We were sitting back the other day, talking and sipping Bourbon when we realized we had never rated Maker’s Mark on our blog. This is one of the most well known, most recognizable Bourbons in the world and a favorite of many Bourbon drinkers. Most people have seen the iconic squarish bottle with the red wax top, which we understand Maker’s has a copyright for the color of the wax.
Maker’s is a wheated Bourbon, found everywhere, sells for around $26, aged between 6 & 7 years and is bottled at 90 proof. Interesting story on the proof, in 2013 they lowered it to 84 because of allegedly not being able to keep up with the increase in demand. There was a big public out cry and 2 weeks later a statement was issued saying they were switching back to 90 proof. Oddly, a year and a half later in 2014 they introduced Cask Strength which is bottled somewhere around 113 proof. Seems suspect to us that they now have enough supply to do this. I guess the $60 per bottle was incentive enough to magically increase their production. That brings up another issue, was the whole thing a publicity stunt? Rob Samuels, the CEO, says it was not but there is no denying it did create a lot of buzz.
One more little tidbit, the full name is Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. The Samuels family has Scottish roots thus calling it Whisky, dropping the e which is in support of the Monarchy rather than Whiskey which is in protest of the Monarchy.
Todd: A nice nose of grain, honey and caramel up front. I then got a little smell of banana and a bread type aroma, but not the smell of banana bread.
Ron: Hot hit of alcohol initially followed by a richness that included the honey that Todd got. I also detected a sweet praline smell. And lastly a little bit of malt and yeast.
Todd: Real hot neat, I needed a few cubes to be able to really taste much beside ethanol. After that I tasted the grain, honey and caramel that I got on the nose but not much else. I didn’t get any of the banana or bread.
Ron: For 90 proof it is real hot to the tongue. I didn’t get a lot on the taste, a hint of honey and malt that I smelled, and a bit of sweetness.
Todd: Medium finish with a little sweetness and burn.
Ron: Medium finish with not much going on.
Todd: This reminded me why I don’t usually buy Maker’s. It had a good nose but I don’t buy Bourbon just to smell it. There was just not a lot of flavors to taste, not complex at all.
Ron: Just okay, not as many flavors on the the taste compared to the nose. I can boast that I am a Maker’s Ambassador, but enjoy the Cask Strength ten fold over the original.
Nose 4.25 out of 5
Taste 7.5 out of 10
Finish 3 out of 5
Total 14.75 out of 20 Barrels
We know that is a pretty low score for what a lot of people call their favorite Bourbon. We are sorry for that but Maker’s is just not that complex, nor is it real smooth until ice is added. We feel that there are better buys at or below that price. A positive, it makes a decent cocktail.
Final thought, we recommend you have a bottle of Maker’s Mark in your cabinet since so many people ask for it by name. It is enormously popular so you never know when a guest might ask for a glass.