Bourbon Review

Bourbon Review: Maker’s Mark No. 46

From the bottle, “A few years back Bill Samuels Jr. became obsessed with creating a new version of Maker’s Mark with amplified notes of vanilla, caramel and spice while offering a longer finish without the bitterness his Dad was so opposed to. After a lengthy process of trial and error, Bill landed on the idea of finishing the fully-matured Maker’s Mark in the barrel for a little bit longer with specially chosen French Oak staves. If Bill has a legacy, I guess this is it. We hope you enjoy it as much as Bill does.”

Bourbon Review: Maker’s Mark No. 46
Age: NAS (About 6 years)
Mash Bill: 
70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley
Maker’s Mark Distillery
Loretto, KY (USA)

The Nose: The initial aroma is warm and velvety with hints of caramel, vanilla, toasted almonds and oak. Secondary pulls from the glass sees notes of split top bread, butter pecan and the slightest hint of cinnamon.

The Taste: The front end of the initial sip is loaded with spice before giving way to a quick hit of anise. As the bourbon finishes some caramel and vanilla begin to emerge. Secondary sips sees the sweet finish mute the spice on the front end with a developing cinnamon, and wheat which all lead to a continued long sweet finish of caramel and vanilla.

The Pairing: Due to the high spice on the front of the cigar I opted to pair it with a cigar that has a similar start; Don Pepin Garcia Blue Label. Originally made in Doral, Florida the cigar came out in 2003 and featured an Ecuador grown wrapper. Some years later the wrapper changed to Nicaraguan Corojo Oscuro and the company slapped on a secondary stating original, which is obviously not the case. Despite not smoking it at least 5 years I decided to grab one for this review.

Pairing the two sees the bourbon lose a lot of the wheat and spice components on the front end while enhancing the French oak and vanilla aspects of the bourbon. However, the finish becomes long and hot and loaded with spice. Unfortunately this is not for the better. As always our pairing never affects our final score but if it did it would be a huge negative eight.

Conclusion: While I am not usually a fan of bourbon or rye finished in other barrels or with staves the Maker’s Mark No. 46 fires on all cylinders.  When it comes to regular Maker’s Mark I find it old and dated which perhaps is to be expected from the brand that started in 1956. That bourbon to me is best suited as a mixer, whereas the No. 46 is a perfect stand alone bourbon to enjoy after dinner. Simply put this is something that deserves to be front and center on your home bar. The cigar smoker in me is now on the search for a better pairing and I think I will make a 180° and try it with a Davidoff Signature next go around.

Score: 94
Price: $39.99 (750 ml in New Hampshire)

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