spent his money on kava instead!
    If I had enough money to drink WOW kava every day I certainly would. Notice that this review only has a numerical rating. I have found kavasuer's strength rating to be far more useful. File WOW under "Extra strong" and revise this for an all around perfect 10.

  29. Is this the strongest kava on the market? It very well may be, drink half of what you usually do, otherwise you will get very nauseous. The effects are very "stony" and manifest in the body, like feelings of relaxation and heaviness in the limbs. Exceptionally strong.

  30. So what's your method of preparation for this particular kava (anyone)? Basically the directions that come with it, or something else?

  31. I will start by saying I am new to kava. My first experience with kava was fire island instant. I knew instant kava was supposed to be less potent but I still enjoyed the effects it produced for me. I wanted to feel the full effects so I ordered WOW! kava and was not disappointed. I conjured some up last night and thought hmm not as strong as I thought but still nice. Just recently, about two hours ago, I made a slightly stronger batch and had about a 12 ounce cup and was completely blown away. I'm feeling pleasantly relaxed and very sociable. The only downside is that I wish I could get more for my money. Its a little expensive, so for me I will use it for special occasions. Anyone have any suggestions for cheaper kava without sacrificing potency? I don't mind the taste of kava or the texture so that wont be an issue.

  32. This is very informative and great.very inspiration blog.!!
    Lalitpur Grey Sandstone

  33. i just ordered some wow tonight, it should be here in a few days. i have used nambawan from BKH. that stuff was verry strong for me @ 2tbsp. i hear this stuff is stronger i am exited to try it out!

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