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Maker's Mark 46

Average score from 12 reviews and 50 ratings 85

Maker's Mark 46

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@cricklewood
Maker's Mark 46

Ok round two in this Maker's Mark match-up courtesy of @paddockjudge.

Maker's 46 was released sometime around 2010, it has the distinction of being the second products to be released by the distillery since it's inception. It uses the same mashbill as standard Maker's 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley but the whisky is put back into barrels that contain seared french oak staves and re-racked for an additional period (the exact amount of time is unclear). This is a fairly unique process not unlike what Compass Box initially did with it's Spice Tree blend. I am surprised more distilleries are not doing this, unless they are and aren't mentioning it. I know MGP offer's something similar to it's contract distilling clients.

Nose: Chestnut purée, ginger, green oak, a bit of tobacco and menthol, it's all very discreet. It's as if these notes are a kind of film on top of the usual sweet caramel and oak of a bourbon nose. It then gets Peppery, freshly stained wood, sugar glazed cereal and cherry ice cream. It needs lots of air, but it's very rich

Palate: Sweet soft oak at first, fresh bread. A feeling of glycerin, winegums, caramel corn, Turkish delight & lime. It's got a peppery astringency and a ginger zing. _ it's fairly oily and smooth for the abv_

Finish: Medium length you're left with with over brewed black tea and milk, lemon pith and a bit of cherry cola and ginger.

The Blab: The nose took forever to come out, initially it felt like two layers but became more homogeneous with air. The finishing does add richness especially on the palate, it's a neat formula and one I think that is quite successful.

@SimeonSanchez

It looks very rich and syrupy in the glass. The color is a nice, rich amber.

I find the nose very bright and citrusy, with a lot of ginger. There are also hints of cinnamon and clove. The alcohol is high, maybe too high.

On the tongue, there is much drama. This Maker's Mark is treated with seared French oak staves, and strangely, you can tell. It's well worth twisting your tongue about and smacking your lips.

The tongue is the same as the nose: lots of ginger, cinnamon, and clove. As with most bourbons, I get a hint of wood cellulose, but there's also some leather and gentle tobacco. When I pour a good amount into my mouth, there's a pleasing mouth-feel and syrupiness. And though I get hints of the airplane model glue that I get from most bourbons, the gluey aspect is at a minimum.

There are qualities I can't quite put my finger on, such as an almost meaty aftertaste like sweet beef jerky. The finish is long and a bit salty, with a reminder of honey-roasted nuts. It also behaves strangely on the back of my tongue, with a flash of bitterness that lasts a few seconds and then suddenly vanishes.

All in all, it's all right, but not the best bourbon I've tasted.

"The Maker's 46® name is from the profile number given to the seared French oak staves"...direct quote: www.makersmark.com/sections/…

Maker's Mark is bottled at 43% abv The "46" is bottled at 47%, which many consider to be near or at the optimal range for this style of whisky. My opinion is that 47% allows the wonderful qualities of this wheated gem to shine through and anything less than barrel strength is a compromise; however, anything nearing or exceeding the 50% range is a welcomed compromise.

Beam Inc. created the biggest uproar in the beverage and drinks industry since Coca-Cola announced it was introducing a new formula for Coke. Maker's Mark would be diluted from 43% to 40% without any discernible change to the taste profile....it didn't take Beam very long to do an about face and reassure the customer base that status quo would prevail. I wasn't convinced. I tucked away a few bottles of Maker's 46, the only other product ever produced in the nearly 60 years of distillation at the Maker's facility in Loretto, KY.

"New" Maker's Mark vanished as quickly as it appeared, and probably w/out hitting retail shelves.

Yes @Nozinan, Maker's 46 is bottled at 47% abv. Let's hope it stays that way.

Cheers!

p.

@SimeonSanchez, I love Booker's! It is a 'must have' whiskey for one's cabinet; uncut and non-filtered, the way whiskey should be served. I have four bottles on hand, just in case Suntory decides to do a "New Coke' with Booker's ;) (it didn't work with Maker's) ...the actual reason for stocking multiple bottles is simply fundamental economics - supply and demand. This 'tonic for the soul' is not consistently available and I am inclined to pick-up a few bottles when lucky enough to find them.

$70 is the price we pay in Ontario. I hope market forces and political influence does not cause the price to increase further.

