One of the earliest design decisions we made with Maven was to use cork in our rod handles.
It was always going to be cork. It's a natural, soft and good-looking material that also appealed to us for its history and sustainability.
Cork is the thick bark of the evergreen Cork Oak tree, native to the western Mediterranean region. The cork industry is generally considered sustainable, since trees aren't cut down in order to harvest cork. Rather, the bark is stripped, and replenishes itself about every nine years.
It's impermeable, durable, light and buoyant, which makes it perfectly suited for use in the fishing and marine industry. It's also said to transmit rod vibrations up to three times better than synthetic materials, so provides superior handle sensitivity.
It's warm to touch on a cold day, since it maintains residual heat in colder temperatures. It's less slippery than (synthetic) EVA when wet, and doesn't compress as readily as EVA under load.
Naturally we love it for its classic and stylish retro appearance. It's easy to care for - simply wash it gently with lightly soapy water, and it will last for decades.