Sierra Norte - Singel Barrel


Nose: This has a very distinct, very non-whiskey smell to it. I think most people, if they smelled it “blind” would say it smells like funky tequila. The smell is very sharp and to the point. Later sniffs started getting a very antiseptic smell to them. It isn’t a pleasant or inviting smell. In fact, some drinkers might sniff it and decline to taste it. Palate: Thankfully, this doesn’t taste anything like it smells. This has a very oily mouthfeel and the first impression you get from it is corn flavors (but not moonshine) and lots of toasted….something. Maybe toasted rye bread? It has a very roasty flavor, maybe even a little coffee-like. Second sip brings out malt flavors and dark chocolate. It isn’t harsh nor burning and only warms slightly, but it leaves a little bit of a bitter aftertaste. It definitely doesn’t taste tequila-like but it is hard to compare it to other whiskey flavors because it is radically different. Comments: This whiskey is 90 proof and is one of three different whiskies made by the same master distiller who puts out Scorpion Mezcal. It comes from the Oaxacan region of Mexico and this variety is made from “Native Oaxacan Black Corn” (the other two varieties are made from white corn and yellow corn). The corn is grown by “traditional farmers striving to keep the ancestral corn and culture alive in a time when GMO is a cash crop”. This variety is 85% native black Oaxacan corn and 15% malted barley and is aged in French oak barrels for 10 months. It is double distilled in copper pot stills. This whiskey will probably cost you in the upper $40 range. I would say it is only worth it if you want to have something very different to offer guests or just want to have a whiskey from another country on the shelf. I kinda like it because it is so different, but it isn’t something I could drink all the time. I am intrigued by this, which is why I bought it. I think it might have potential down the road. My bottle was “#3” from “Batch 2”, so I’m guessing this is an early version. Although I think it tastes older than 10 months, I’d have to believe that if this was in the barrel for longer it could be very much more interesting. Lastly, they were supposed to change the label in 2018, but it isn’t clear if they did, so the bottles may look different now.