There they are. The ten little pieces of wood that have taken Maker’s Mark Whiskey to the next level. See for 52 years Maker’s Mark Whiskey hasn’t put out a new product. They have just bottled their small batch whiskey and that has been their only product they have. Trouble is it isn’t very good in my opinion. It has a lot of heat with no flavor reward. It is simply put boring. And I try to stay away from boring things when at all possible.
Be that as it may, about three years ago they started playing around with the whiskey to try and bring a new product to market. They wanted something that was uniquely Maker’s Mark, but with a twist. Well they tried a bunch of differnt ideas and techniques everything from changing ingredients, changing mash bill, changing fermentation, and barrels. They finally hit on something and I must say that it works very well…
This incantation of Maker’s is their entry into the premium whiskey market to my way of thinking. I know that others would argue that regular Makers because of its craftiness in how its made, and the fact that it is small batch is already a premium whiskey, but I don’t like it. See you can take all the care in the world making something that technically should be great but if it isn’t, it isn’t. It is like what my Son’s Basketball Coach says to him…You’re good when you’re good. Well in my opinion Maker’s Mark isn’t good, but Maker’s 46 is.
The process by which they make this whiskey is to take regular Maker’s Mark Whisky (Notice I left off the “e” because they do on their bottle) and dump it out of the barrel, then to secure ten No. 46 French Oak staves or just thin planks of wood to the side of each barrel, then rebarrel the whiskey for another 9 to 12 weeks.
This imparts something that to this point Maker’s hasn’t had…flavor. There is definitely a flavor reward that you get when you drink this new incantation. What is very interesting about this whiskey is that you still get the very front end burn whish is characteristic of Maker’s but mid-palate there is a very nice sweetness with a cherry, caramel and woody flavor that takes over before going into its dry and rather short finish. It is a very unique bourbon that they have created and one that takes the interesting characteristics of Maker’s Mark with its up front and aggressive heat and improves upon it by adding a much broader spectrum of flavor.
I liked Maker’s 46 and think you will too. I only drank it neat, so I don’t have tasting notes on the rocks or with a splash. Give it a try these ways too and let me know what you think.