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Maker's Mark

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Maker's Mark

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Maker's Mark

Maker's Mark might have been the first bourbon I liked in my teen years, when all the whiskey I had previously had was in the form of shots and far from quality standards. I remember being offered a fancy 5 cl bottle (full with red wax) as a token and sipping it calmly at home for the first time, instead of slamming it back at parties. Nice for a change.

Anyway, time has passed and I realized I haven't reviewed it, so I had a glass yesterday at the Intercontinental Hotel Madrid in order to cover that gap. Here's the review:

Clean honey-to-amber pour, a shadow of a green cast to it. Aroma is medium or even high intensity: loads of sweet scents (crème brûlée, custard, caramel), a hint of smoke, charred lemon, leather. Mouth starts slightly sweet, then fresh yet punchy, medium to low-bodied. It finishes with a warm, long-lasting bouquet of violets, and that long flowery finish might be the best part of it all.


There's been a lot of whisky today - I spent a few hours doing my judicial duties for the World Whiskies Awards, rating sixteen different Canadian whiskies on a Zoom call with my fellow jurists. So my palate is already a bit worn out, to say the least. Luckily today's calendar entry is the very familiar Maker's Mark. I was shocked to see that although I've reviewed two Private Selects, the Cask Strength and the Maker's 46, I've never actually written about the standard bottling - strange as it is such a fixture in my house, being my go-to bourbon.

Sipping and thinking about it is very bittersweet for me now, as Maker's Mark Distillery was one of the stops Pam and I made during our trip to Kentucky in 2018, and we were able to do a full day's private tour, which was wonderful. I say bittersweet because - and many of you already know this - my six-year-relationship with Pam very sadly ended this September; but even more tragically, three weeks after that Pam suddenly passed away in her sleep of a heart attack, at 46 years old. This is the first sip of Maker's Mark I've taken in a long time - for me, there is a lot of emotion and meaning in this little ol' glass of simple bourbon.

The colour is a medium-to-dark copper. On the nose it is soft corn, vanilla bean, peach, cherry and lots of oak. Floral. Nutmeg. Hint of citrus. A drop of water brings out some malt. A classy, elegant gentleman of a bourbon.

The palate has a bit more punch, with dark caramel, more oak, chili flakes, mint and ginger. Dark honey. Mouth-drying. More herbal with water. Again - simply a classic, approachable bourbon.

The long, developing finish is peppery with baked apple and cinnamon. Not much more to say about this one - it's my go-to bourbon at home, and I love it - so I'll stop my writing now, and raise this glass in a toast to Pam's memory.

@talexander I know I had a comment to make here, but the news of your personal tragedy seems to have rendered it unimportant. Please accept my sincere condolences on what would seem to be a double loss.

To Pam. She is much missed.


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.

I don't mind Maker's Mark, especially if it is cabinet aged. Not all batches are created equal. One particularly memorable pour of MM standard was enjoyed nearly three years ago at Toronto Pearson International Airport. While waiting for a departure flight to Houston I had a burger and bourbon, single patty, double pour. The MM was impressive. I had another. It wasn't because nothing else was available. I had a full litre of ultra premium whiskies in 100 ml clear plastic vials. I'm a well-pickled traveler.

@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.


Maker's Mark is interesting to me. No rye is used in the mash bill. "Red Winter Wheat" is used along with the corn and malted barley. Im not sure what makes red winter wheat different from other wheat. Any botanists or farmers in the house? They say it is small batch and actually advertise 19 barrels or less per batch. I enjoy the disclosure on that. Also, it's whisky in this case, not whiskey like most of American spellings.

Mashbill: 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley (source: breakingbourbon).

Apparently, they had several mash bill contenders, and they baked bread with the grains from each mash bill and the one without rye was the winner. Cool story, valid or not. MM was making wheated bourbon for the masses before it was trendy. This 1L bottle I found on sale for $29.99 which is what the 75CL usually sells for. Couldn't resist. Bottle is 3/4 full and opened for a week or two. Neat in a glencairn and hand warmed thanks to some advice from @paddockjudge. And let me say this bottle has opened up from when it was first opened. At first I was really worried but air is doing favors.

Nose: Fruity on the nose. Strawberry, peaches, baked cinnamon apples, toffee and vanilla. Light but pleasant enough. If you search enough there is an earthiness to be found like walking into an old barn with dirt floors and hay everywhere.

