Since day one, Noble Oak has been a producer with a purpose.
When it comes to whiskey, planting trees to reforest the communities we know and love makes perfect sense. Without trees, we wouldn’t have the barrels responsible for the aging process paramount to whiskey’s color and flavor. For Noble Oak, this holds especially true.
“Both whiskeys are aged, or rested, in newly charred American Oak (Quercus Alba) barrels for over one year,” Jack Bauer, the brand manager for Noble Oak, says. “Then the whiskey goes through our WoodCraft finishing process, which develops a unique spirit you can only get in a bottle of Noble Oak.” This final step incorporates European Oak (Quercus Robar) staves, usually from the heart of an oak tree, previously used to age sherry (for Noble Oak Bourbon) or port wine (for Noble Oak Rye), to impart different flavor notes into the whiskey. The result is two whiskeys that sip well on their own or elevate your favorite cocktail.
The overall idea is fairly straightforward — sell one bottle, plant one tree. But in order to do that on a larger scale, there are people to meet, things to organize, and, of course, whiskey to make.
Since its inception, Noble Oak has had a partnership with One Tree Planted, a non-profit that was founded in 2014 by business leader and environmentalist Matt Hill. With existing partnerships with companies like Facebook, Adidas, Marriott International, and Ford, One Tree Planted is no stranger to collaboration. “A large part of what we do is made possible by our partners like Noble Oak, who are dedicated to giving back through their business,” says Ashley Lamontagne, Forest Campaign Manager at One Tree Planted. “Thanks to their support we have been able to plant over 40 million trees across 47 different countries, with more trees going into the ground each year”
“It’s really simple in how it came about,” says Bauer. “Noble Oak was founded on two principles: great whiskey and giving back to the communities in which we live and work. What better way to give back to the planet than by planting trees in communities across the United States?”
At the time, One Tree Planted was only a three-year-old organization that was “relatively small,” but Bauer says there was no better match for Noble Oak’s goals: “We knew that they would be a great partner for us because of their ambition and dedication to the cause.”
“Our partnership with Noble Oak is really special” says Lamontagne. “Restoration and giving back is deeply ingrained into their purpose, and because of their contributions we have been able to make a huge impact in forests and communities across the United States. We look forward to doing even more great work for the planet, together!”
So, how does it work?
Every bottle of Noble Oak whiskey purchased, whether it’s the Double Oak Bourbon or Double Oak Rye, results in one tree being planted. So far, Noble Oak has committed to planting 754,564 trees in partnership with One Tree Planted. 468,523 of those trees have contributed to projects that are now complete. Additionally, 67,500 are part of ongoing projects currently underway, such as the urban forestry project in Cincinnati, Ohio, with The Giving Grove, and there are still 218,541 trees that are committed to projects planned for next year. Bauer explains that Noble Oak chooses project locations based on where its consumers are and where reforestation needs are highest. One Tree Planted partners up with local reforestation organizations to decide specifically what areas need trees, and what local species to plant. Every project has unique impacts on the local community and ecosystem. For example, one of the projects Noble Oak has supported is the restoration of the Chippewa National Forest in Minnesota. The red and white pines in the forest are critical to wildlife, specifically to eagles, as this area supports one of the highest breeding densities of American bald eagles in the continental United States. You can learn more about each project’s unique objectives and benefits on Noble Oak’s website.
Noble Oak has been able to get up close and personal with the reforestation efforts it supports. They have participated in planting events on the ground with local organizations working with One Tree Planted, like New York Restoration Project, Tree New York, and Texas’s TreeFolks. Bauer himself was in San Francisco this past April for Earth Day, planting trees throughout Golden Gate Park. The Noble Oak team members have “always looked for opportunities to get their hands dirty,” he says.
And after all that whiskey aging and tree planting, what better way to relax than having a dram of whiskey to appreciate all that the oak tree does for not just whiskey, but the world?
This past year, Noble Oak hit the 500,000 tree mark, a big moment for the brand. Already, they’re looking forward to hitting the 1 million tree milestone, which will be reached by the end of 2023, according to sales projections. But, as Bauer says, the job “won’t be done then, as we will always look to grow and give back to our planet.”
This article is sponsored by Noble Oak.