Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon Whiskey

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Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon Whiskey

$37.00

The good ol’ red wax, with a twist this time. They take heavily charred oak staves and put them in the barrels to create a finish on the bourbon. From the Maker’s website: “The innovative wood-stave-finishing process starts with fully matured Makers Mark at cask strength. We then insert 10 seared virgin French oak staves into the barrel and finish it for nine weeks in our limestone cellar.” Because of this, it cannot be called straight bourbon. It is too bad they don’t bottle this at 46% ABV or call it Maker’s 47 because having that would be cool. Anyways, let’s get to it.

Distiller: Maker’s Mark Distillery

ABV: 47% (94 proof)

Age: NAS

Size: 750ml

Description

Maker’s 46 was created by Bill Samuels, Jr., to amplify the flavors he loves in Maker’s Mark. The innovative wood stave finishing process starts with fully matured Maker’s Mark® at cask strength. We then insert seared virgin French oak staves into the barrel and finish it a bit longer in our limestone cellar. The result is Makers 46: bolder and more complex, but without the bitterness typical of longer aged whiskies.

Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whisky

Note that it can’t be called “straight” because of those added staves, and that Maker’s prefers the spelling “whisky” with no “e”); no age statement (though the 6-to-8 year mark floats around a lot in conversation); 47% (94 proof)—note that “46” refers not to the ABV but to the level of char on the oak staves; 750mL Maker’s 46

Appearance

Russet? Tawny? Good colour. Decent legs. And, for the record, the Maker’s 46 is, honestly, just aesthetically a gorgeous bottle in every way—from the refinement of the Maker’s bottle shape to the red wax, the seal, and the printing right on the bottle. It is, along with maybe the Col. E.H. Taylor line-up, inarguably one of the best-looking brands in American whiskey.

Nose

Honey, honeycomb. The honey is pretty big here. Hints of black of cherry, maybe some apple or other orchard fruits (light peach, even?). Mini-Wheats cereal (unfrosted), a lightly chalky vanilla, some baking spice. Cinnamon. Pixie sticks. Light (milk) chocolate or chocolate milk mix. Gravel/slate/limestone (a kind of “pebbly” character)? It’s not a radical departure from standard Maker’s, it just rounds off some of the rougher edges and maybe ups the sweetness and the barrel flavours a bit. Not tremendously complex, but very enjoyable.

Taste

Makers 46, soft as wheaters tend to be. This stuff drinks lighter than its 94 proof, with only a bit of heat on the back end. Again, not tremendously complex but enjoyable. Fairly sweet, with a milk chocolatey/vanilla/caramel presence, some cinnamon. Sugar cookies. Hint of cherry. Apple—apple pie or like an apple crumble (though not nearly to the intensity of the apple flavours I get in the Weller line-up). Light bready pastry. More of the sugar-coated side of the Mini-Wheats. Butterscotch drizzled vanilla ice cream. It plays to my sweet tooth, I have to admit, and though I use all these very sweet descriptors, what’s interesting is that I don’t think it goes overboard into cloying, artificial, or unpleasantly sweet.

Finish

Makers 46. Butterscotch, lightly drying, some hints of lumber yard wood. Bit of a tingle from the ABV. Faint vanilla, slightly less faint apple and cherry. Cinnamon and clove. May be power of suggestion, but a kind of Wheaties flavour residue. A bit of orange. Short-to-medium, but nice.