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.