Palate: Very sweet fruit jams. Peaches and berries smothered in sweet vanilla cream sauce. A bit one dimensional though. Hard to find much outside fruit and vanilla but what is there is very likeable and definitely makes for a quaffable dram.

Finish: More sweet vanilla and fruit. Peach cobbler a la mode. Medium length. Nothing to write home about and sticks with the theme.

Overall: This is comparable to Weller SR. Don't tell the rest of the internet, but it's also a tad better than Weller SR in my opinion. Good one to have around for summer.

@cricklewood I would agree as far as bourbon goes obviously. But scotch is a different story. Even if you want to spend the ridiculous extra amounts of money compared to the UK and even China, the availability of anything out of the ordinary is lacking. I really wanted to get the Arran McTaggart 10yr anniversary edition but can't track it down anywhere in my regional vicinity. Other limited releases as well. I got my Arran 18 limited edition in China and flew it back. Got my Talisker 57N there as well cuz good luck finding that in the Southern US...

@casualtorture, I hear you, my comment was mainly vis-à-vis American whisky, I can see how getting Scotch or International whisky might be trickier. Although I have to say a lot of online retailers have decent selections, if Binny's would ship again they seem to have both good prices and a pretty good selection.

I too have been coveting the Arran McTaggart edition, I have never had a full bourbon matured Arran so was curious especially since I think it's cask strength or near it.


The story of Maker’s Mark is one to read up on. I can recommend the book ‘Bourbon’ by Fred Minnick from 2016. The distillery only started producing in 1954 and has always gone against the grain and positioned itself (way back then) as a high end bourbon. The idea of the red wax came from the owner’s wife and was immediately patented. They do not use any rye. Next to corn, the mashbill consists of winter wheat and malted barley.

Rather dusty nose on white bread, farmer’s butter and brown sugar. Nougat and hazelnuts. Oranges in the background. Even some cold tea. Nothing earth shattering, though.

Nicely creamy on the palate. Immediately honeysweet with a green edge. Think caramel, oranges, gummi bears, coconuts and cherry liqueur. Quite pleasant.

Surprisingly long finish in which the spices take most credit.

It had been years since I last tasted this one, but I remember this to be much sweeter (not better though). This batch is to my liking.


Most of the bourbons in my cabinet are high proof. Half of my unopened bottles are cask strength and all but 2 are at 50% or higher. Only one of my 12 opened bourbons is bottled at less than 50%.

Last year I was picking up some beer and maybe wine for my wife, and saw this mini near the cash. The LCBO has very few minis. Though it was a little pricy for 50 cc, I was using a gift card and decided to treat myself, as I’ve read about Maker’s, I bought one for a family that let me stay at their place over a weekend, but I’ve never tasted it in a “controlled setting”.

This is standard Maker’s Mark, in a 50 cc plastic bottle complete with the dipped wax seal. This is actually more than just a marketing gimmick. I suspect that the seal would help preserve the contents more than a simple metal closure. I know there are many types of Maker’s but this is the entry level standard expression.

I was surprised by 2 things. The label refers to the spirit as WHISKY, not WHISKEY. Second, there is a serial number that likely points to the batch on the back, which is not often seen on minis in my experience.

This expression, poured into a A. Smith Bowman snifter, is reviewed in my usual manner, allowing it to settle, covered, after which I take my nosing and tasting notes, followed by the addition of a few drops of water, waiting, then nosing and tasting.

Nose: 22/25

There is a smell that is characteristic of bourbons, something that I detect in almost every bourbon I try. I’ve never been able to put it into proper English terms. This is what hits me first. Sweet, spicy, fruity. A warm nose, heavy syrup (as in canned fruit). Definitely cherry, maybe maraschino? Nice nose. Water doesn’t really change the nose for me.

Taste: 21/25

Sweet arrival, vanilla, some caramel. A little cherry. Spicy on the development with just a touch of pepper. Water smooths out the rough edges a little but also washes out the flavours a bit.

Finish: 20/25

A little short, and spirit, with some pepper.

Balance: 22/25

The nose is a little more complex than the palate, which is slightly disappointing (after the nose).

Score: 85/100 With Water 83.5/100

This is not bad bourbon. With some heavy bruisers in my cabinet I can’t see myself buying a bottle of it, because it would last forever, but if it were part of a limited choice at a party, I would definitely consider it.

@Nozinan, US distillers are free to spell whiskey/whisky as they like. There is no US law on this subject, and tradition here does not make a big deal about the spelling used. There are other US distillers in addition to Maker's Mark who choose to use the "whisky" spelling, e.g. George Dickel.

