On Wednesday 5-21-2014, Downtown Spirits in Seattle hosted a private tasting session for OOLA Distillery. This was my first experience tasting the OOLA lineup. Alan from OOLA was the host for the tasting session and very informative. Alan was very knowledgeable about their products and processes for creating the entirety of their line up. Additionally, Alan was very responsive to my questions through out the tasting session. Thank you Alan!
Of particular note before I go any further is that OOLA sources almost all of the materials for their lineup from Eastern Washington farms and from founder Kirby Kallas-Lewis’ home in Seattle. Things like Tuscan Blue Rosemary grow really well in Seattle, so for example rosemary from Kirby’s nearby home garden gets infused with their vodka to create OOLA Rosemary Vodka. Their product line truly is “local” whether looked at from the perspective of Seattle or Washington as a State.
All samples were served neat and poured into small shot glasses provided by Downtown Spirits. I also drank plenty of water between each new sample!
This was very smooth and had much more flavor than I’m used to with Vodka. This features Washington grown organic winter wheat. A solid base for any special vodka cocktails in your repertoire.
OOLA Citrus Vodka:
This was a standout of the tasting session. The locally grown Lemon Verbana really adds to this vodka. Highly recommended by Delicious Detector.
This starts out with their Vodka as the base, and they build on top of that to create an excellent Gin. Use this for putting together excellent gin cocktails.
OOLA Cask-Strength Waitsburg Bourbon Whiskey:
This was another standout, but much higher proof then their standard. This comes in at 116-120 proof but still maintains a great consistency and drinkability. I would recommend this over a large ice cube or for the cocktail drinker in your life who likes them fierce.
OOLA Waitsburg Bourbon Whiskey:
This was the highlight of the session for me as I really enjoy bourbon. It clocks in at 94 proof, and the toasting of their barrels really shine through. This was really smooth and easy to drink, a standout bourbon that should be sought out for use in cocktails or for enjoying over a large rock. Note that they season their barrels with bourbon sourced from another distillery, and it is described as blended on the bottle. This should not take away from your perspective of OOLA Bourbon. This is a quality product in every sense. The following night after the tasting I found myself at one of my favorite spots, Radiator Whiskey enjoying OOLA Bourbon Whiskey over a large ice cube. Absolutely delicious!
OOLA is doing some incredible things in a small space and in a very short time frame. For being so young of an operation, their product seems very mature and should go on your top shelf and be reserved for special occasions and friends who can appreciate a cocktail made with the finest ingredients.