Briefly visiting the United States from Ghana, I was asked by several Kava vendors to review some of their new products. The first set of samples I received were from Paradise Kava - a new Honey Lemon extract, a bag of PNG Isa (to be reviewed in coming days), and some experimental salves and calming oils. I had a chance to talk to Adil Ghiasi from Paradise Kava on the phone. "I'm really proud of our new Kava extract Doug," he told me "this is the culmination of years of trying to perfect this stuff." It is remarkably different from Paradise Kava's previous Kava extracts, most notably in its flavor and appearance.
Pictured below are the previous extract (2011) on the left and the newest extract (2012) on the right:
I was surprised, particularly when comparing the two extracts side by side, at how much unlike the new extract is compared to its predecessor. In terms of texture, flavor, and effects the 2012 extract is so fundamentally different from the previous one that it almost seems like the concept is altogether different. And in some ways it is. The newest extract packs much more of a punch than its previous manifestation - for example, it produces a level of numbness that would be sufficient for having a root canal done. The effects are immediate (not that having to wait a minute or two is altogether intolerable) as the newer extract is designed for immediate absorption. On top of all that, it produces a much more prolonged, sustained buzz. According to Adil Ghiasi from Paradise Kava, there is a higher concentration of desirable kavalactones such as kavain and dihidrokavain in the 2012 batch. It is also processed using a new method that produces a denser, more integrated product with less granule. So it is tasty, smooth, and strong - but doesn't have double-bonded kavalactones (such as those found in "Tudei" Kavas) that you feel the next day.
In terms of flavor, I'm a little bit torn between the newest batch and the previous batch. I feel like they should both be offered. The 2011 extract is much sweeter than the newest manifestation, which is really quite strongly flavored and tastes more like Kava than the previous one did. In fact, it has a kind of spicy undertone that surprised me when I first tried it. I was so fond of the 2011 batch that I used to gobble it up like candy in the evening time when I was winding down. I don't picture myself doing that with something that deeply impacts me after a couple pea-sized doses. That is not to say, of course, that it doesn't taste good - it certainly does.
Paradise Kava's 2012 batch of extract is stronger than the 2011 batch, which means that you are getting more kavalactones per dose than before. Nonetheless, they have managed to keep the price down, making this a great deal. If you have a sweet tooth and a craving for strong Kava, this new extract is for you...