Hand bottled at the Ko’oalu Distillery by U.S. Marine Corps combat veterans, LtCol Ian Brooks and LtCol Eric Dill – the very first batch of Old Pali Road whiskey, numbered 001, received a traditional Hawai’i blessing and has just been released.
With extensive and distinguished military careers in the United States Marine Corps, LtCol Ian Brooks and best friend LtCol Eric Dill spent time in multiple overseas combat zones. Both had been stationed in Hawai‘i several times during their careers, and so was born their love of Hawai’i and its people.
Both men were amateurs of fine spirits, and in particular smooth aged whiskies, and they soon began to formulate the idea of creating their own aged whiskey using some of the purest water on the planet drawn from right here in Hawai’i. Before long, these two enthusiastic friends were partnering with 15 year beverage professional, Heather Pence. They chose to establish the Ko’olau Distillery on Windward O‘ahu, in part because they live there, but they live there because “if you spend any time on the Windward side, you realize what a special place it is. It’s different …it’s a unique place, in a unique place,” says Ian Brooks.
According to Hawaiian legend, the gods reside in the ever-present mist where the Ko’olau Mountains meet the heavens. Every day, over 5 million gallons of tropical rainfall from this mist descends on the Ko’olau Mountains. From there it seeps through the layers of volcanic rock where it is naturally filtered for generations to become pure artesian water, the source used to create Old Pali Road Whiskey, and the perfect site to locate their Ko’olau Distillery.
Inspired also by the fact that no other company on O‘ahu is producing whiskey that has been aged in second-fill wooden oak casks, Eric says, “The science and art of whiskey-making fascinates me and there is something exceptionally gratifying about making your own.”
The Ko’olau Distillery uses locally sourced corn to deliver a Bourban-style base for the mash which is then blended with five-year-old American whiskey and pure Ko’olau water. The result of this passion and craft is a bold but smooth, oak-cask-aged whiskey with subtle hints of vanilla and caramel called Old Pali Road.
With annual production limited to 10, 000 bottles, many personally signed by Ian or Eric, Old Pali Road Whiskey is sure to be a sought-after item for locals and visitors alike.
Available from Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits.
To learn more, or visit the distillery, call +1 808 225 3457 or visit the website at: https://www.koolaudistillery.com/