One of the most wonderful things about Kava is its incredible diversity. You get acquainted with a certain feeling from Kava and then suddenly find yourself face to face with something like you've never had before. A non-Kavasseur would never be able to tell the difference between a Vanuatu Kava from Tanna Island or a Fijian Kava. But a Kavasseur can tell the difference between Fijian Kava and a Tongan Kava, a Kava from Tanna Island or one from Pentecost Island. There is so much variety, and so much distinctiveness. One of my favorite weekday Kavas is Nakamal at Home's Tongan Kava, so I've learned to associate Tongan Kavas with a mellow, heavy-eye, muscle-relaxing feeling. Kava by Rex offers something that is almost the opposite of that.
Tongan Pride has a very strong taste, but one that is more sweet and creamy than piney and peppery. It is heavy, thick, and has quite a resilient sugary aftertaste. It is not the kind of "strong flavor" that you would find in a piney PNG Kava or a peppery Vanuatuan Kava. It tastes more like wood-flavored ice cream with a splash of a cashew flavor. I wouldn't call it too mild or easy to drink, but it is definitely not an unpleasant taste. After you down a shell you might feel the urge to shiver a bit, but not in a way that is entirely unlikeable. It has an interesting and unexpected flavor, but not one that I think I'll be craving too much.
The mental effect of this Kava is quite strange. It makes you really want to be around people. For anyone who feels awkward or uncomfortable in social situations, this is the perfect Kava for you. You might even begin calling friends that you've been meaning to call. Of course, if you drinking this Kava with someone else you will feel like talking, talking, and talking. It calms the nerves and makes you feel peppy. In fact, after about three shells I actually had a huge burst of energy and felt like getting up and moving around. Not exactly the kind of feeling most people, including me, associate with Kava.
One thing that surprised me about this Kava was that the effect all seemed to be mental. I didn't get any kind of significant body buzz beyond just a little initial warmth. The soreness I had in my legs from 12 miles of walking the day before was definitely gone, but I wasn't able to enjoy the full-body tingling and fuzziness that I get from other Kavas.
This Kava is a bit hard to rank, because it is so all-together different from other Kavas. How does one compare the mental effects of an uppity Kava with those of a Kava that is more mild, sedative, and relaxing? This Kava would be brilliant for anyone who needed to feel comfortable speaking in front of public or before going to a high-nerve work party. But if you've just gotten home and want to sink into the couch, this isn't going to be your ideal Kava. I like it, but it doesn't really fit the bill. Thankfully, Kava by Rex carries a lot of other Kavas that do.
In sum: A great party Kava.
Taste - 8/10
Effect (Mind) - 8/10
Effect (Body) - 7/10
Strength - Medium
Kava by Rex's Tongan Pride - 7.6/10