Price – 750 ml – $42.99 – (www.shoppersvineyard.com)
Method – nose – glencairn glass 15ml palate – 3 fingers – 2 ice cubes 8oz rocks tumbler
Rating – 95-100 – standard rating scale for wine and spirits
I’m now realizing that this is the whiskey that started my whole descent into whatever you might call this path that led me to start writing for Whiskey World Tour. The traditional Maker’s Mark was the third bottle of whiskey I ever purchased, following JD and Jameson, and the first one I really thought was very different. So when I started reading about it, and why it was so different from the others I had tried before, and read about the new form, 46, I was intrigued. Paired with the fact that I could find it no where amongst the every day liquor stores of New Jersey, the hunt for the rare became the fun of it all. And it all started with a red headed bottle named Maker’s 46.
The bottle is beautiful without being flashy. Smooth curves and no paper label suit this bottle well. The red wax topper that is usual for the Makers brand, sits proudly atop a cork, not a cap, and is matched by a rex wax seal that sits on the breast of the bottle like a gem. Overall, probably my second favorite bottle design of all the whiskeys I own (the first being Angel’s Envy by a nose).
Speaking of noses, the nose on this dram is amazing. It’s definitely one of the more full bodied noses I have come across with rich vanilla and toffe, backed by a corky oak smell that rounds it out beautifully.
For as much sweet that comes on the nose, the is beautifully balanced. The sweet notes are definitely there, but the wheat comes through beautifully in this whiskey. I’ve come to find, after sampling a few wheat based whiskeys (Maker’s Mark, Parker’s Heritage – Wheat Mashbill, and 46) that I really enjoy bourbon when its made with a high wheat content. It makes the flavor bold but not overpowering, and this is exemplified in the Maker’s 46. Starting with a bit of burn on the tip of the tongue and evolving into a full oaky/oily mouth filling experience. The sweet notes follow and round out the tanins beautifully . Here the vanilla and toffee are matched with the slight molasses flavor I’ve come to love in a good bourbon. The finish is long and luxurious, moving back and forth between the sweet and wood flavors and I even got moments of citrus in the finish. There is no alcohol flavor, and none of the metallic taste I get from other favorites like Woodford Reserve, when left to fully finish.
Overall I give this whiskey a 95, the only thing that holds it back from higher marks is the fact that there isn’t a lot of depth to the flavor profile. While that doesn’t make it a bad whiskey by any regard, 95 is pretty boss, it just takes a few of those top end points that I would give to a more full bodied dram.
Official Website: http://www.makersmark.com/#makers46
A Strong Foundation
Crafting a great whisky, as we knew with Maker’s Mark, takes time – in some cases, considerable time. But, after a period of lengthy and frustrating trial and error, we finally reached the conclusion that any new whisky we create should be borne directly from our original creation. So, Maker’s 46 starts with fully matured Maker’s Mark straight from the barrel. Can’t go wrong there.
Seared French Oak Staves
After removing the original Maker’s Mark from its barrel, the barrel head is pulled and ten wooden staves are affixed to the inside of the existing barrel. These staves are slowly seasoned and cooked in order to caramelize the sugars in the wood. Ultimately, this helps provide Maker’s 46 with its distinct caramel and toasted oak flavor that finishes nicely on the front of the tongue. Even sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Back to the Barrel
After the oak staves are affixed to the inside of the barrel, the mature Maker’s Mark goes right back into it – for at least several more months. Like Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46 isn’t aged for any specified period of time – it’s aged to taste. We simply let grains, wood and nature take care of the aging process. When it’s ready, our tasting panel knows it. Only after we consider it perfect is Maker’s 46 bottled, corked and dipped.
A Taste All Its Own
A bit stronger and bolder than the original Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46 has a rich, creamy seared-oak flavor. Caramel and vanilla notes linger on the front of the palate, but it is still soft enough to hold on the tongue, even at 94 proof. Featuring a big mouth-watering oaky finish, Maker’s 46 still manages to retain the essence of its predecessor – there’s no bitter bite often found in older whiskies. One taste and you’ll be a true believer.