I am long on record as not being a fan of most batches of standard Maker's Mark for sipping purposes, but I am a big fan of sipping the more strongly wood-influenced Maker's 46. Standard Maker's Mark does make excellent cocktails.

@paddockjudge, it is also true that Maker's Mark bourbons are quite different from the Heaven Hill wheated bourbons, i.e. the Fitzgerald products such as Larceny, and sourced Heaven Hill wheated bourbons, like the Rebel Yell family. (in a few short years Rebel Yell will come from Luxco's own distillery and no longer be Heaven Hill product.)

This is my favourite bourbon....Why? Because it never disappoints. It is easy to drink, tastes great, and the price won't leave you dizzy. It is in a totally different orbit than Weller (another popular wheated bourbon), perhaps yeast and cask treatment make the difference, or possibly the stills, the cut...who knows?

Each iteration has qualities that distinguish it from other Maker's (such as 46, Cask Strength, and Private Selection) as well as traits that tie them to the house style; however, they are not at all similar to Beam or Sazerac products. Maker's is an easy sipper, especially when hand warmed, with a soft entry, adequate sweetness, and not a lot of tannic accents.

There is no prototypical bourbon style. Maker's is in a category of its own. Some like it, some like it a lot, and some don't care for it. I like it, a lot. I don't recommend water for the standard 45% version.


One of the old school original bourbons and one of the first to turn my head. This is a steady reliable day drinker with just enough flavor. Lacks the complexity of some other bourbons but for the price, you can't find much better.

Hi Victor,

Thanks for the feedback. I have literally just signed up 20 minutes ago and am testing out the review system and website in general to see how it works. I will be writing a proper review but don't have my notes on me at the moment.

No tasting notes. No scoring of the parts of the experience. No, I will not be going over to your blog to read more.


This is an abbreviated version of an entry I posted on my blog today. Go there for bonus content, like an Elvis video

Maker's Mark. The red wax seal, the squarish bottle. It's a very popular bourbon. I'd never had a proper wheated bourbon before, so when I saw this one on sale, I bought it. Here are my thoughts.

Tasting notes

  • Nose (undiluted): vanilla, brown sugar,oak
  • Palate (undiluted): medium bodied, slightly waxy, lots of vanilla, coconut notes, brown sugar, toasted oak and toasted marshmallows
  • Finish: medium length, icing sugar, vanilla and toasted marshmallows

Adding water to Maker's Mark toned down some sweetness but didn't really bring forth any new notes. Adding ice toned down some of the oakiness and allowed the vanilla and marshmallow notes to shine through. I wasn't crazy about using Maker's Mark in an Old Fashioned. I prefer higher rye bourbons or straight rye whiskies for that particular task. This whiskey was simply too "nice" to make its presence known in a cocktail.

To be perfectly honest, I was a bit disappointed when I first tried Maker's Mark. I'm a fan of big, bold flavours such as higher rye whiskies and heavily peated, smoky whiskies. After I adjusted my expectations, however, I found Maker's Mark to be well-crafted and well-presented. It's incredibly creamy and mild for something that's bottled at 90 proof (45% ABV). It can serve as a wonderful introduction to wheated bourbon or served to someone who doesn't like the spicy flavour of rye. My only real complaint (and it's an admittedly subjective one) is the price of Maker's Mark here in Ontario. I purchased my bottle on sale for $42 CAD. It normally sells for $49 CAD. For that price, I can get Knob Creek Small Batch 9 Year Old Bourbon. Now, Knob Creek has a flavour profile I prefer, and my complaint is not really an indictment of the quality of Maker's Mark. There's no sense criticizing J.D. Salinger if you prefer reading Kurt Vonnegut or Cormac McCarthy (and I do). If you temper your expectations of how a bourbon should taste (remember, this is a wheater- no rye) Maker's Mark is a solid addition to your whisk(e)y collection.

I also struggled with scoring this one. My personal enjoyment is a bit lower than this score indicates, but I do feel this is a quality product, if somewhat simple and straightforward

Free market economy is a beautiful thing... I can't pinpoint what note I was referring to exactly and its been a while since I had makers so I can't even describe it for you. If I have it again I'll take notes but thats doubtful since I didn't like it very much. I would like to try one of the Bourbons you mention @Victor so I could see what they should taste like!

@OdysseusUnbound, yes, I would have enjoyed sampling from your reviewed bottle. There is really quite a lot of variation in batches in most large-circulation whiskeys. I have certainly seen it in Maker's Mark. Sounds Iike it bored you but that I would have liked your bottle more than most I have tried. More than is still not "likes very much". It also sounds like what you really want is a taste of William Larue Weller and Pappy Van Winkle.

