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Tiki Central Forums Tiki Drinks and Food Commercial okolehao may be back on the market soon
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Commercial okolehao may be back on the market soon
Okolehao
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2006
Posts: 234
From: Monterey, CA
Posted: 2010-01-05 09:21 am   Permalink

Got together with UngaBunga yesterday to sample and compare several different Okolehaos. I've had a stash from Hawaiian Distillers, who I think were still bottling up until a few years ago, and a small airplane bottle from Ti Root Distillers that's probably 40 year old. The Haleaka Distillers brew has a straight sweet vanilla almond taste with something of a spiced rum base. I would characterize it as a liqueur that because of its sweetness is probably best suited for a mixed drink. It's uncomplicated and easy to share with those who don't like 'difficult' alcohols. If you are a sweet rum lover you could easily substitute this in tropical drinks that call for a spiced rum and then get something a little different. Try it. Surprise the kids.
The Hawaiian Distillers Oko, which was made with a bourbon base, has a sweet taste too but it's not as pronounced. It has a slightly more complicated flavor that is a little different, but it doesn't stray too far from its whiskey lineage. I believe it was not made from actual distilled ti root but was an infusion.
The Ti Root Distillers Okolehao has a very unique taste that is hard to describe. There is a medicinal taste at the beginning that on first sip is a little tough to appreciate. You'll learn to like it very quickly though. The flavor that comes to mind is pernod because of the licorice bitterness, but it isn't too close to that. It defiantly isn't anything like you've had before. After the initial sip it fades into a mildly sweet taste with hints of smoky vanilla, almond and some nice fruit/floral over tones. The finish is very clean and leaves you with a nice warm feeling. It is definitely something you could enjoy straight up. In a mixed tropical drink I think it could be overwhelmed in something sweet. This stuff needs to be front and center in a recipe so it could be appreciated for what it is, and it's very nice.
So there is my review. I think you can figure out my favorite, but as always every person's taste is their own. Try Haleaka Distillers new brew and see what you think. We're lucky that there is someone who is trying to bring back something that is truly a part of Hawaiian - and mixology - history. We need to support those businesses that are putting themselves out on a limb with products that admittedly have a very small audience. No support means other distillers won't ever think of trying to produce their own brands. We need more liquor of all type from the Islands. And you can never have too many choices of booze can you? (smile)


[ This Message was edited by: Okolehao 2010-01-05 09:29 ]


 
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Swanky
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Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 4967
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2010-01-05 09:21 am   Permalink

I emailed them and told how I had been hording vintage oke for years and looked forward to trying theirs. He said not to compare them. What you got n the day was generally bourbon. What he makes is the real deal and probably unlike anything any of us has tried. So, when making a drink that calls for oke, you can probably sub bourbon and be right on.
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Unga Bunga
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Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5792
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2010-01-05 12:49 pm   Permalink

From Wickpedia:

The real or original okolehao can best be described as tasting like medium bodied neutral rum with a tinge of tequila flavor, and a nose of rum, sake and pineapple. Therefore, it does not resemble any other familiar spirit flavor profile.


Another scource of info:

Ti root drinks have been around for many, many years. It was in the 1780's when Captain Nathaniel Portlock first instructed the locals how to make a mildly intoxicating brew from the roots of these plants. In 1790 it took an escaped Australian convict, William Stevenson, to teach them how to distill a mash of fermented ti roots in the iron 'try-pots' used by whalers to boil blubber. The pots and the beverage took the name okolehao or "Iron bottom." Perhaps from the effects that the beverage produced! King Kalakuau, the Merrie Monarch who was known to occasionally imbibe, once granted a full royal pardon to a man imprisoned for making illegal okolehao. This infamous Hawaiian moonshine even earned a bronze medal at the 1898 Paris World Exposition and in 1915 took 1 st place at a San Francisco spirits competition!

