Maker’s Mark made only one product for around 50 years before adding a second expression to their offerings. Maker’s 46 was released in 2010, and it’s the same whiskey as normal Maker’s with the only difference: an extra aging process. The whiskey is dumped at the same time as the normal expression (at around 5 or 6 years old) then charred French Oak staves are added to the barrel and it’s refilled for another few months. While whether or not I still consider this “Straight Bourbon” completely depends on my mood, it doesn’t really matter, let’s just see if it’s good.
Company: Beam Suntory
Distillery: Maker’s Mark
Mash bill: 70% corn/16% wheat/14% malted barley
Age: NAS (5-6 years + 3 months for the French Oak finish)
ABV: 47% (94 proof)
Color: Deep honey
Nose: The aroma is very sweet and fruity with tons of vanilla, cherry, caramel, and red apples. The red apple vibe is very candy like, which smells delicious.
Taste: The candied red apple thing hits me first, then all that vanilla comes in along with cherries and honey. It’s incredibly sweet, candy-like, with very little of that finishing oak coming in for me.
Finish: I found the oak! As soon as this stuff hits your stomach that sweetness coating your mouth gives way to rich, dry oak which balances things out incredibly well. Some black pepper hits and lingers along with cherry vanilla.
Overall: Pretty good, but super sweet. Until the finish when the oak comes in, this pour is just a little too far on the candy side, but I can see why this would be a hit. Even within the sweetness there is nice complexity, and I’ll be revisiting for sure. Up next is the cask strength expression, I can’t wait to find out which notes in this get amped up…I hope it’s the oak.