Abisola Abidemi, founder of Abisola Whiskey, made her first whiskey sales just shy of a year ago, May 10, 2021, after starting her journey to her own whiskey brand a year before. Find out a little about how her passion for whiskey led her to start a whiskey brand with a flavor profile that celebrates young, smooth whiskey.
BW: You’re the founder of the Brand. How did the company come about and why did you want to create your own whiskey?
AA: Well, whiskey became my go-to in college and I developed a deep appreciation for it. Years later, I realized that there was nothing on the shelves that really celebrated or represented the modern-day whiskey drinker. Between that and having a certain recipe/taste in mind that I wanted, everything came together organically and thank God it did because now we have Abisola Whiskey.
BW: Tell us about the whiskey itself. How and why you came up with the blend that you use.
AA: I initially dreamed of creating a scotch. There’s always been something about scotch that I felt always had the right components for the perfect taste. However, since I started working on this during covid times, getting a scotch was impossible at the time but what was created was something close. And what I mean by that, is creating a whiskey with the right components for the perfect taste. This is a blend of bourbon whiskey and malt whiskey; notes of waffle cone and vanilla and smells like apricots. I can’t stress enough how perfect this came to be and how it created such a smooth tasting whiskey that creates an experience going down.
BW: What was something surprising you learned in your first year (Happy Anniversary) of creating the brand?
AA: I can only choose one thing that I learned? OMG everything was a learning experience. From finding the right lawyer to understanding that people steal domain names to finding the right distribution partner; I mean, I’ve learned something new each day. But, to keep it positive, I’ll say that I learned that there are so many incredible people in the industry that are willing to share secrets and provide resources to a newcomer like me. You’d think in such a competitive and saturated industry that people would hold things too close to their chest but that’s not the case. People want to see other people win and that’s been a very pleasant surprise.
BW: What does your name mean?
AA: Abisola is Yoruba and means: A child born into wealth. I always tell people that I was blessed with a wealth of humor because I love to laugh and love making others laugh. It really is the best medicine.
BW: What does your day-to-day life running this whiskey company look like?
AA: As I’m currently a one-woman team, I do everything. I am a sales representative, going to different stores and pitching my product to try and get it on the shelves. I am doing tastings, I’m the accountant and the marketing manager; whatever you can think of as a position for a company, I do. Though it’s stressful at times, it’s cool to get my hands dirty and be involved in all that it takes to run a company. I get to tap into creative outlets when I’m coming up with what to post on social media or I get to tap into some financial genius when I’m working on forecasting. Every day, I’m doing everything.
BW: Are there preconceptions about whiskey and whiskey drinkers do you want to challenge and why?
AA: Oh absolutely. One preconception is that the only quality whiskey that is out there, is one that is aged for about 4 years or more. This whiskey is proving that this is not the case at all. This is a young whiskey that doesn’t taste young; it’s smooth tasting with still a bit of a kick; enjoyable and quality. Just because it isn’t aged past a certain amount, doesn’t mean it isn’t quality. Same way that some of the whiskey that’s out there on shelves are aged 10 years aren’t necessarily quality either.
Another preconception is one that outlets like Women In Bourbon are working to dispel and that’s the notion that women don’t do whiskey, they don’t do bourbon; they just sit and drink wine and that as we can see, is absolutely not the case.
Abisola Whiskey has the incredible opportunity to challenge both and I’m excited about that.
BW: What advice do you have for women who want to start their own whiskey brand or step into the industry?
AA: Just start. I know that it’s easier said than done but literally you pick a point on a list of to-do’s, whether that’s filing a trademark, securing a lawyer, finding a distillery or just brainstorming ideas, start from somewhere and you’ll see how well everything comes together. Thank God I just started, (even though I had no idea what I was actually doing) because now I’m here being featured on Bourbon Women.
BW: Tell me about your perfect whiskey weekend in New York
AA: The perfect whiskey weekend would probably include a nice picnic in the park by the water with friends. It has all the key elements and is sure to make for the perfect weekend.