Why Noble Oak Whiskey Is Going All In on Reforestation
Trees are amazing. They scrub the air we breathe and help filter the water we drink, all while providing habitat for the majority of the world’s land animals (not to mention providing incredible landscapes for all of our adventures). They also help make bourbon, which is aged in charred new oak barrels that are crafted from, you guessed it, trees.
Noble Oak’s award-winning Double Oak Bourbon is aged twice, first spending at least one year in an American White Oak barrel, then finished with Sherry Oak Cask Staves to impart the whiskey’s signature rich grains and cherry notes. You can taste the wood’s hand in Double Oak Bourbon, as you can in all of Noble Oak’s unique whiskeys, like the Double Oak Rye. So it’s safe to say they know the importance of one of the world’s most valuable resources. In a continuous act of giving thanks, the company has committed to replenishing the resource it relies on—and more—by partnering with One Tree Planted, a nonprofit that focuses on forest restoration, to plant a seedling in the ground for every bottle of Noble Oak whiskey that’s purchased. To date, that partnership has resulted in 245,000 trees planted in 13 states across the U.S. And that’s just the beginning; the company has already committed to planting an additional 173,000 trees in the next year.
“Noble Oak has been working with us since 2017, and they’ve had such a diverse impact across so many states in America,” says Diana Chaplin, marketing director with One Tree Planted. She adds that the organization focuses on tree planting projects that go beyond just adding trees to the landscape. “Each project has a specific objective, whether it’s forest fire restoration or expanding wildlife habitat for a particular species or mitigating erosion.”
In Minnesota, for instance, Noble Oak and One Tree Planted helped restore the pine, spruce, and oak trees in the Chippewa National Forest, home to one of the largest bald eagle nesting sites in the United States. In California, they’re helping to restore the forest impacted by the Creek Wildfire. In Detroit, Noble Oak and One Tree Planted focused on restoring an urban forest that has been reduced by 75% due to Dutch elm disease. The partnership added 7,500 trees to the city, from White Oaks to Bald Cypress. As an organization, One Tree Planted added 10 million trees to the world in 2020 and is on track to plant 27 million trees this year—all of which helps improve air quality and combat global warming. But the organization likes to measure success on a local level.
“Noble Oak is helping to plant 5,000 trees here, or 12,000 trees there…and they’re just seedlings that we’re planting, so you don’t see the immediate impact,” Chaplin says. “Nature works on a different timeline than we do. But we can see these amazing signs of success along the way.”
Chaplin says that within just a couple years of planting a forest, you can see signs of restoration, like a small green canopy rising from the black ash of a fire-ridden forest, and more biodiversity in forests that have been thinned by disease and deforestation. “Birds tend to be the first species to come back,” Chaplin says. “Then you see the animal poop. When you see little poops in the forest, that’s a good sign that wildlife is coming back to the area. It shows you the resilience of the ecosystem.”
Chaplin says Noble Oak has become so enthusiastic about its role in restoring America’s forests that the company has gone beyond funding these projects with whiskey sales. Now, the staff insists on taking part in some of the seed planting projects. “We’ve organized events just for their staff to have that experience,” Chaplin says. “They love to be involved in the planting. There’s nothing like getting your hands in the dirt.”
Restoring devastated forests, battling climate change, improving air and water quality—these are grand topics that Chaplin says can paralyze individuals from action, but she hopes people will be inspired by Noble Oak’s role in environmental stewardship. It can be intimidating to think about these global problems, but she recommends that we focus on the things we can take action on in our daily lives. This includes things like volunteering, shifting our consumption habits, and supporting organizations like One Tree Planted – and brands like Noble Oak – that can give back for you.
“No matter where you live, there’s a group that’s focused on protecting and restoring the local watershed and forest. And the funding for that local project might be coming from One Tree Planted and Noble Oak,” Chaplin says. “Volunteering to benefit the local community is how we’re tackling our global climate issues. Those small changes ripple outward.” If you want to make a change, too, take action and start planting seeds now for a better tomorrow.
Noble Oak is an award-winning whiskey brand with a noble heart; every bottle plants a tree in partnership with One Tree Planted. Noble Oak’s whiskeys are double oak matured – first aging in Charred New American White Oak barrels followed by a unique WoodCraft® finishing that delivers unrivalled body and flavor.