Whiskey #1 Makers Mark

I know, I know…I said I was going to review Knob Creek.  Sorry.  I went to my cabinet and my bottle was empty, so I found a flask of Makers Mark that I had been keeping that was just about gone, so I thought I would make this my first blog review instead.  Sorry to disappoint but I will be reviewing the Knob very soon.  In the meantime I offer you this review of Makers Mark.Makers mark

Makers Mark is a small batch whiskey that comes from a distillery in Happy Hollow, KY.  You can visit their web site at www.makersmark.com.  They are very proud of their whiskey as well they should be since it has been around consistantly since 1933.  It is full bodied whiskey with a heavy wood and smoke flavor.

I tried this whiskey three different ways, neat (i.e. no ice), on the rocks ( my personal favorite)  and with a splash of water.  All three ways of consuming the whiskey yield very different flavors and taste experiences.


Makers is a very potent Whiskey without any ice to mellow it.  The first thing you notice is its heavy aroma of alder wood and smoke.  This is due to the unique way in which it is aged.  Makers claims that they are the only whiskey distillery to rotate their barrels.  They start the aging process at the top of the warehouse where the extreme temperature fluctuations have the whiskey penetrate the wood of the barrel during the hot summer months and retreat back into the cask during the cooler winter months.  The barrels stay at the top of the distillery for 3 years and then are rotated to the lower parts of the warehouse for another 3 years where it completes the aging process.

Once the aging process is complete the barrels are combined prior to botteling to essentially homogenize the batch for consistency.

This is a small batch whiskey because they can only distill 19 barrels at a time, producing a limited quantity of the stuff.

Ok, so neat the nose is very smokey and woody.  The flavor is  intense, with a great and promising burn, however on the back end the wood and smoke flavor is so overwhelming it looses its appeal.  I like a burn.  I don’t like my eyes to water.

On the Rocks

The mere act of adding ice and cooling the whiskey completely changes the flavor and structure of the whiskey.  Once cooled the whiskey is very mellow and easy drinking.  The heavy aroma is much less intense and the flavor is far more palateable.  It however looses its burn which was disappointing.  You know what they say, no pain- no gain and I felt as if the badness of the smokeiness and wood harshness was greatly improved, but the burn was almost nonexistant leaving me feeling a little hollow.

With a Splash

Adding water to the mix seriously diminished the drinkability of this whiskey.  Not only was the burn completely extinguished, but the flavor of the whiskey was lost as well.  The structure of Makers Mark is very fragile.  Once you introduce water it completely broke down to the point where it tasted like I was drinking flavored water instead of whiskey with a splash.

Overall I know that Makers has a lot of followers and support amongst the whiskey drinkers around the world, but for my liking it is just too smokey and woody to be enjoyed neat.  This is a problem if you ever intend to have this whiskey where there isn’t a ready source of ice, say like on a backpacking trip or camping.  On the rocks this whiskey performs fairly well, but falls short in the burn department, and with water it isn’t even worth drinking.

I encourage you to try this whiskey because not all palates are the same and some of you may like the feeling of drinking smoke, alder, and terpentine which is where this whiskey takes you neat.  Try it all different ways, see if you agree.  I would love to hear from you about your thoughts on this Kentucky Bourbon.  I’d say drink it with ice, or mix it with coke…any other way leaves me flat.

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Categories: Whiskey

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2 Comments on “Whiskey #1 Makers Mark”

  1. Jason
    October 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    I have to disagree on the last part. I drank this with a splash of water just last weekend, and simply enjoyed the full flavors I could taste! I have to say, maybe it’s the flavor of our local water, and the in house filtering, that adds this special bit of tail end flavor.

    Try it with a splash of Evian next time.


  1. Makers Mark Finally Caves to the Pressure of the Marketplace « Beer & Whiskey Brothers - July 7, 2010

    […] of fact Maker’s Mark was the first whiskey I ever reviewed for this site.  You can see my review here.  I really didn’t care for it too much, but what I cared even less for was the attitude that […]

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