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Maker's Mark Cask Strength

Average score from 4 reviews and 6 ratings 89

Maker's Mark Cask Strength

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Maker's Mark Cask Strength

I've not been a huge drinker of the regular Maker's Mark, but got this bottle in the States and the boldness of the flavours in the cask strength really captured my palate.

This bottle is 56.1% alcohol, and is batch number 2016.01

So this is a wheated bourbon but unlike the classic age stated versions of famous bourbons this is relatively young. Mash bill is 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% barley. The wheat is the unique red winter wheat.

I'm not always a big cask strength fan, but this is one bourbon I love drinking neat. Tried it with ice and doesn't work.

Colour: quite a dark brown concentrated looking.

Nose; massive hit of thick heavy caramel and maple syrup, some wheaty cereal husk, toasted sugar coated nuts, deep muscovado sugars, toffee apple, red apple skin tannins, Autumn leaves, cinnamon, toasted wheat and barley, some feinty alcohol tones, slight herbal.

Palate: quite a big hit of alcohol but the caramels and muscovado sugars are strong enough for the bold flavours to power through any burn. Then it's slightly bitter oak wood, big toasted grains, Autumn leaves, maple syrup.

Finish is bitter wood, toasted grains and that lingering maple syrup and Autumn leaf character.


I picked up this bottle at Park Avenue Liquor Shop in Manhattan. I think they started bottling this a couple of years ago. My bottle comes from Batch 15-01 (perhaps the first batch released in 2015). Standard Maker's Mark has always been a favourite so I'm excited about this one!

The colour is a dark, brownish copper. On the nose there is tons of oak, with cinnamon, star anise, baked apples, burnt-out campfire and freshly sawn lumber. Some citrus elements, too, like lemon pith and grapefruit. The vanilla and caramel are subdued, bringing the oak, spice and fruit forward. Slightly buttery. The high proof is there, but it's softer than you would expect; water brings out more wood smoke and anise. Absolutely fantastic.

On the palate - wow! The heat is there but there is serious oak, with brown sugar, more baked apples, leather and dark caramel. Christmas pudding. Damp earth. Maybe a wee bit too much oak (better with water), but still incredibly complex and delicious.

The finish is all cinnamon, star anise, pencil shavings and citrus. Um, this is amazing. Maker's Mark has always been one of my go-to whiskies, and this cask strength release takes it to a whole other level. You have to be OK with the oak, though, as that is the dominant characteristic, despite serious complexity. Luckily (or maybe I planned it this way?) I have the standard Maker's Mark with me. The standard is lighter in colour, has far less oak and wood smoke, but otherwise has many of the same notes, just pitched at a lower frequency. Together, side by side, they are magical.

I had a batch of 14-02...it was also very good. I wouldn't rate it this high, but, it was very good, and better than the Booker's I've had. I also found it developed in the bottle and I enjoyed the end more than the beginning - I also like the 375 ml bottles.

So.... did you like it?

Seriously...that sounds awesome... like Booker's level flavour!


Maker's Mark bourbons are made using wheat as the "flavoring grain" instead of rye. There is No Age Statement on Maker's Mark Cask Strength. By US law, with straight bourbon, you assume that the age of any no age statement release is 4 years old. The reviewed sample, from Batch # 15-02, is thanks to @Nock. My best recollection is that the bottle has been open for about 2 months and is about 70% or a little more full

Strength: very good but not excellent strength of flavours. Score 22/25 points

Quality: the flavours, really just wheat and wood, are of very good but not outstanding quality. The flavours of Maker's Mark Cask Strength are more refined than they are for standard Maker's Mark. Score 23/25 points

Variety: "Where's the beef?" This Maker's Mark Cask Strength is remarkably narrow in its band of available flavours, perhaps even more so than they are for standard Maker's Mark. This gives a rather thin effect, even at 55.8% abv. You taste the wheat here, in a rarified form, and, as with standard Maker's Mark, the wood flavours are there, but neither pronounced nor broad. Score 20/25 points

Harmony: the flavours get along ok, but you just wish there were more of them, and that they were thicker and richer. Score 21/25 points

Comment: I expected more here. Usually I find Maker's Mark 46 more interesting than I did this Maker's Mark Cask Strength. This bottle is rather thin and narrow in its flavours

What is lacking here are bass notes from wood. The pitches of this bottle of Maker's Mark CS are mostly medium pitch, with a few high notes. What is present from the wood is ok, but it is limited, too limited. The grain flavours are good enough, but not excellent. The overall effect is rather astringent and a bit too limited in range.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said it is missing bass notes, it is rather astringent, and limited in range.

I wish I enjoyed this bottle more. Who knows, maybe some time in the back of the cabinet will help.


I have tried both regular Maker's Mark and Maker 46 and have found both to be average and nothing special. Then Maker's released the cask strength and I was surprised at how good it turned out to be.

Nose: Initially is rather off putting, has a permanent marker smell. The alcohol is sharp so let it breath for awhile. Afterward you get black cherry cola, vanilla, dried fruit, citrus (tangerine/grapefruit). After it breaths for a good 10min you get burnt sugar, custard, molasses.

Taste: This is big bourbon so proceed with caution. Initially your senses are overwhelmed by big wood, heat, and tannins. The spice is strong as well but, its surprisingly sweet in such a good way that makes you pucker and, after awhile, it starts to behave and show off. The flavor profile evolves as you drink it. A delicious cherry tart comes out beautifully on the palate, as does sweet juices of tangerine, sour grapefruit, raisins, and sweet wood. I tend to especially enjoy this cherry tartness that hits the palate.

Finish: Finishes like it starts, sweet, woody, with good heat, and the tannins that coat your tongue and leave it with that textured grip sensation.

I tend to like a dram that's an experience and Maker's Mark has provided one with this CS release. A word of caution, your millage may vary. My bottle was batch 14-01 ds-gm-ab-nk-lm-dn.

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