The flavours are incredible, so intense in fact, when I have a cold and my taste buds have gone on vacation, I can always get a huge hit of vanilla from Booker's True Barrel Tonic.

@talexander

I've always had a soft spot for Maker's Mark - the bottle looks cool, it's hand-dipped in wax, and there aren't many other standard bourbons that are wheated (a style I quite like). The distillery was established in 1805 in Marion County, Kentucky, and is the oldest working distillery in the US that is still on its original site. Back then, it was known as Happy Hollow; the Maker's Mark brand wasn't established until 1953 when Taylor William Samuels Sr. bought it, with the goal of creating a mellower whiskey than usual, by replacing rye with winter wheat (mashbill: 70% corn, 16% winter wheat, 14% malted barley). It is one of the few American whiskies to spell it "whisky" on its label. It remained in the Samuels family until 1981, and is now owned by Fortune Brands.

It is probably the only distillery that offers just two products (and for a very long time, only offered one). One day, they decided they wanted to produce a bourbon with more toasted oak on the nose, and yet without adding wood astringency. Wisely, they consulted their cask supplier, the Independent Stave Company, to help craft the new bourbon. After attempting many different profiles (all failures), they settled on "Profile 46": mature Maker's Mark as per normal; empty the whiskey into a holding tank; put seared French oak staves into those empty casks (searing is gentler than toasting or charring); put the whiskey back into those casks and mature for another nine weeks. Voila.

The colour is a deep copper with orange highlights. On the nose, lots of soft spices like cinnamon, cumin and ground coriander. Tannic oak, liquorice, and in the background I feel like I'm getting some barley sugar (?) along with the vanilla. Very nice - soft for a premium bourbon. With water comes dark fruits and cloves.

On the palate, more oak, Indian corn, black liquorice (the kind from those old All-Sorts tins) and dark honey. Maraschino cherry? No wonder this makes such a great Manhattan! Deliciously thick mouth-feel, which is accentuated with water - and more cherry notes.

The finish again features those soft spices and lots of mouth-drying oak. Very well balanced bourbon, with the softness of the wheat, and the tannins of the oak, working together in harmony. Jim Murray gives this an over-enthusiastic 95 but I wouldn't quite agree. While the bourbon breaks new ground in method of production, it doesn't in flavour profile. Regardless, better than the standard Maker's Mark and well worth the higher price.

Nice review...Maker's 46 is worthy of your score of 90.

Excellent review. Great detail. Very informative. Thanks, @talexander.

B

Maker's 46 is the first and only new variation of the standard Maker's Mark, created by putting ordinary Maker's into new toasted oak barrels with toasted staves in the middle. The result is a surprisingly large improvement over the original in essentially every category.

Appearance: Substantially darker than traditional Maker's, more amber than gold.

Nose: Somewhat oak-forward but quite sweet; also pretty heavy on the alcohol. Similar to normal maker's mark, but with more wood and a toasty scent to add interest. Vanilla, caramel, oak, a touch of spice.

Palate: Sweet vanilla and caramel. Initially similar to the typical Maker's Mark but with more brown sugar depth, and richer in both mouthfeel and taste. Still pretty vigorously alcoholic. As the sip progresses, however, it begins to distinguish itself - a wave of oak, toast, and cinnamon heat appear and substantially liven up the taste.

Finish: The finish is the biggest difference between Maker's 46 and the original. The finish here is medium in length (far longer than the original) and full of rich buttery pastry, toast, lingering oak, toffee, and fiery cinnamon (almost like those red cinnamon candies).

Overall Impressions: Still recognizably a Maker's Mark bourbon with its sweetness and 'forward' flavor profile, and still quite strong on the alcohol in both the mouth and the nose, Maker's 46 is nonetheless a huge step up from the standard version, adding stronger wood aromas and flavors, more richness, and more complexity with spice and toast notes.

@phoenix

I pride myself on trying all sorts of whiskies from around the world, although I have a particular love of scottish single malts. I tried the 'regular' Maker's Mark some the ago and thought it a good bourbon, but as always I felt it should be drunk with die or a mixer even.

However, that all changed when I got my hands on Maker's Mark 46. Not easily available in the UK I might add!

It comes in a very nicely shaped bottle with the usual MM wax seal (red). Looks the part on the shelf. The '46' is matured a bit longer inside barrels containing seared French oak staves. MM say that the staves create bolder, more complex flavours and boy are they right! Remember, this is a “wheated bourbon” - distilled from a mashbill with no rye, and a higher content of wheat in its place. It makes for a smoooooth bourbon, silky smooth with no burn in fact. Feels more like a Glenmorangie than a Bourbon!

