Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Tasting: Maker's Mark

Maker’s Mark
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Distillery: Maker’s Mark Distillery
Age: NAS
Proof/ABV: 90 Proof/45%.
Mash bill: 70% corn, 16% wheat, 14% malted barley
Average Swedish price: 399SEK/51USD
Release: Ongoing

Points: 82/100

(The bottle reviewed is a 1.0L export bottle)

Deep gold/copper.

Sweet, with a lot of corn, some charred wood, tar and gasoline.

Sweet corn, grain/grass, a bit of charred wood and licorice with just a touch of a round bitterness I get in many wheated bourbons. Sweet and short finish.

Mouth feel:
Medium to thin viscosity, medium alcohol burn and a bit dry.

Maker’s Mark is produced at Star Hill Farm in Loretto, Kentucky–just south of Louisville. Whiskey has been made at this location since the early 19th century. Bill Samuels Sr. bought the distillery in 1953 and founded Maker’s Mark. The first bottle was sold in 1958, and the regular expression of Maker’s Mark was the only product they made all the way up to 2010.

Maker’s Mark is what is known as a wheated bourbon. Bourbon is most often made of multiple grain types, and apart from the mandatory majority of corn, rye is commonly used as a secondary, flavoring grain. In wheated bourbons, the rye is replaced by wheat–often making the bourbon a bit rounder and sweeter, with the wheat giving more room for the corn aroma and flavor not having to compete with the fragrant and spicy rye.

In my opinion bourbon made with wheat isn’t better or worse than ones made with rye. Wheated bourbon often share characteristics, but vary just as much as bourbon in general, in terms of quality. Maker’s Mark is in my opinion very well made and an excellent introduction to wheated bourbon, and bourbon in general. The taste profile is sweet and at 45% ABV it is right in my personal sweet spot of 45-50% where it’s got enough alcohol to carry the body of the whiskey, but at the same time not overpowering and hiding the flavor.

Sometimes spectacular packaging is used to direct the spotlight away from an inferior product, but this is absolutely not the case with Maker’s Mark. The distinct square, long-necked bottle with its trademarked red wax top tells me a story of a maker obsessed with every aspect of an experience. Maker’s Mark is to me walking the line admirably, being conservative and bold at the same time.

Photo & Review By: Erik Hasselgärde