As I’ve said before, Maker’s Mark was the tipple which brought me to the whisk(e)y table. I ‘cut my teeth’ on it as people say. While it’s no longer my favorite it’s a staple on my bar. So, as I have explained here, I was pleased to see the good folks over at Maker’s introduce a cask strength version earlier this year. However, I was a little surprised as well.
As you have heard (if you haven’t then you are likely very new to the whisk(e)y scene), Maker’s decided over a year ago to reduce the proof of their flagship product to 84 proof (It had always been 90 proof) due to the un-happy marriage of production and popularity. In short, their supplies were not meeting demand.
As you know or can suspect, this was met with anger, dismay, and quite a bit of complaining from the Maker’s fan-base. So, they decided not to cut the proof and instead told their consumers they might not find as much product going forward.
To my knowledge this never happened. I’ve not been in a bar or liquor store which doesn’t have a healthy selection of Makers. In fact, as you know, they went the other way shortly after the controversy and released the aforementioned cask strength product.
So, as I have read reviews and consumed a few bottles of this new product over the past year, I have been left wondering one thing: How did Maker’s Mark, who couldn’t meet demands, all of a sudden continue to meet demands without cutting their proof and add a new product at a higher proof?
I don’t have an answer, but I do have some speculation. Maker’s is a NAS, Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky. This means it can be any age as long as it’s at least 2 years old. Maker’s claims their batches are around 6 years old. It varies because they want to keep a consistent flavor (I like it).
Now, I’ve not had a bottle of their regular product since the fiasco so I can’t compare it to how it use to taste. But, I’d be hard-pressed to believe that Maker’s was able to all of a sudden keep up with demand, not water down their product, and release a cask strength version (which can be found at almost any liquor store). Whisk(e)y can’t defy nature and science.
The only answer I can come up with is that their products are no longer an average of 6 years old and are more likely around 4-5 years old. We will probably never know the truth. But, I thought I’d share what’s been troubling my mind about the whole situation and the “solution” which helped ease my mind. If you know more please feel free to leave a comment. Cheers!
*Bonus: I never knew Maker’s Mark looked like a Reuben Sandwich!