I have to say from the outset that this is by far the nicest bourbon I have ever tasted over many years of experimenting. Drunk 'neat' its a beautiful whiskey. And so to the tasting notes:

Colour: Dark Golden

Nose: Vanilla ice cream, hint of those wood staves, toffee, caramel and a beautiful sweetness.

Palate: The first thing you notice is that its unbelievably smooth. No harshness at all. Very creamy, vanilla and light oak give way to fantastic spices and cinnamon. Oh wow! You'll want to keep tasting this for ages.

Finish: ...goes on and on, highly complex vanilla and spices and sweetness take ages to fade. Incredible stuff.

Overall impression: I rank this amongst the best of my whisky collection. It has the nose, palate and finish to rival the top scottish single malts. Its smooth and complex. Drunk on its own, with nothing in it, it just oozes quality.

If you can get this in UK/Europe, don't even hesitate, I assure you, you won't be at all disappointed and will think totally differently about bourbons from here on in.

Cheers.

This is an excellent review! Like you, I enjoy all whiskies, but lately have been almost exclusively enjoying scotch whisky. My best friend finds the typical scotch flavor profiles off-putting ("band-aid" is his usual comment). The Makers Mark 46 is where we meet in the middle. Really delicious, delicious stuff!

@dbk

In a previous review (connosr.com/reviews/makers-mark/…), I gave some background on Maker’s Mark, the most well known wheated bourbon on the market. The brand has changed very little over the years—mainly substituting other colors for the famous red wax seal for “festive” releases—and the recipe for the whisky itself has not changed. To make the new Maker’s Mark 46, barrels of what would ordinarily be standard Maker’s Mark are dumped and refitted with additional seared oak staves suspended by two dowels. The barrel is then filled back with the dumped whiskey and put back in the rickhouse to age for a few months longer. (Those familiar with Compass Box’s The Spice Tree will recognize this sort of practice.)

On the nose are notes of light brown sugar, a touch of rye (yes, even though it’s wheated), honey, walnuts, butter, cocoa, menthol, and chocolate donuts. It is creamy—more so than the standard release—and specifically reminiscent of vanilla fudge.

The palate is sweet and smoother than the standard Maker’s Mark (though it is still a bit hot and astringent). It has hints of walnut, yeast, and a touch of spice.

Despite an arguably small change in the way this version of Maker’s Mark is produced, the result of the additional staves and maturation time is a surprising, and significant, improvement over the standard release. Unfortunately, it is typically priced as such. I would sooner buy the 46 release over the standard one, but I can again imagine any number of bourbons of similar or better quality for a better price. It is, in any case, still worth trying.

I know what you mean, @Victor, and you certainly aren't alone. My initial thoughts, and subsequent direct comparisons to the standard bottling, are that it is a significant improvement—it is much more drinkable—but that it's not quite as big a difference as I would have hoped for. I would place it at the same level as the W.L. Weller Special Reserve, but the Weller is considerably better priced.

And you and I would both rather be drinking Old Weller Antique 107 than either of them, wouldn't we, @dbk?

@Matthieu

My first review.

During a my recent very long work run in an exploration camp in northern Québec, I've become quite intrigued with spirits, namely whisky, armagnac and cavlados. Having come home, I've decided to buy a few bottles to try them and see if I liked the taste.

It seems I do, and quite a lot in fact.

This is the fourth whisky I've tried, and the first one I believe I've detected the tastes enough to write a review.

Drunk neat, no water added.

Nose: On the light side, mainly caramel and oak. Not much going on there, but the last whisky I've tasted might have coloured my opinion a bit (a Laphroaig QC).

Taste: Hits the tongue in a big way, with a big sweet taste of caramel and vanilla up front. After a few seconds on the tongue, the spicy cinnamon makes an appearance, bringing a bit of balance to the 46. Going down, the whisky gives a nice warmth that never becomes a full-on burn.

Finish: This is where the oak staves make their contribution. The 46 leaves coating of dry oak and spicy cinnamon on the tongue and palate, reminiscent of cinnamon candy. Your first open mouth breath washes that coating off, with a slightly minty tingle.

Conclusion: It's a sweet and dry bourbon, with enough spice to keep things balance and warm you up. It's going to be a great winter warmer.

