Yes another multi-part review...What can you do?
Some months back I was graciously offered a trio of Maker's Mark Samples by @paddockjudge I am a sucker for this kind of comparison flight of whiskys also the judge has often claimed the Standard Maker's to be among his favorites. I have fond memories of drinking Maker's in the early stages of my whisky appreciation, I know I preferred it over Jim Beam white or Old No7 which we're the other easily attainable bourbons at the time but can't for the life of me remember why I was steered towards it.
Ok we are starting with the standard Maker's Mark, it's probably the most commercially sold wheated bourbon but doesn't stir up the frenzy that Weller does. The sample was decanted from a bottle open about 9 months.
Nose: Caramel corn, freshly cut oak plank, custard, fresh brioche with lemon sugar and studded with maraschino cherries. Apple fritters with a touch of nutmeg. This is a beautiful nose, inviting, delicate but sitting on a robust base of sweet corn and oak.
Palate: watermelon rind, sharp oak, lemon pith, cherry lozenges, apricot, caramel loaded with butter. It then veers into a dusty grain, a slight vegetal note mid palate note and a bitter exit. It has a soft entry but that sharp grain and astringent oak attack loses you
Finish: The finish fades fast, leaving astringent oak and a bit of lingering caramel sweetness. There's a feeling of dried leaves & flowers and toasted bread and a few flecks of tobacco remaining in a tin.
Notes: The nose of this thing is a beauty, I am unsure if this is from the effect of a long opened bottle or a good batch...I have to say I wasn't expecting this at all. Unfortunately the palate doesn't reach the same level, it is kind of abrupt and brittle, the texture doesn't help any of the rich notes to stick around.
That said this has convinced me to pick up a half bottle to play around with or just enjoy when kicking back this summer.
@casualtorture by all means try Maker's Mark Cask Strength. I recommend a sample rather than a bottle. I hope that there is a lot of variation in Marker's Mark Cask Strength, because the bottle @Nock bought about 3 or 4 years ago when it first came out pleased neither one of us. And I love wheated bourbon.
Maker's 46 is the only Maker's of which I would currently buy a bottle, absent tasting the exact batch of one of the other products first. I don't need to buy any Maker's 46 because I still have some from the bottle I bought of it 7 years ago, and a friend gave me a still unopened bottle of it 5 years ago.
Thanks for the review. I liked Maker’s but didn’t love it. That said, it’s a far more enjoyable and consistent pour than standard Buffalo Trace or Bulleit....and those seem to be the only three bourbons available in every pub and bar around me. At best, Maker’s is toasty, oaky, vanilla frosting goodness, and at worse it’s a bit harsh, but never unpleasant. Bulleit and BT can often be very bad.