It amazes me how much of an old codger I start to sound after being a hard-core whisk(e)y fan for a mere 10 years, but the truth really is that the hobby was a lot more fun when you could get your hands on the top products without paying a scalper's price. I started hustling in a big way in 2010 and put away a lot of allocated American whiskeys. By 2012 the well was drying up big-time. Nowadays the only way I can get the new releases is the occasional favour of the dealers with whom I became friendly before the madness struck, or the rare chance of succeeding in one of the lotteries held by some of the jurisdictions. It is both sad and ridiculous to me that the bottles of Pappy Van Winkle 15 yo which I and others have purchased for $ 65 are now sold on the secondary market for a world average price of $ 1,300. Would I pay anything like that? Hell no! But then I didn't have to 7 years ago.And I do love to drink the stuff.


Maker's Mark is one of the most recognizable bourbons on the market because of the typical square bottle and the red wax. The bottle has been on the market like this since 1958. In 2013 the producer decided to bottle the bourbon at a lower ABV of 42% instead of the regular 45% for fear of depleting the stocks. This was met by a storm of protest from the consumers that the company reversed the decision within a week. We will try the regular Maker’s Mark, a bourbon that stands out as no rye is added to the mash bill, but wheat!

The nose offers warm and sweet notes of caramel, honey and dried orange peel. Loads of cinnamon. You can actually smell the wheat (unless that is just in my head). Nothing earth shattering, but quite alright.

It is round and creamy on the palate. Good mouth feel. Not too light, but not to syrupy either (which I sometimes have with bourbon). Sweet on crème brûlée with vanilla and caramel in the lead. Mild hints of nuts as well. Some apple pie? Coconut! Some citrus and cherries. I like it.

In the medium long finish it suddenly turns very dry and allows the spices a voice once more.

Flawless, but common bourbon. Probably quite good in a cocktail because of the sweet softness. For those among us with a sweet tooth. Boy, sweet indeed! Thanks, Pat!

They do 2 higher end products a cask strength normally in a 35ml bottle at the same price as regular and Makers 46 which has been further matured with toasted oak staves added into the barrel to finish. Have not tried either yet as hard to find in UK but I am a fan of the original.

Excellent review! Would buy this one from now on instead of the evan williams.

Is the red wax the flagship bottle of maker's mark?


I've not had a glass of Makers Mark in at least two years, as I have been preoccupied with various other bourbons and single malts. This is somewhat shocking considering it was one of the first bourbons I convinced myself that I enjoyed. I'm 27 and about 10 years ago, I managed to get my hands on a bottle of the stuff courtesy of a dear, well-meaning family friend who considered this the only bourbon worth sipping neat. It was to be a bottle of this stuff coupled with the latest Tom Waits record at the time "Real Gone" that would be the experience of a particular memorable weekend. The album, I had procured on a rugged tour working a showcase with 4 other bands across the country. The touring experience was unfortunately cut short by the death of my dear granddad whom I was very fond of. I was 16 or 17 at the time.

I took a flight back to my homestate of Virginia from Jersey or Philly, i honestly can't remember. What I do remember is a night that occurred a few weeks after the family situation had settled down and I had begun to get a grip on everything.

I remember the night fondly. I arrived at a party in the middle of nowhere. A cabin in the wood. With my prize bourbon hidden away for the time being, I scoped out the "scene" looking for a peer to have some intimate conversation with, low and behold I ran into a friend of mine whom i'd gotten to know rather well when i was in highschool ( he was to be a music critic & radio show host years later). Everyone was having a grand wild social time, yet our mutual passion for Mr Waits and a bit of old fashioned introversion led us to hiding away in my car(parked of course) in a muddy makeshift space among the other patron's vehicles. We found ourselves enjoying this ultra gritty album, on my vehicle's rather balanced stereo system playing the cuts in a grand fashion…all the while company of this rather sippable whisky while the other patrons raged on inside the house.

We decided, as a couple of hedonistic young bucks often will, to sip this bourbon together straight from the bottle and one thing led to another… Our singing turned to howling my friends, all in the light that the full moon overhead as it would happen. I don't remember much of the experience after a certain point given my lack of experience drinking straight bourbon at the time, but i consider it the beginning of my journey into creating "moments" with whisky.