A nice review, @Matthieu. Maker's Mark 46 is nice, and, for me, makes a much better sipper than does the standard Maker's Mark.

About drinking Maker's 46 after Laphroaig: wheated bourbons are a whole different species of taste profile than not only malt whiskies, but also than rye bourbons as well. I find that it is very difficult to do justice to tasting wheated bourbons unless they are tasted on a fresh clean palate. A strong rye bourbon residue first in the mouth will clash with and overwhelm the more delicate wheat flavours. This is even true for Maker's Mark 46, which, while wheated, has a much stronger overall flavour profile than most wheaters because of much stronger wood flavours than most of the wheated bourbons. Something highly peated like Laphroaig would just wipe out the ability to taste the Maker's 46 if it were in too close a proximity, I should think.

It seems my writing skills are at fault here: the Laphroaig was the last whisky I tasted, yes, but that was two days before I tasted the Maker's 46. It coloured my impressions, it did not numb my palate. :)

I know wnough about whiskies not to judge one after tasting a peated one beforehand.

@GT2

Neat. The pour is a deep, orange amber looking relatively red compared to other bourbon. Heavy, dense tears form with a determined swirl.

Nose: honey, vanilla bean, butterscotch, but lots of nasal sting that makes it difficult to appreciate without having a bit of ice or splash of water tossed in.

Taste: An improvement over regular MM adding softer honey and more vanilla, but not giving you a hell of a lot of complexity. Huge amount of alcohol heat detract from the experience, beckoning to be cut by ice or water. Massive spicy oak, cinnamon spice, and chili pepper chocolate come to mind.

Palate: Rich and smooth but still annihilated by excessive warming alcohol.

Overall, pretty good but needs to be on the rocks.

d

I must admit, 46 is pretty damn good. I've been drinking bourbon for only 16 months, but 46 does do it for you. Give it a toss and see.

@Anonymous

At first i did (quite foolishly) that Maker’s 46 stood for 46% ABV, but when i saw that it was actually 47% i knew i was wrong. As it happens, the Maker’s people were experimenting with their whisky and Master Distiller Kevin Smith began some lengthy "trial and error" to create something new and different. After some trial and error he reached a conclusion that he must you MM as the base of the new ‘experiment’ and at the 46th trial, they hit the jackpot. it was the expression they were looking for. What actually goes on is this (broken into steps):

Step 1:

Fully matured Maker's Mark is removed from its barrel. Top hoops are removed from the barrel, and the barrel head is pulled.

Step 2:

Ten wooden seared staves are then affixed to the inside of that barrel.

Image : MM site

Step 3

Searing the staves caramelizes the sugars in the wood, adding a unique flavor that finishes on the front of the tongue.

Image : MM site

Step 4:

The fully matured Maker's Mark is then put back in the barrel and aged several more months. When it tastes exactly right, Maker's 46 is removed from the barrel, bottled, corked and dipped.

Simple , right?

Actually this is a very similar method which was also used by the Compass Box Spice tree, and got them all in trouble with the SWS… ( i will be reviewing the Spice Tree later this month, so watch this space).

Notes:

Nose: The nose is more complex here then the original Maker’s : on first whiff i get wee balsamic, as if it were a sherried dram. very interesting. then it gives way to the the obvious vanilla, but more fruity (apple pie) , tobacco, wood , some oatmeal and butterscotch.

Palate: eucalyptus, oak, Burnt sugar. Spicier than the original . and loads of vanilla and cinnamon as well.

Finish: Finishes on bitter cocoa, wood, vanilla, and some over ripe oranges. Medium length.

Bottom line:

Maker’s 46 is really very nice. Complex, with a great nose and palate that delivers everything promised by the nose and even more. The bottle itself is plain beautiful, with that sexy Wax, and shape, and will look great on my shelf. I tried looking for this one in online shops, and couldn’t find stores that stock it (amongst the few i trust and work with). Seems like a very good option if you are looking to broaden your American whisky collection.

@galg

Now let’s get going with Maker’s 46, which is why in the first place i tasted the original MM… At first i did (quite foolishly) that Maker’s 46 stood for 46% ABV, but when i saw that it was actually 47% i knew i was wrong. As it happens, the Maker’s people were experimenting with their whisky and Master Distiller Kevin Smith began some lengthy "trial and error" to create something new and different. After some trial and error he reached a conclusion that he must you MM as the base of the new ‘experiment’ and at the 46th trial, they hit the jackpot. it was the expression they were looking for. What actually goes on is this (broken into steps):

Step 1:

Fully matured Maker's Mark is removed from its barrel. Top hoops are removed from the barrel, and the barrel head is pulled.

