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Monday, January 14, 2019

Sierra Norte Single Barrel Native Oaxacan Black Corn Whiskey Review

Welcome to the review for Sierra Norte Single Barrel Native Oaxacan Black Corn Whiskey. We came across this bottle on a business trip in Scottsdale, Arizona. We were intrigued by the possibilities that could come from using Mexican heritage corn and the promise of notes of vanilla cake and almond. Let's see how close the product comes to the marketing.

Manufacturer: Scorpion Mezcal S.A. de C.V. Sierra Norte Distillery

Age: Aged approximately 10 months in French Oak, Double Distilled, Single Barrel, Copper Pot Still

Location Produced: Oaxaca, Mexico

Mash Bill: Pure grain 85% Corn Criollo and 15% malted Barley.

Aroma (from manufacturer): Penetrating maraschino cherry and banana peel

Taste (from manufacturer)Deep ripe plantain

Finish (from manufacturer): Wedding cake with almond vanilla icing

Alcohol: 45%

Who is this for?: People looking to try a different whiskey, gifts for your enemy or people you secretly don't like... Also, this is perfect for people who don't have taste buds.

Cost (Ohio): Unavailable in Ohio (Purchased for $55.99 in Scottsdale, AZ)

Let's start the review! 

Taste - Score 0 out of 35

As usual, we started with a 1.5 oz pour. The first impressions on the nose is a very strong alcohol smell. When I passed the sniffer to my father-in-law... his reaction was 'Wow', then said it smelled like paint thinner. The main smell we picked up was tequila. This isn't something that is appetizing or inviting.

As far as the taste goes, for me, it came across closer to pure alcohol with a hint of tequila than to whiskey. We didn't pick up any of the char and almost tastes like expired cough syrup. This is one of the worst whiskeys we've ever had in terms of taste. It's almost undrinkable.

Smoothness/Finish - Score 0 out of 25

As this goes down, we certainly didn't pick up any birthday cake or almond vanilla icing. That's unfortunate because that would have been amazing. What we did pick up was a burnt plastic taste.... so if you're keeping score at home... we have taste like expired cough syrup and finish like burnt plastic... Officially, we are saying this tastes like tequila aged in a bourbon barrel. It is not enjoyable at all.

Intangibles: Color/Appearance - Score 8 out of 15.

When I was out shopping, I didn't know anything about Sierra Norte or their products. It was the bottle that got my attention, as well as wanting to try something new. The bottle itself is very tall, coming in taller than Basil Haydens, but shorter than Willett Family Reserve Rye. Each bottle is hand numbered with the barrel number, bottle number, and batch number. According to their website, they have new packaging in 2018. The renderings on the website seemed like a step back from the bottle I have.

For color, it is lighter and has more of a yellow to it than other whiskeys that we've profiled. It is not very think in the glass.

Availability - Score 0 out of 5

This product is not available in Ohio because of our antiquated laws

Overall Value - Score 0 out of 20

I really had high hopes when I purchased this whiskey. How cool would it be to have a birthday cake with almond vanilla frosting for the finish. However, after trying this whiskey multiple times, we don't find it enjoyable. 

This whiskey was so bad, we don't trust it to even mix to make a hot toddy or old fashioned. The flavor would ruin the drink. We're not sure who would enjoy this, other than Selma Bouvier, who lost her sense of taste and smell. 

This is undrinkable. We ran this by 9 different people to make sure we weren't missing something, and unanimously, all hated this whiskey. We cannot recommend enough.... Avoid this like the plague. 

Final Score: 8 out of 100

Note: This review was done by Mark with help from the in-laws and the Duchess, among many others. The bottle was purchased at Total Wine and More in Scottsdale, AZ

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