Fast forward 10 or so years. I must say that I have had several bottles of this stuff in the years leading up to my whisky exploration breakthrough. Perhaps for novel reasons, or some kind of naive brand loyalty I bought the stuff over the years when I was feeling it. Yet, for whatever reason, once i started my journey into my real whisky obsession, I somehow always overlooked it while exploring. So about 300 bottles since my last dram, i think it might just be appropriate that i give my first review of tonight's experience with the old familiar yet unfamiliar bastard i was once fairly close to. She was a gift from a friend as well, so i'm rather optimistic!

Nose: A contradictory combination of rich yet delicate dried floral notes, perfumed subtle woodiness and a raisin like quality with a bit of crisp apple with an interesting clean polish note. Quite clean. All of this of course alongside the basic vanilla, caramel and cinnamon qualities i'm always annoyed to read about given their inherent existence in most bourbons. Also a bit of meatiness, which i associate with wheated bourbons (anyone else detect meaty notes in wheated bourbons?). There is a bit of a dusty wood and subtle tobacco like quality which is a bit misleading for me personally given what happens on the palate. A touch of oregano and hint of dried basil. Makes me think of giant new york style pizza slices you get at the odd amazing hole in the wall pizza joints up north with the salt shakers of spices available at the counter.

Palate: Buttery and a bit of a light oily feel. Lots of corn presence, almost reminds me of the corn quality i enjoy in George Dickel.. . The nice raisin note detected in the nose speaking its voice on the tongue which reminds me somewhat abstractly of Edradour whiskies i've tried. Nice and soft. I feel this is a completely approachable whisky experience, which one could either contemplate and tease a bit more from, or just relax and enjoy in a simplistic comforting style of this whisky.

Finish: Its very "tidy". I don't sip anything which i would consider tidy very often. It's unique to me compared to most of the whiskies which i sip regularly these days in that the finish doesn't really deliver an additional aspect to the experience of tasting it. I wouldn't be surprised if this is seen as a virtue to this whisky by some drinkers and i wouldn't judge anyone for enjoying that style. Its certainly not overwhelming and its softness is adorable, and i mean that the best sense of the word. Perhaps it is this quality that is quintessential in the maker's mark profile. It seems to be providing consumers with an access point to some quality bourbon flavors without some of the louder fireworks that can be found in some other more challenging whiskies. I can see why people might say that this seems a bit spirity, given its very clean ending which I associate with more neutral styles of spirits.

Overall: I'm glad I have a bottle to explore again, perhaps, i'll pour to enjoy casually and not feel like i have to withdraw from conversation to appreciate but there are definitely some moments to be had with many aspects of this whisky or many different styles of whisky drinkers, though its clean nature could disappoint one who is fond of more character driven whiskies. It's not that Maker's Mark isn't a character whisky, is just a bit too well behaved and rarely acts out or surprises beyond the nose.


My bad, but it seems I can't get rid of the alcohol in this whiskey. I admit adding quite a bit of water in this one which seems to have taken away its sweetness and now reveals a more "citrusy" character. The true bourbon DNA is embedded here...fantastic! and I think I can taste some thick Cuban cigar...vanilla and oak. Slowly developing spice leads to a medium to long finish. Good stuff!!

I definitely agree with @Victor- the alcohol is extremely prevalent in standard Maker's Mark, way more so than you'd expect from a 90 proof whiskey. Tasting Maker's Mark for the firs time was really interesting to me for that reason. It really illustrates how much the quality of a whiskey can change how much you notice the alcohol. For example, Booker's bourbon- which generally runs somewhere in the ballpark of 130 proof- has, at least to me, way less noticeable alcohol than Maker's Mark, despite being almost half again as strong.

I'd second the recommendation of Makers' 46 as well- it's a big improvement.

@bourbondrinker, you are not wrong. Standard Maker's Mark at 45% abv shows me a lot of alcohol...as though it were 80% abv.

Try the Maker's 46. It is a MUCH better sipper. I don't like to sip standard Maker's Mark, but I am happy to sip Maker's 46.


This has been a classic staple in my cabinet. After I married my wife I discovered that this was also a staple of her cabinet . . . but only for cooking! I am on a mission to find an alternative bourbon to cook with (mainly because it is about $30 for a 750mL here in Virginia). Here are my thoughts on a recent bottle:

Nose: Maple, brown sugar, coal . . . wheat and mellow? I mean I know the Evan Williams has rye and this has wheat so maybe my nose is just playing ticks on me. Honey, wheat, barley, and brown sugar. A very subtle sweetness that has more umph then either of the Evan Williams’. There is very little sour in the nose, but it isn’t as sweet as the Jack. It has a depth equal to the Wild Turkey 101 even if I find the 101 slightly more intriguing.

