January 2017: Maker’s Mark

 

Maker’s Mark is a staple in bars and liquor stores across the country. Its dripping red wax bottle neck is distinctively recognizable. Until recently, most consumers were only familiar with Maker’s Mark’s basic expression: 90-proof wheated bourbon that is sweet, well-balanced, and great for cocktails.

Maker’s Mark, like many other producers, now carries several different expressions. These various bottles feature a higher proof and unique aging techniques to enhance the flavors people regularly associate with traditional Maker’s Mark.

Our host this month, Chris Crow, enlightened us on the Maker’s Mark process by featuring a bottle from each of the distiller’s expressions. Not only that, but we started with the pre-barreled spirit and worked our way through five other expressions.

The tasting notes for the Maker’s Mark, Maker’s Cask Strength, and Maker’s 46 are provided from the Maker’s Mark Web site. The tasting notes for bottles 5 and 6, the private select barrel picks, vary from bottle to bottle. We will supplement with our own tasting notes for these bottles later.

Now, onto the cocktails and the tasting…

  • Cocktail 1:
    • Maker
    • Pepper & Marker’s Mark
    • 5oz Maker’s Mark, top with Dr. Pepper
  • Cocktail 2:
    • Old Fashioned
    • Marker’s Mark, Bitters, Simple Syrup, Orange slice, Marciano Cherry
    • Muddle orange slice and cherry. 2 oz Maker’s Mark, dash of simple syrup, dash of bitters. Ice and splash of water (optional)

  • Bottle 1:
    • Name: Maker’s White 
    • Distillery: Maker’s Mark
    • Proof: 90
    • Mash Bill: Corn, Barley & Red Winter Wheat
    • Price: $35.00
    • Purchase location: Distillery – Only available at distillery
    • Why this bottle is featured: This is the raw spirit used to make Maker’s Mark, bottled at the same proof. Although it’s unaged, it still manages to be distinctly Maker’s Mark and has a lot of the core mid-palate notes that you’ll find in the aged version of this spirit, including a fantastic cinnamon ribbon of flavor. Maker’s White is sweet without being overly sweet, and it’s missing the funk that often accompanies unaged whiskey. The addition of those great cinnamon notes adds a wonderful complexity and makes this one of the more drinkable ‘raw spirits’ on the market.
  • Bottle 2:
    • Name: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength 
    • Distillery: Maker’s Mark
    • Proof: 108 – 114
    • Mash Bill: Corn, Barley & Red Winter Wheat
    • Price: $33.99 (On sale at Plaza Wine & Spirits)
    • Purchase location: Plaza Wine & Spirits
    • Tasting Notes (from Maker’s Mark Web site):
      • Nose: Big oak, vanilla and smoky charcoal
      • Palate: Richer, more robust flavors of spice, vanilla and smoke
      • Finish: Longer finish on front of tongue with no roughness or bitterness
    • Why this bottle is featured: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength retains the signature front-of-the-palate flavors of Maker’s Mark – while amping up the oak, caramel, vanilla and spice to create a remarkable new bourbon.
  • Bottle 3:
    • Name: Maker’s Mark 
    • Distillery: Maker’s Mark
    • Proof: 90
    • Mash Bill: Corn, Barley & Red Winter Wheat
    • Price: $25.00
    • Tasting Notes (from Maker’s Mark Web site):
      • Nose: Woody oak, caramel, vanilla and wheat prevail in the nose
      • Palate: Sweet and balanced with caramel, vanilla and fruity essences
      • Finish: Smooth and subtle
    • Why this bottle is featured: Each individual batch is less than 19 barrels, and this small batch quantity means they are choosy about everything they do to craft their whiskey. They use an old style sour-mash method by starting each new batch fermentation with a little of the last resulting in a consistent product.
  • Bottle 4:
    • Name: Maker’s 46 
    • Distillery: Maker’s Mark
    • Proof: 94
    • Mash Bill: Corn, Barley & Red Winter Wheat
    • Price: $29.99
    • Purchase location: Jacob Liquor Exchange
    • Tasting Notes (from Maker’s Mark Web site):
      • Nose: Hints of wood staves, caramel and sweetness
      • Palate: Sweet Very intense flavors; a big crescendo of wood blending perfectly with deep, complex and rich notes of vanilla and caramel
      • Finish: Smooth and subtle
    • Why this bottle is featured: They age Maker’s 46 a bit longer inside barrels containing seared French oak staves. The staves create bolder, more complex flavors – while eliminating the bitterness that usually comes with whiskies that are aged longer.
  • Bottle 5:
    • Name: Maker’s Mark Private Select Bill Samuels Jr. 
    • Distillery: Maker’s Mark
    • Proof: 110.9
    • Mash Bill: Corn, Barley & Red Winter Wheat
    • Price: $70.00
    • Purchase location: Maker’s Mark Private Select is available in select markets and also at the distillery.
    • Why this bottle is featured: Maker’s Mark Private Select, a series of Maker’s Mark expressions created by using the same principles Bill Samuels, Jr., used when he created Maker’s 46. Beginning as fully matured Maker’s Mark at cask strength, expressions of Private Select are created by adding 10 custom finishing staves to each barrel and finishing them in our limestone cellar to extract more flavors. The 10 finishing staves can be any combination of five flavor profiles chosen especially for this program. With 1,001 possible stave combinations, each expression of Private Select has a customized finish and taste profile that is unique, yet undeniably Maker’s. This bottle uses 10 staves from Maker’s 46

Bottle 6:

  • Name: Maker’s Mark Private Select Distillery Spring Release 2016 
  • Distillery: Maker’s Mark
  • Proof: 113.5
  • Mash Bill: Corn, Barley & Red Winter Wheat
  • Price: $70.00
  • Purchase location: Maker’s Mark Private Select is available in select markets and also at the distillery.
  • Why this bottle is featured: Beginning as fully matured Maker’s Mark at cask strength, expressions of Private Select are created by adding 10 custom finishing staves to each barrel and finishing them in our limestone cellar to extract more flavors. This bottle uses 5 Baked American Pure 2, 1 Maker’s 46 and 4 Toasted French Spice staves.

Gentlemen devoted to the finest.

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