Step 2:

Ten wooden seared staves are then affixed to the inside of that barrel.

Image : MM site

Step 3

Searing the staves caramelizes the sugars in the wood, adding a unique flavor that finishes on the front of the tongue.

Image : MM site

Step 4:

The fully matured Maker's Mark is then put back in the barrel and aged several more months. When it tastes exactly right, Maker's 46 is removed from the barrel, bottled, corked and dipped.

Simple , right?

Actually this is a very similar method which was also used by the Compass Box Spice tree, and got them all in trouble with the SWS… ( i will be reviewing the Spice Tree later this month, so watch this space).

Notes:

Nose: The nose is more complex here then the original Maker’s : on first whiff i get wee balsamic, as if it were a sherried dram. very interesting. then it gives way to the the obvious vanilla, but more fruity (apple pie) , tobacco, wood , some oatmeal and butterscotch.

Palate: eucalyptus, oak, Burnt sugar. Spicier than the original . and loads of vanilla and cinnamon as well.

Finish: Finishes on bitter cocoa, wood, vanilla, and some over ripe oranges. Medium length.

Maker’s 46 is really very nice. Complex, with a great nose and palate that delivers everything promised by the nose and even more. The bottle itself is plain beautiful, with that sexy Wax, and shape, and will look great on my shelf. I tried looking for this one in online shops, and couldn’t find stores that stock it (amongst the few i trust and work with). Seems like a very good option if you are looking to broaden your American whisky collection.

Hey galg

just read the new review for this dram and was left puzzled. Thx for your nice review with the good explanations!

Unfortunately it seems this bottle isn't available in germany yet.

@thewhiskyguy

Makers Mark (MM) is one of two USA distillers to use the name whisky rather than whiskey (an indication to it's owners Scottish roots).

This bourbon is extremely interesting because it's using the same method John Glaser and the guys a Compass box adopted for the 1st release of Spice tree.

For those not aware of what this is; you insert French oak into the barrels and allow them to impart a unique flavour. However, unlike Spice Tree, because the regulations are much clearer the French oak used by MM is new wood so thus 46 can still be classed as a bourbon.

So this is MM at 5/6yo, which has been finished with seared French oak staves (this is very unique!).

My Tasting Notes:

Nose - The nose is at first slightly lighter than the standard MM, as it sits in the glass the caramel and sweetcorn builds. Promptly followed by a slight burn toast smell as a bready whiff drops to the classic vanilla and condensed cream heaviness of MM. From this point the nose stabilised slightly, but is extremely pleasant.

Body - good weight,Smooth, the ABV is slightly higher to help carry the flavours from finish which adds richness. Medium oiliness in the finish.

Palate - Like the standard MM the nose is very present as the tastes on the palate, but the French oak has played it's part in increasing the complexity. We now have on top of the caramel, corn and vanilla a orchestral arrangement of spice. The percussion of Cinnamon chases an uncommon, but mild astringency. Aniseed, clove and earl grey all have a part to play, this the final strings of milk chocolate and a mild tingle on the front of the tongue. Medium length.

I have a bottle of this in the cabinet and I love it. I'm a pretty regular MM drinker, though I love drinking around the world (everything has its own place, right). I completely agree that this whisky has more spice, more complexity, and more interest than the standard Maker's. I heard the master distiller describe it as "not a sibling, but more like a distant cousin," which makes sense since they start with Maker's as their base.

I drink neat, with water, and with ice, at pretty regular intervals, and I have to say that water or ice unlock a whole mess of spice you don't get if you drink this stuff neat. It's worth adding a few drops or plunking in a cube just to taste the difference.

I am just entering the American whis(e)y waters and am relatively new to bourbon, but this unit strikes me as a nice bourbon: thick, long, a bit oily, certainly tongue-tingling and spicy prickly, most definitely pleasantly hot and long. The French oak staves add a welcome complexity over the original MM, to my mind. Very warming and soothing. I also have to say that I picked up a bottle of this yesterday in NY state for $36 as opposed to the LCBO's sickening $49.95. Caveat emptor to all Ontario connoisseurs.

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