Nearly a thousand years ago, the first Polynesians set sail for the Hawaiian Islands using only the stars for navigation. Among the canoe plants they brought with them were select varieties of Kō - sugarcane. These Kō plants were the progenitors of the remaining heirloom varietals of native Hawaiian sugarcane in existence today.
Kō was used in daily living and was purposely planted around homes. In addition to its leaves, Kō was valued for its ease of chewing and ample juice in the stalks. Its sweet juice was a key ingredient in many medicinal recipes. Kō was also used as an offering to the Gods and as a core component in many ceremonies. In the ancient love ceremony Hana Aloha, as documented by Aunty Mary Kawena Pukui, Kō Manulele was one of three sugarcanes used to arouse a deep and everlasting love.
Every varietal of heirloom cane has a story and flavor profile of its own. At Manulele Distillers, home of Kō Hana Agricole Rum, our sincerest hope is to honor and celebrate the Kō we have the privilege to plant and grow.