The first thing I noticed about this kava was the smell. It smells pretty much like “WOW” Kava, only with WOW Kava, I have to bring my nose very close to the bowl to smell it. With Solomon, it pretty much smells like pepper. If you don’t like black pepper, don’t drink Solomon kava. If your ideal beverage would be to take a few tablespoons of peppercorns ground up and made into tea, then drink as much of this stuff as possible.
This is pretty much the worst tasting kava I’ve ever had the displeasure of gulping down. Thankfully, it has a rather high quantity of crown roots to help take some of the edge off.
My best advice for anyone trying to drink this kava is to put it in the freezer for about an hour. The colder you come to ice cold, the easier it will be to drink. This is probably true of all kava, but especially true of Solomon Islands Kava. In the Solomon Islands, nakamal owners do serve their kava very cold – probably for that reason.
With that in mind, don’t be fooled. This is strong kava. One of the surprising effects is a rare talkativeness combined with a sort of pseudo-honesty. In situations where I would normally say the polite version of “none of your business,” I said a metaphorically true version of very personal things. I felt like John Cusak’s character in 1408 saying “My brother was eaten by wolves on the New Jersey Turnpike.” Now that I’m aware of the effect, I suspect I can exert more conscious control.
The emotional side of this kava is potentially not fun, depending on stimuli. I’ve found this to be true of other kavas as well, especially Shaman. While I normally take kava to deal with the stresses of daily life (sometimes immediately after) I’ve found that if I drink a bowl of Shaman instant kava and then someone starts doing or saying something that would normally upset me a moderate amount, that I am likely to lash out with what appears to be excessive anger. Solomon kava amplifies the “sad” stimuli more. So far, since I started writing this review, I’ve watched a short news broadcast about the BP spill and how they’re using dispersants to hide the oil, rather than to make any real effort to clean it up, and listened to two rather sad songs.
I’m especially sad because my brother was eaten by wolves on the New Jersey turnpike.
Seriously, this would probably be an excellent kava for bonding with others via self-revelations.
One of the things about this kava that I’ve never really noticed with other kavas is that bananas taste divine. Having never experienced the effects of cannabis, I can only compare it to the food appreciation based on second-hand experience, but it seems pretty close. Music euphoria is also prominent.
The physical effects are also pretty strong. Numb lips, of course, but also it appears to numb the hands with fewer shells than other kavas I’ve drunk, but perhaps I am simply loosing my tolerance. While I’ve heard reports that this kava has a strong stupefacient effect, other than the massive disinhibition, I don’t notice any. Then again, when I first drunk it, I was either too distracted, too demotivated, or perhaps too stupefied to actually write a review.
I didn’t notice any major after-effect like I did with Chief’s Jungle Kava.
My overall impression would be that I would enjoy this kava most while watching a Shakespearean tragedy, as part of a group confessional, or when performing minor surgery on myself.
Taste – 6/10 shells
Effect – 8/10 shells
Overall – 7/10 shells