Uncharted: Kō Hana Agricole Rum (Kunia, Hawaii)

What are “Uncharted Rums”? These are rums I have not yet had the pleasure of reviewing. This is my way to highlight and promote great rums from around the world that might be unfamiliar to most rum shoppers. So until I am able to review each of these rums they shall remain “Uncharted” to me.

The Hawaiian word for sugarcane is Kō. Kō Hana Agricole Rum, who’s name translates from Hawaiian to “work of the cane”, grow their own heirloom varietals of Kō that is used to produce their rum. Being an agricole rum, Kō Hana is produced from fresh pressed sugarcane juice instead of traditional molasses. Growing their own heirloom sugarcane allows the distiller to select only the best sugarcane to press for their rum.

Photo courtesy of Manulele Distillers.
Photo courtesy of Manulele Distillers.

Manulele’s operates a copper/stainless steel hybrid still that was manufactured by Artisan Still Design in Alabama. Every run of Kō Hana rum rests for at least 90 days in stainless steel tanks. Kea, their white rum, remains in stainless tanks for an additional 7-12 months. The rest of their rum is aged in barrels allowing the spirit to “further develop and reveal the essence of the cane”. Their other rums are aged in various barrels including new American oak barrels, used Bourbon barrels, and used French oak chardonnay barrels. These rums are aged a minimum of 7 months. Manulele Distillers calls themselves “a boutique distillery” that produces a true terroir rum that goes from field to bottle.

“We grow single varietals that are hand harvested, pressed to juice and then distilled to perfection”

Image courtesy of Manulele Distillers.
Image courtesy of Manulele Distillers.
Every Kō Hana bottle includes the batch number, bottle number and type of cane it was made from on its label. Delivered in beautiful, heavy, square bottles, Kō Hana currently offers three agricole rum expressions: KEA (“white”), KOA (“brave”; i.e. overproof), and KOHO (“select”; i.e. barrel aged).

Located in Kunia, Hawaii, northwest of Waikiki on the island of Oahu, Manulele Distillers also recently released their rum barrel aged Manulele Coffee. They rest locally, roasted Hawaiian coffee in used rum barrels for 10 days which allows the rum and oak essence to infuse the beans. Which sounds delightful.

KoHana_KEA Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum – KEA

This is the heart and soul of our Hawaiian agricole rum. The crystal clear liquid captures the full flavor and essence of freshly pressed native Hawaiian sugarcane. The nose expresses the bouquet of the cane field where we hand harvest each stalk. Banana, fresh cream, butterscotch, and subtle earthiness rest on the palate. Neat, on the rocks, or in your favorite rum cocktail, this agricole rum delights the senses. Bottled at 80 proof.

KoHana_KOHO Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum – KOHO

This barrel select offering is a beautiful example of how agricole rum evolves. Rested in oak barrels, the flavors soften and harmonize. The nose expresses caramel and subtle cinnamon notes. New flavors coalesce bringing vanilla, honey, and warm spices to the rich golden brown elixir. Bottled at 86 proof.

KoHana_KOA Kō Hana Hawaiian Agricole Rum – KOA

KOA is the purest expression of barrel aged agricole rum we offer. As we go through our barrel tasting process, certain barrels have a perfect balance of flavor and character without the need for dilution. The connoisseur’s choice, KOA is only bottled at full cask strength. The proof is variable and handwritten on the label. The nose is complex and full of earthy tobacco and oak with the subtle sweetness of vanilla and pure cane juice in the background. The mouth feel is rich and full with elements of coffee, honey, tropical spices, and, of course, pure agricole rum. Best served neat or slightly diluted with water or ice. Bottled at 110-125 proof.
Kō Hana Agricole Rum (Manuelele Distillers)
Website: http://www.kohanarum.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ManuleleDistillers/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/kohanarum
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kohanarum/

2 Responses

  1. Kimya Anderson
    Kimya Anderson at |

    I have had the pleasure of visiting this distillery and sipping on this rum. The place is immaculate and the attention to detail is nothing short of perfection. The tour educates you on the different varietals of sugar cain and the symblism within the hawaiian culture. This rum is more than a rum…it is literally a cultural experience. The man in charge, Kyle, has great vision and has some of the best people around him to see that vision come true. Without question, this is the best rum in the Hawaiian Islands…sorry Koloa Rum Company!


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