pacificrootskava.com Well it looks like a new era is upon us. Shelf-stable fresh Vanuatu kava has finally been made available for everyone to try! This has been a long time request from Kava Forums users and a curiosity to most kava-heads that haven't yet made their pilgrimage to Vanuatu. Kalm with Kava and The Kava Society have teamed up to bring us the closest thing to fresh nakamal kava outside of the islands that has ever existed, and I think they've succeeded! As one of the handful of KF members who has been to Vanuatu and consumed fresh root around Port Vila and other islands, I'd say this product fits right in there within the range of kavas one might find in the PV nakamal scene. I think it's important to note that there is a 'range' from nakamal to nakamal and from night to night there. A range of flavors, variation in effects profile and differences in potency. From what I've read, this product from Pacific Roots Kava is made from a consistent source of Borogu/Borongoru. Consistency is important for a mass produced product and I think they've got the supply chain to keep it up. If this product proves to be successful, I could see the next step being the addition of a couple more varieties, with different effects profiles. There has already been mention of possibly releasing small batch versions of different cultivars, like Melo Melo, and the prospect of things like that really excites me! So, how much like fresh kava is it? Almost identical! I might even say it is exactly identical, considering the "range" thing I mentioned previously. If I were to walk up to a random kava stall in PV and be handed a shell that was actually filled with this product, I would not question it at all. Here are my initial thoughts on my first experience with it. I received 4 bottles of this stuff and I treated each one like a shell, which seemed just about equal to a 150 Vatu or 200 Vatu sized shell in Port Vila. I chugged the 1st bottle and immediately noticed the telltale cucumber water flavor that fresh kava has, it's also very thin and clean feeling just like the real deal. The thinness combined with the mild flavor really allows for easy chugging, which is such a pleasant departure from our usual thick, gritty and intensely bitter dry grog. It had the faintest hint of a sour flavor, similar to some shells you get in Port Vila if you show up to the nakamal later in the evening, but that little hint of flavor I noticed also might just be a natural essence of the cultivar or a byproduct of the sterilization process. The first shell or two had a really nice chill, slightly spacey, but very coherent effect with a twinge of body tingles. Largely heady, but leaning toward balanced and definitely not "empty" feeling like a purely heady kava typically feels to me. Me being the Vanuatu style hard-head that I am, I continued on and drank the 3rd and 4th bottle as well. At that point the effects definitely amplified and other effects became more apparent. It became more clearly balanced, as the pleasing sedation and slight inebriation kicked in, yet it also became increasingly heady too. An increase in my heart rate became apparent, with a sort of energetic excitement in my chest. This is an effect that I notice in certain heady kavas, like Mō'i and quite a few other Hawaiian/Polynesian cultivars, especially when they're fresh. Overall, it was a great experience, virtually identical to a fresh bucket in Vanuatu...or perhaps more precisely; it's virtually identical to a specific type of fresh kava experience in Vanuatu. I'm just so happy to see this proof-of-concept become a reality and look forward to the additional possibilities it could lead to in the future. Everyone kava drinker owes it to themselves to at least buy a couple bottles of this stuff, even if only to better understand the taste and mouthfeel of fresh kava juice. Drink up!