High in the rich green Ko’Olau mountain range rains contribute to a vista of waterfalls spilling down steep cliffs. Hawaiian legends maintain that this is where the gods reside. The clouded forest, the place of mist, clouds and spirits or in Hawaiian, “Wao Akua”.
Located at the foot of these mountains is the Ko’Olau Distillery. Co-owned by two Lieutenant Colonels of the U.S. Marine Corps, Eric Dill and Ian Brooks who teamed up with 15 year beverage veteran Heather Pence to produce Old Pali Road Whiskey.
As rains filter down the mountains through ancient volcanic rocks, impurities are removed and certain minerals are picked up. Resulting in pure artesian water with 8.03 ph and high alkaline levels, co-owner Eric Dill claims “This is one of the best waters on the planet.” Asserting that these superior waters are secret sauce to producing a smooth flavor.
Sourcing locally grown corn that conveys a bourbon style whiskey base that is then blended with a four and a half year old Kentucky whiskey. Generating a strong flavor distinctive of good whiskies, it is barreled in second-filled oak barrels bringing forth a hint of wood flavor. Sweet corn grown locally extends a smooth caramel and vanilla flavor.
Pursuing purity in each step of the process, only the hearts make it into their barrels. The heads and tails are recycled to pull hearts in subsequent runs. Hand bottled at the distillery in Kailua, Hawaii, Old Pali Road Whiskey is filtered twice then distilled 7 times, and filtered again 3 more times before bottling. Both Eric and Ian are goal oriented and pursue excellence in their product which they inspected twice more in the sunlight before going in the box.
The clean aroma depicts that the company chose to produce a cleaner purer product. Because they are a small company, owners say they can choose to be picky. In years forward, they plan to use 100% Hawaiian products.
Old Pali Road Whiskey are already in shelves in Hawaiian at local Safeways, NEX (Navy Exchange), and restaurants.
Ko’Olau Distillery is located at 905 Kalaniana’ole Highway, Unit 5014, Kailua, Hawaii 96734
Phone #: (808) 225-3457
For tours contact Heather Pence by phone or through email at [email protected]
Marilou is a freelance travel writer and photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii. Born in the Philippines and grew up in Seattle, Washington where she worked and retired from Seattle City Light. Today, Marilou travels leisurely, eager to share each destination and culture through photography and her writings. You can find her blogs at footprintstotheworld.com