While Maker’s Mark’s recently released “46” created a stir in the whisky world, its classic Kentucky Straight Bourbon is the product that has made the company’s reputation for the last 50+ years. The bottle is an immediate head-turner, as each bottle is turned upside down and dipped in wax, leaving a thick red coating on the bottle’s cap. Founded by T. William Samuels (whose wife thought up the wax-dipping process), Maker’s Mark is now part of Pernod Ricard.
Typically aged for 6-8 years, Maker’s Mark has considerably more age on it than most widely-available bourbons. As such, the effects of the oak on the whisky are pronounced. This bourbon has a caramel colour, and the nose shows strong oak influence as well. Caramel, vanilla, coffee, and sherry flavors abound. There are also notes of orange and brown sugar. Light on the palate, the whisky exposes hints of wood, spice, and more caramel; in addition, the orange and coffee notes seen on the nose reappear, with a slightly sour undertone. A warming, medium spicy finish closes off the dram, with sweetness and floral notes coming later.
For its availability and popularity as a spirit used in mixed drinks, Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon is also a worthy dram in its own right. Pick up a bottle, and instead of drowning its complexity in mixers, pour a dram neat, and enjoy all this bourbon has to offer.