Taste: Sweeter then either of the EW’s without being quite as sweet as the Jack. All on brown sugar, malt barley, and wheat.

Finish: Spicy finish that attacks the mouth more then the others. This has way more spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, paprika, and cayenne. Medium finish.

Balance, Complexity: More balanced then I expected from nose to finish. I really enjoyed it more then I thought. Not the most complex of the group, but possibly the best balanced across the board. It really does a nice job of being spicy, sweet and subdued. The nose, taste and finish are very much inline. So big points for balance, but not as complex as I would like to see.

Aesthetic experience: More orange amber then EW. Medium bodied. This is a tough one. I both like and hate the design. It speaks of both classic hand-made cool bourbon, as well as cheap and mass produced.

Conclusion: I really like Maker’s Mark for a number of personal reasons. I have been drinking this stuff since I started drinking whiskey. It is a classic and staple in my cabinet. And I won’t allow it to be used in a brine or bourbon sauce anymore. This is only for drinking, and is a solid B in my book

@Nock, the affection you have for Maker's Mark comes through in your review! Maker's Mark was also my wife @Dramlette's favourite bourbon for a long time.

Your numbers for standard Maker's Mark are close to mine. One thing you don't mention is that Maker's Mark is a great cocktail whiskey. You can make a sensational Manhattan with Maker's Mark.

Cooking bourbon? Next time you're up here maybe try a sample of 100 proof Evan Williams. It is $ 13.50 here which includes the tax.

Just picked up a bottle of Maker's Mark last night...The few times I tried it (once was in a bar in which my 'shot' was the last few ounces of that particular bottle, and the other was a 50 ml sampler which had an 'off' taste).

Maybe my palate has changed over the years, or those 2 previous samplings were simply poor quality, but getting to the point - this is a solid wheated bourbon.

Glad I gave it one more chance.


I've never had much patience for Bourbon. The only time I had previously tried the stuff was when I was younger and never stopped to appreciate it. I was just now out at a Southern US-themed restaurant and so I decided to see the error in my ways and try Maker's Mark. Of all the listed Bourbons, why this one? Even though there was Blanton's on the list, and I've been dying to give that a shot? Well I only noticed they had Blanton's after I had already ordered Maker's Mark...oh well.

Anyway, as for the nectar itself, I sampled it neat and noticed the following.

Nose: Very noticeable oak smell to it. Tapers off to some brown sugar, but very faintly.

Palette: To be honest the single strongest flavour I noticed initially was just alcohol. This wasn't overpowering though as the smells and other flavours did mask it a little bit. Some black pepper notes added some spice to it, and faint vanilla complemented that well. There was also, of course, oak flavours.

Finish: The flavours lingered somewhat, but not terribly. They faded gradually, thankfully not too quickly though. My sole complaint would be that the initial flavours were all I really got, in the sense that nothing new appeared as time went on. In the scheme of things, though, I think that's minor enough to not get in the way of the rest of the experience.

All in all a solid whisky. It's definitely the kind of whisky for casual barbecue nights. It's hardly the stuff for purists, in my opinion, but I could for sure see myself buying a bottle.


Soft, fruity, easy to enjoy. Very good for a bourbon in my opinion. The kind of a bottle you are glad to have in the front row of your cupboard, from which you take a sip after a long day or from which you can pour a round for your poker friends.

I agree with the review. MM is truly underrated (IMO) probably because the price has been kept moderate-while others that build a following jump significantly. Also they have not branched out into several optional choices. They've stayed with what is working. (the potential % change mistake recently, not withstanding)


Whiskey tasted neat.

Appearance: straw-gold colour.

Nose: A fair bit of alcohol, some vanilla, caramel, brown sugar becoming more prevalent with time.

Palate: Sweet and somewhat plain; a very 'forward' flavor profile. Caramel, brown sugar, a bit of toast, some vanilla, very mild oak.

Finish: very short with little hint of spice.

Overall impressions: a fairly good 'gateway' bourbon, it's quite sweet and fairly mildly flavored but it's not terribly interesting and its price put it in competition with bourbons that are decidedly better. The astringent quality of alcohol comes through quite strongly at times, as well - compared to Woodford Reserve, which I have also reviewed and which has essentially the same ABV, the alcohol is much more prevalent here.

