#TastemakerTuesday - O.J. Lima


It’s been a while since we’ve done this, but we’re bringing #TastemakerTuesday back to BBS. Typically, we share this with our members in our Private Facebook Group, but we really want to use our platform to reach an even bigger audience than our membership base. So without further adieu, I present to you our first Tastemaker of 2019: OJ Lima. O.J. is a bourbon enthusiast who picked the Whistle Pig that we just reviewed on Bonded In Bourbon today. Dope dude who clearly has a palette for great whiskey.

Name: OJ Lima

Occupation: SVP Brand Strategy & Content, Def Jam Recordings

Location: New York City

Favorite cocktail: Gin & Tonic.

Favorite bourbon: (Discontinued) Elijah Craig 12 (in the squat bottle)

Why is diversity and inclusion important in the spirit industry?
Diversity and inclusion are important in all industries. They broaden the pool of ideas and that results in progress and innovation. Spirits play a large role in how Americans define our heritage and community. When we have a more inclusive spirits industry it has a positive effect on the way we interact with one another and write our history.

How did you get involved in the whiskey business?
In 2012, while working at Complex Media, I was involved in the launch of the food-culture site First We Feast. That spurred my interest in spirits and deepened my focus on American whiskey. Several years later, I became friends with Shawn Kim who owns 58 Wine & Liquor. I frequented his shop and bought a few of his barrel picks. In the spring of 2018, Shawn and I teamed up to do a Four Roses barrel pick. That became the first in the “Do It Yourself” series, named because we encourage customers to customize and apply the bottle labels for our barrel picks. We’ve done two DIY picks (Four Roses and WhistlePig) and have four more whiskies, a tequila, a mezcal and a gin planned for 2019.

How do you approach picking private barrels?
I like to switch it up. I want to challenge my pallet and keep the process innovative for the people buying my picks. For DIY 1, the Cooper’s Hammer, Shawn and I jointly blind-picked the best of seven barrels. For DIY 2, Dave’s Pot Still, we did the pick in two rounds with the understanding that we both had to pick it #1 to release it. First, Shawn blind-picked from four WhistlePig barrels. Then I blinded his pick against three other highly allocated ryes.

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