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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.