Sierra Norte Whiskey
Mexican Whiskey made from ancestral maize
The Sierra Norte Mountains of Oaxaca Mexico, with their profuse flora, abundant wildlife, and crystal clear, flowing waters, support some of the world’s most treasured biodiversity. More than any crop, corn embodies the life-giving relationship between these ancient mountains and their inhabitants. Descendants of the region’s first farmers continue replanting the best seeds from each harvest, as they and their ancestors have done for over 7,000 years.
Sierra Norte distilling started with Master Distiller Douglas French’s passion to use different varieties of this ancient, flavorful Oaxacan corn to make a series of unique, outstanding whiskies. Each variety is distilled separately and matured in French Oak casks, so as to showcase its individual character and nuance.
There are 8 regions in Oaxaca and they all join together in the capital, Oaxaca City. Doug French’s distillery is in San Agustin de las Juntas in the outskirts of the capital. This is where Sierra Norte Whiskey is distilled and matured into fine whiskey.
Doug coordinates with traditional farmers from various regions to plant and harvest the ancestral corn. Unfortunately for the traditional farmers in today’s world the dedication to sustaining the ancestral corns and farming is not competitive with GMO farming. So, the traditional heirloom corn, the people, and their culture are dying because they are not economically viable.
The ancestral corn is sold locally in the villages for making tortillas and tamales. As people leave the villages to immigrate north looking for jobs, the market for heirloom corn shrinks and the farmers also immigrate north looking for jobs.
Doug has developed a great corn whiskey recipe and production system. He buys the heirloom corn from the farmers at a fair price, so that they can earn a good wage and continue to live on their farms.
Doug sells the whiskey in the Global market, where it competes with all the other fine and outstanding whiskies of the world. Ultimately, this income comes back to Oaxaca and the life cycle of sustainability is complete.
Overall tasting profile
Sierra Norte has three expressions of their corn based whiskey. Using white, yellow and black corne each variety holds its own flavour profile. Sierra Norte uses used wine barrels for aging which gives a sweet and very fullfilling whiskey.