I couldn't agree more with you about standard Maker's Mark and alcohol greeting. I've said so several times on this site already. The alcohol greeting of this is typically remarkably high for a mere 45% ABV whiskey, in my experience. 2010 George T. Stagg at 71.5% ABV has virtually no noticeable alcohol sipped neat, by contrast. Perception of alcohol is not about % ABV.

I don't consider Maker's Mark to be a sipper, for me. It makes an excellent mixer, though.

@BourbonNorth1, I would be interested to see how you find Maker's 46. Opinion varies a lot on that one. It is a favourite whiskey for some. For me, it is decisively superior to standard Maker's, but others of my friends, such as @dbk, for whom I have great respect, feels it still doesn't quite get there to make the cut for him. I enjoy sipping Maker's 46, but not standard Maker's.

Good to see another bourbon fan North of the Border.

Thanks Victor. Yeah it's very interesting how strong the alcohol greeting in Maker's is, I just reviewed a bottle of Booker's at 65% and found it substantially less 'boozy'. I'd also agree with you on Maker's being more of a mixer.

As for Maker's 46, I think it's decidedly a better bourbon than the original. For not all that much more money, you get a bourbon that, to me, has a lot more balance and a lot more to it. Don't have a bottle on hand for the moment, but I'm probably going to get one in the not too distant future and I'll be sure to put a review of it up then.



Maker’s Mark is a “wheated” bourbon, meaning that the “small” grain in the mash is wheat (rather than the more conventional rye). Though Maker’s Mark was not the first wheated bourbon on the market—the Weller brand has laid claim to this honor, but the veracity of this declaration is not at all certain—it was the first “premium” bourbon on the market, in price at least. Without providing even the slightest bit of evidence that it was superior to any other bourbon on the market, the price tag was noticeably higher.

The marketers behind Maker’s Mark (say that three times fast) made the brand famous with the slogan “It tastes expensive... and is.” A strategy to introduce the whisky (spelled without the “e” after Maker’s Mark's own spelling) to traveling businessmen also led to a favorable article in the Wall Street Journal, which arguably launched the brand on the national stage. Now, it is one of the most well-recognized American whisky brands.

The nose is a touch creamy and alcoholic. It has hints of strawberry yogurt, walnuts, butter, cocoa, menthol, and peanut brittle. Despite having no rye in the mash bill, much of it reminds me of the low-rye Beam recipe bourbons, such as Knob Creek. Interestingly enough, Beam Inc. is the current owner of the Maker’s Mark brand.

The palate is fairly astringent and hot, certainly more so than one might expect for a premium bourbon. It is spicy and nutty, with a fair dose of vanilla running throughout. It’s neither complex nor captivating, but it is perfectly drinkable.

Perhaps Maker’s Mark once did taste like an expensive bourbon, just as advertised, and perhaps to many it still does. Nonetheless, with the range and quality of bourbons currently populating the shelves, one could certainly do better with the money a bottle of Maker’s Mark commands. Then again, one could probably also do worse.

Thank you for a very nice review, @dbk. Maker's Mark has to me a remarkably strong alcohol greeting for being what in my book is a miniscule 45% abv. I don't care for it as a sipper, at all. It is fantastic in cocktails, though. Lots of people like it a lot. Lots of people haven't tried too many bourbons, either.


Maker's mark is a nice easy Whisky, a good into dram. Very drink able sipping whisky, very delicate for a burbon, but with is subtlety MM has a range of complex flavors, non of which are over powering, so you have to take some time to savor the different flavors other you will miss them.

Got a bottle last year for my birthday. Decided to open it tonight to give it a go. Normally I'm enjoying a fine scotch but tonight I was up for the sweet taste of bourbon. First impressions, delicate and sweet. Just a casual night in with a dash of ice. Not bad at all.


Neat. The pour is a deep orange amber with thick, widely spaced legs dripping down. Looks great.

Nose: At first there is a lot of apple cider vinegar. Then it moves to spicy sherry and sweet toffee notes with golden raisins. Mild vanilla.

Taste: A little bit hot going down with too much spicy wood for my liking. Buttered biscuit and cornbread comes through. Finish is still too woody and tannic for me. Perfume and citrus bitters come in the finish. Still too hot and probably easy to enjoy on ice. Cut with water, it is just terrible and a waste of time.


A little spicier than your normal bourbons with a nose of fruits and honey. Tastes of sweet honey along wheat induced spices and a hint of oak. Ends with a sweeter creme brulee taste that is very characteristic of this bourbon.


