Kava by Rex seems to be the new game in town. So far, I've been overwhelmed by the fresh flavor and surprising potency of their Kavas. I also like the grind of it - it is nice and powdery and just smells wonderful when you open the bag. I've already reviewed the Vanuatu 3 Kava and tried the Fiji Waka blend (to be reviewed soon), and both of those tasted fresh and felt great. But tonight I brewed up a batch of Vanuatu Isa/Tudei and was really impressed.
I can't figure out whether or not there is legitimacy to the claim that this is Piper wichmanii, though the Kava by Rex website admittedly explains that it is "speculated" to be so. To those who don't already know, Piper wichmanii is the wild variety of Kava that the various varieties of Piper methysticum were derived (domesticated) from. It is said that Piper wichmanii stills grows wildly in Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu and could have been endemic to either of those two contemporary countries. The website also claims that this Kava may last for two days, which I also can't confirm or deny at this point. One thing is for sure: with the kind of pleasant "happy" buzz it gives I certainly hope it really does last two days.
This Kava is quite thick and very typical of Vanuatu Kava. It has a mild peppery flavor to it which I think is much subdued by the prescribed preparation method - 2 tablespoons to 16 oz. of water. It is very delicious and reminds me a bit of Nakamal at Home's "Wow!" Vanuatu Kava. There are actually a few similarities that lead me to wonder whether there is some connection between the two varieties.
It gives off a subdued, giddy kind of feeling that is warm but perky. I was actually feeling a bit tired prior to drinking it but was pleasantly surprised by a kind of "second wind." If you're a Kava kavasseur, you'll understand when I say this Kava helps you "breathe deeply." It makes you want to stretch your body and massage your muscles. It takes away all sense of pain in your muscles and joints. Of all the Kavas I have tried this one seems the most appropriate to be placed in the category of "medicinal." It also has very mild but pleasant psychological effects, reducing feelings of stress and overwhelming worry that too often accompany our "modern" lives. In fact, as I write this I must report that I feel better right now - in this blissful and rested moment - than I have in a few days. As I said above, if this truly is Tudei (two day) than I have found yet another great companion in the Kava universe.
Taste - 8/10
Effect (Body) - 9.5/10
Effect (Mind) - 9.5/10
Kava by Rex Vanuatu Isa/Tudei 9/10