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.
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.
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.
A little short, and spirit, with some pepper.
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.