Since the 1970's the now defunct Hawaiian Distillers produced and bottled a product under the same name that was loosely based on the original Hawaiian moonshine (some of which can still be found in certain stores if you look hard enough!) It is rumored that there is someone who wants to produce a commercial 100 percent Hawaiian okolehao using a formula that calls for a mash that is 25 percent ti root, 20 percent rice and 55 percent cane sugar, all grown in Hawaii . It has yet come to market.


[ This Message was edited by: Unga Bunga 2010-01-05 13:42 ]


 
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Unga Bunga
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Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5792
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2010-01-05 1:20 pm   Permalink

1963


1967



 
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Okolehao
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Joined: May 03, 2006
Posts: 234
From: Monterey, CA
Posted: 2010-01-05 2:32 pm   Permalink



Great review of the old stuff
http://www.bourbonenthusiast.com/forum/DBvd.php?id=363&task=displaybottling

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[ This Message was edited by: Okolehao 2010-01-05 14:35 ]


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Haole'akamai
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Joined: Jul 07, 2005
Posts: 2272
From: The Polynesian Port of NOLA
Posted: 2010-01-06 11:47 am   Permalink

An you can get to Haleakala Distillers from their advert banner on TC! ^^^^

 
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arriano
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1239
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2010-01-06 2:29 pm   Permalink

Quote:



1967





Old Fashions??
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Unga Bunga
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 06, 2003
Posts: 5792
From: CaliTikifornia
Posted: 2010-01-06 10:59 pm   Permalink

[/quote]

Old Fashions??

[/quote]

Well, he see's what he wants.


 
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Okolehao
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 03, 2006
Posts: 234
From: Monterey, CA
Posted: 2010-02-26 5:23 pm   Permalink

It's probably too soon to get all worked up about it, but I've got a source on Oahu who's going to get me Ti roots from mature 12 year old plants. Ay, caramba! I'm actually getting closer to the finish line!
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Hale Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 19, 2004
Posts: 1798
From: Pittsburgh
Posted: 2013-03-13 07:05 am   Permalink

What ever happened? (3 years later)

 
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White Weke
Member

Joined: Mar 13, 2013
Posts: 8
Posted: 2013-03-13 4:40 pm   Permalink

On a recent trip to Kauai, Kmart was selling Okolehao liquor, from Haleakala Distillers. Ti root and cane juice. Its not so bad. But not a true Okolehao primary spirit. Wasn't able to find that and if it was around, I wasn't able to find the right locals to cough any up.

 
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Hibiscus
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Joined: Sep 22, 2008
Posts: 207
From: Boston-ish
Posted: 2013-03-14 10:37 am   Permalink

I bought a bottle of the Haleakala oke my last time on Maui this fall. I think it's delicious, but have nothing to compare it to. You can buy it all over Hawaii - some ABC stores, Whalers General stores, and assorted groceries. Not sure how easy it is to get on the mainland.

 
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heylownine
Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Oct 05, 2008
Posts: 601
From: Agoura Hills, CA
Posted: 2013-03-16 1:04 pm   Permalink

I bought a bottle of the Haleakala Okolehao at Hi Time in Costa Mesa, CA. I've used it a few times in the Polynesian Paralysis, but I don't drink it too often. I've never had a "true" Okolehao, so I can't vouch for authenticity.

kevin
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Little fragrant Tiare
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Oct 12, 2007
Posts: 198
Posted: 2013-03-17 8:33 pm   Permalink

Love that dark tiki bottle...if i just could get one..wanna try the old stuff.

 
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tofukulele
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Aug 07, 2011
Posts: 66
From: San Francisco Bay, CA
Posted: 2013-04-17 2:57 pm   Permalink

Aloha kakou,

I just published an article on the history of and differences among the various okolehao formulations through the years. With two different okolehao on the market today, it's an exciting time to be alive! Would be great to get your feedback.

http://inuakena.com/misc/okolehao-then-and-now/

Okole maluna!
Josh


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