Maker’s Mark – Cask Strength – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky – Batch 14.01 | 56.6% (113.2 Proof) $38.99 for 375 ml
Color/Appearance: Reddish amber. Nicely dark even for a bourbon. The squat squarish 375 ml bottle looks great with its signature red wax seal and raised lettering. I like the simple band label with clear information about the batch and proof. The bottle reminds me of some sort of old school medicine bottle. Only selling it as a half bottle is a great idea. It allows for more people to secure a bottle and puts the price for a buy-in a more affordable range. But this does mean that it is almost eighty dollars for the equivalent of a full bottle. Pricy but what other cask strength wheaters are available out there as competition. Let’s see what we have here.
Nose: Dusty baking spices and packed spoonfuls of brown sugar. Cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, and barrel char. Nice and sweetly aromatic but doesn’t really give any hint of what you are about to experience.
Palate: Orange marmalade, cherries, molasses, and candy canes. A concentrated dense mixture of heat, sweet, and spice. Yum. There is no forgetting that this is cask-strength, but here its strength is well balanced with gobs of sweetness, solid oak and all that confectionary goodness. The nose is nice but here is where the real fireworks happen. This is exactly what you hope for in a cask-strength bourbon. Very nice.
Finish: There are long lingering notes of candy coated oak, pecans and a little peppermint. Its cask strength nature amps up the length of the finish quite nicely. A little roughness creeps in but it is really minor.
Overall: So a year after saying they were going to drop the proof on the regular Maker’s and the shit storm that ensued, they release this baby and announce it as a distillery only special release. Of course, I was salivating at the thought of getting ahold of some. Low and behold they quietly roll it out in limited quantities for the whole country. Way to listen to what the customers want and then give it to them. This is a great product and shows that Maker’s has the potential to be world class. Why stop here? The bourbon world is clamoring for some extra aged wheated bourbon and Maker’s could be the one to fill the void. I really hope someone over there is squirreling away tons and tons of barrels in the mellow center of their warehouses to age for, oh say ten to fifteen years, to give that Van Winkle stuff a run for its money. This is a great product right now but with some extra years it could easily turn into a thing of sublime beauty. If you see any of these take my advice and grab one or two.