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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.
- 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