When I say what I am about to say I know it is not very unique, but it is true. Maker’s Mark was the first bourbon I ever had. It was at a party at a friend’s house. One taste and I was hooked.
However, it took me a long time to appreciate it in its purity: neat. I would mix it with any type of cola I could find. If I was feeling extra spunky I would have it on the rocks. This was before I really appreciated bourbon, or whisk(e)y for that matter, for what it is: the water of life.
Well, I have come a long way. The only problem is that over the years I fell out of love with Maker’s. I met too many other beauties along the way. Maker’s slowly disappeared from my bar.
That all changed when Maker’s Mark released this gem last year. So, what do I think?
MAKER’S MARK CASK STRENGTH
Distiller: Maker’s Mark
Age: NAS (6-7 year old according to the distillery)
ABV: 55.8% (This has come out in various batches with different ABVs)
Batch #: 15-02 (2nd batch of 2015 – I assume)
It is classic Maker’s cranked-up to the max. All the normal notes are there but they are stronger. Carmel, toffee, vanilla, red fruits (dark cherries), a slight brown sugar and barrel char note. An even smaller but, still present, oakiness. It reminds me a lot of WT 101 but smoother and fresher.
This is very smooth and creamy for its proof. The burn is on the front and sides of the tongue. Even so, it is not too hot. It has a medium viscosity. Most of the notes from the nose come out in the palate as well. Carmel, toffee, vanilla, red fruits (dark cherries), and a small amount of brown sugar.
Medium. Smooth. The red fruit notes and sweetness lingers and then fades to a dry, slight oakiness.
I feel this is just slightly over priced. If it was in the $50-55 range it would be perfectly positioned. There are some good options in cask strength bourbons in that range.
This is truly a great tipple. But, it wasn’t at first. Time has done this one well. I remember not liking it too much when I first opened it. It did not fare well in a blind tasting of cask strength/barrel proof bourbons. Air and a few months has really helped smooth it out and open it up. I love it. It is a great batch. It will be a staple in my bar again. Maker’s is back!
93/100 (An Excellent Tipple) – It would be 94-95 if the price was a little lower and the palate was a little thicker.
*Disclaimer: This bottle was a gift from a friend so I did not have to pay the price listed. So, I guess this bottle could have been rated at a 95 or higher since it was free for me.