Maker’s Mark Private Select “Meet Your Maker Part III”

Last part of this Maker’s trio.

If we believe the marketing, while attempting to find the perfect formula for Maker’s 46 the distillery went through all kinds of permutations of oak types, char & toast levels before settling on the one that worked for them.

They decided to bring the same spirit of experimentation to their private barrel purchase program, where clients are able to choose a few options for the 10 staves that will be added to their barrel of Maker’s. One is a Maker’s 46 stave, the other nine are chosen from the following types: Baked American Pure 2, Seared French Cuvee, Roasted French Mocha and Toasted French Spice.

Photo credit Sara Havens

What’s interesting about this process is that it allows a level of customization that is personal to the client’s taste but that you’re also unlikely to see exactly the same exact profile when buying different store picks as well.

This one is a store pick by the Liquor Locker in Hagerstown MD. I unfortunately do not have the details of the stave selections.

Nose: It starts with a bit of varnished oak, pepper, mocha/cafe au lait, cinnamon red hots and a touch of chili peppers. With time I get ginger, chewy toffee, lightly toasted bread. Coconut cakes with candied cherry. Orange zest & a touch of bacon fat or is that barrel char perhaps?

Palate: Sharp and full, candied fruit, cinnamon candy, cloves, green pepper, menthol,candied peanuts, buttered raisin toast with cinnamon. _There’s a lot happening with this one on the palate, all great flavours but it can be a bit relentless.

Finish: A bit of leather, green oak, ginger and pepper, and those toasted peanuts with Sichuan peppercorns

The blab: You can feel the oak pulling tannins over your teeth at first but somehow that’s not the most dominant note like in some bourbons. There’s an oily, waxy character that is pleasant, a solid bourbon with some interesting twists.

Much thanks to @paddockjudge for the samples, this trio was a great lesson.

Maker’s Mark Private Select – Liquor Locker, Hagerstown MD

55.7% ABV

88/100

Maker’s 46 “Meet Your Maker Part II”

Ok round two in this Maker’s Mark match-up.

Maker’s 46 was released sometime around 2010, it has the distinction of being the second products to be released by the distillery since it’s inception. It uses the same mash bill as standard Maker’s 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley but the whisky is put back into barrels that contain seared french oak staves and re-racked for an additional period (the exact amount of time is unclear). This is a fairly unique process not unlike what Compass Box initially did with it’s Spice Tree blend. I am surprised more distilleries are not doing this, unless they are and aren’t mentioning it. I know MGP offer’s something similar to it’s contract distilling clients.

Nose: Chestnut purée, ginger, green oak, a bit of tobacco and menthol, it’s all very discreet. It’s as if these notes are a kind of film on top of the usual sweet caramel and oak of a bourbon nose. It then gets Peppery, freshly stained wood, sugar glazed cereal and cherry ice cream. It needs lots of air, but it’s very rich

Palate: Sweet soft oak at first, fresh bread. A feeling of glycerin, wine gums, caramel corn, Turkish delight & lime. It’s got a peppery astringency and a ginger zing, it’s fairly oily and smooth for the ABV.

Finish: Medium length you’re left with with over brewed black tea and milk, lemon pith and a bit of cherry cola and ginger.

The Blab: The nose took forever to come out, initially it felt like two layers but became more homogeneous with air. The finishing does add richness especially on the palate, it’s a neat formula and one I believe that is quite successful for the company.

Maker’s 46

47% ABV

84/100

Maker’s Mark “Meet Your Maker Part I”

Yes another multi-part review…What can you do?

Some months back I was graciously offered a trio of Maker’s Mark Samples by a friend, I am a sucker for this kind of comparison flight of whiskys also the judge has often claimed the Standard Maker’s to be among his favorites. I have fond memories of drinking Maker’s in the early stages of my whisky appreciation, I know I preferred it over Jim Beam white or Old No7 which we’re the other easily attainable bourbons at the time but can’t for the life of me remember why I was steered towards it.

Ok we are starting with the standard Maker’s Mark, it’s probably the most commercially sold wheated bourbon but doesn’t stir up the frenzy that Weller does. The sample was decanted from a bottle open about 9 months.

Nose: Caramel corn, freshly cut oak plank, custard, fresh brioche with lemon sugar and studded with maraschino cherries. Apple fritters with a touch of nutmeg. This is a beautiful nose, inviting, delicate but sitting on a robust base of sweet corn and oak.

Palate: watermelon rind, sharp oak, lemon pith, cherry lozenges, apricot, caramel loaded with butter. It then veers into a dusty grain, a slight vegetal note mid palate note and a bitter exit. It has a soft entry but that sharp grain and astringent oak attack loses you

Finish: The finish fades fast, leaving astringent oak and a bit of lingering caramel sweetness. There’s a feeling of dried leaves & flowers and toasted bread and a few flecks of tobacco remaining in a tin.

Notes: The nose of this thing is a beauty, I am unsure if this is from the effect of a long opened bottle or a good batch…I have to say I wasn’t expecting this at all. Unfortunately the palate doesn’t reach the same level, it is kind of abrupt and brittle, the texture doesn’t help any of the rich notes to stick around.

That said this has convinced me to pick up a half bottle to play around with or just enjoy when kicking back this summer.

Maker’s Mark

45% ABV

83/100