Featured at World Whisky Day 2017: OOLA was founded in 2010 by owner and master distiller Kirby Kallas-Lewis in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. They remain small but have won several awards for their various gins and vodkas. They also produce whiskey and their Whiskey Discourse series is designed to combine different whiskies to see how they interact under different influences. Other entries experiment with smoke and cask finishes. OOLA Three Shores is included in our All-Canada World Whisky Day by reason that it is made up of one part OOLA Waitsburg Bourbon, one part unknown scotch from the Highland region, and one part Canadian rye. So part of it’s still Canadian! They are sourced separately but aged together for at least a year in American Oak. Read more about OOLA’s adventures with our interview of Kirby in two parts.
Location: Seattle, WA
Maturation: American Oak
Nose: Rye, medicinal, oak, vanilla
Palate: Banana, corn, smoke
Finish: Pear, clove
Comments: A little hot without water, a few drops can mute the edge to help open up and blend the flavors. Some time spent sitting in the glass before you dive in also helps.
Adam – This whiskey is a puzzle for me, but not in a bad way. Knowing the rough elements that make it up, it’s sort of fun to try and find each and taste how they play with one another. It makes for an interesting exercise one doesn’t always get with more homogeneous spirits and allows, as the name of the series directs, a discourse of sorts to happen between the different whiskies. A drop or two of water and twenty minutes really do a world of good in helping all the parts congeal together. My only real complaint is that it is really hard to find the scotch influence in this dram. No matter. Do not be mistaken, OOLA Three Shores is not a Lagavulin 16 or Macallan 15 and is not meant to be. It is creative, American whiskey that causes you to think, savor, and consider.
Jenny – I got sweeter notes in the bottle. But once it was in the glass, it only had that medicinal smell that I don’t really enjoy. With a little water, that light sweet smell returns.
Meghan – (disclaimer: I don’t like bourbon very much) This was not my favorite from 2017 WWD. The biggest issue I have with the Three Shores is that I can taste each separate whiskey as individual components instead of tasting the dram as a unified drink. In nose, it isn’t quite such an issue. Or, the fact that it smells like a rye and I really like rye whiskey might have something to do with it. The spiciness of the rye helps cloak the sweetness of the bourbon in the nose. Sadly, it does not cover it in the palate or finish. Some Highland aspects of the scotch come through in the palate but the flora/fauna aspect of that region are overrun by the corny sweetness of bourbon. Although the rye spiciness comes back at the finish, the excessive and cloying sweetness of the bourbon takes over, leaving a sticky aftertaste. In my opinion, a blend, even of distinct whiskies, should be like a smoothie: complimentary flavors blended into one drink that, while having nuances of each identifiable, becomes a unique drink that is more than its parts. Three Shores seems to be to be just its parts; I half expect it to separate in the bottle like a vinaigrette. OOLA has an interesting idea but the Three Shores needs some tweaking (more robust scotch, lighter bourbon, more rye) to really stand on its own.
Michael – I definitely thought when I smelled and tasted it that they’re two different drinks. Even when I put water in it, there was a medicinal smell. The bourbon seemed to overwhelm the other two spirits.. It had that sweetness that prevailed. It had some interesting smoke that was okay.
Mary-Fred – I did get the medicinal in the nose, with a little bit of vanilla in the palate initially but that taste went away. It didn’t do much for me.
Peter – Real hot in the beginning, sweet in the aftertaste. A lot of heat. There’s a sweetness that comes through. Not a fan of the finish. Felt like it was sour a bit. Not a citrus-y sour, almost a muddy sour. Unmemorable.