Nose: Rather complex with the expected Vanilla and oak, some spice, honey , fruity notes and even some cereal notes going on.

Palate: Big vanilla here , Spicy, sweet, some cocoa notes as well as honey cereal grains with a twist of cinnamon and ginger.

Finish: Long, on cocoa, apricot compote, plum jam, wood spice, and Oak, with a bitter end note.

Bottom line:

All in all a very enjoyable dram of the genre. Very intense flavours, with the Bourbon-ish character, a solid whisky, for times I'm in the mood for major vanilla and sweet spicy oak, Kentucky style.


Nose: Rather complex with the expected Vanilla and oak, some spice, honey , fruity notes and even some cereal notes going on.

Palate: Big vanilla here , Spicy, sweet, some cocoa notes as well as honey cereal grains with a twist of cinnamon and ginger.

Finish: Long, on cocoa, apricot compote, plum jam, wood spice, and Oak, with a bitter end note.


All in all a very enjoyable dram of the genre. Very intense flavours, with the Bourbon-ish character, a solid whisky, for times I'm in the mood for major vanilla and sweet spicy oak, Kentucky style.


I write this as someone pretty new to the Whisky world. For me, as many, this was my introduction to the world of bourbon, and Whisky generally.

It comes across as sweet and dark on the nose with heavy caramel and a roasted undercurrent, almost like coffee. There is a vanilla sweetness as well.

Very malty on the tongue with more of the roasted qualities coming through but still quite smooth. Hints of molasses and toffee come through on the back of of the tongue. The burn is medium to light.

It finishes quite smooth and very long with a quick burn going down.

@t, Maker's Mark has for me a remarkably large alcohol bite, given the relatively low 90 proof. It has never been a favourite of mine, but I do see that it makes a good Manhattan Cocktail. I do think that the July 2010 appearance of the Maker's 46 represents a step up in flavour. The world of wheated bourbons does, however, have some extremely interesting products from Van Winkle and Weller.


This is my "go to" whiskey with a wonderful balance of flavor and price :)

Make no mistake this is an everyday whiskey, though I try my best not to drink it everyday. The nose is clean with both lightly woodsy aromas complimenting a caramel and vanilla sweetness. In the mouth there is some warmth from the 45% ABV but without any harshness that lower tier alcohols can sometimes have. On the palate it reflects the nose, more wood, caramel and vanilla. There are no surprises here which can be a good thing or a bad thing. The finish is not particularly and after a couple of minutes the flavors have faded into my mouth,

Maker's Mark is what it is, it exists on the higher end of mass produced bourbons but does not claim to be a refined and complex single malt. It also comes in at a very affordable price which means I don't mind blending it a little apple, peach, passionfruit juice or even using a little while cooking.

I enjoy it as a nice clean whiskey when I don't need anything more.

Nice review, quirkzoo! I have this bottle in my cabinet, but haven't gotten round to opening the bottle yet. This review makes me want to give it a go right now! :-)

whoops, I meant to say that, "The finish is not particularly LONG and after a couple of minutes..."


The bottle: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, no bottle age. This means that the barrels used to bottle are no younger than 4 years old. Maker's claims the average bottle is approximately 6 years of age.

Maker's is a Wheater bourbon, which means that the second grain used (after corn) is wheat instead of rye. This tends to produce sweet, smooth, sipping bourbons.

Maker's claims a, "small production" by using no more than 19 barrels per bottling, but remember those barrels can be of mixed age, chosen by the distiller, to maintain a consistent flavor.

The draw: There are other, cheaper products in the U.S. that are commonly called, "bourbon" or "whiskey", that do not meet the actual requirements of being called, "Bourbon Whiskey". Maker's was one of the first bourbons to mass distribute, while marketing itself to be among the, "elite" brands that fit the definition of Bourbon Whiskey.

Maker's is one of the quintessential, "starter" bourbons. Those curious about the world of bourbon often find this as the entry point, as it is widely distributed. This author has found a few bottles as far away as Northamptonshire, England.

The drink: The nose is primarily kerosene, wood smoke, and caramel. Initial taste has a medium burn, which smoothes out into a full flavor of molasses with a hint of vanilla. The finish is the same as the start, and the second drink is the same as the first.

Critics knock Maker's primarily for being too sweet, flat, and over produced. These points are hard to refute. Still, it is a good product. I would recommend this to anyone interested in bourbon, and regularly enjoy it with a few cubes of ice after dinner.

Neat: B- Two Cubes: B+ Water: F

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