#BottleKill – Maker’s Mark 46

Review – Maker’s Mark, Stave Profile No. 46

The second bottle of bourbon to become a part of our #bottlekill series. This particular bottle was a birthday present from my brother. Released in 2010 the Maker’s Mark 46 was the first new major expression to be released from the distillery, since their original bourbon went into production in 1953.

Starting with the fully matured Marker’s Mark expression, 10 French Oak staves are added to each bottle, before it is put through an additional ageing process in their limestone cellars.

We’re typically Scotch drinkers, so it is always something a bit different for us to try a bourbon expression!

Maker’s Mark Distillery

Established by Bill Samuels Snr. in 1953, the Kentucky based Maker’s Mark pride themselves on following their historic methods of production. Although they weren’t always such sticklers for nostalgia. The story goes that Bill Samuels Snr. set the 170 year-old family recipe on fire, and proceeded to search for a new mash bill. Resulting in the use of red winter wheat in place of Rye, leading to the sweeter taste that Maker’s Mark is known for.

There is even history in the design of the bottle. The hand dipped, red-dripping wax attributed to Margie Samuels, with the aim of helping the bottle stand out on the shelves. Keeping it in the family, two further generations of Samuel’s have overseen the distillery, each bringing their own twist, whilst endeavouring to not “screw up the whisky”.

The Maker’s Mark 46 was the first brand-new major expression from the distillery in 50 years, when it launched in 2010.

First Impressions and Reflections

The bottle definitely catches your eye; with the deep red wax seal it stands out on a shelf. Additionally, the weight and shape of the bottle elude to a more luxurious product than the standard Maker’s Mark bourbon. Heavy bottomed with thick glass, the bottle feels substantial in your hand.

A deep-dark brown colour, this feels like a dram to be had at the end of an evening after dinner. As you can see from the pictures, we had this around a fire-pit and it fit that environment brilliant. With the smoke from the fire helping to lift the sweetness of the whiskey.

Nose: very sweet, creamy vanilla, like a Victoria sponge cake, hints of oaky-savouryness, buttery, brown sugar, condensed milk
Palate: the oak comes more to the front, sweet vanilla ice cream, clotted cream, very buttery
Finish: relatively long lasting finish, with clear vanilla sweetness

The oaky notes really help to balance out the sweetness present in the dram. As far as bourbons that we have tried go, it feels more sophisticated in its palate, with more depth.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Final Thoughts

We have no problem saying that we massively prefer this to the standard Maker’s Mark expression. The addition of the French Oak staves and additional ageing, creates a depth of flavour that is not present in their standard expression, with a longer-lasting finish and more “grown-up” palate. With the oaky-savouryness balancing nicely with the inherent sweetness that is so core to this distillery.

It definitely helped pique our interest in bourbons, and we have subsequently purchased a Blanton’s and an Old Forester to explore American whiskey further.

Let us know in the comments below your favourite bourbon!

Looking for our other #bottlekills? You can see some of our recent ones below!

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