Bourbon Review

Bourbon Review: Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series Limited Release 2023

BEP stands for Barrel Entry Proof. It is the proof (alcohol by volume) at which Maker’s Mark bourbon is put into the barrel for aging. Maker’s Mark uses a unique barrel entry proof of 110 (55% ABV), which is higher than the standard 100 proof used by most other bourbon makers. This higher proof helps to extract more flavor from the wood, resulting in a smoother and more complex bourbon.

The BEP is an important part of the Maker’s Mark flavor profile. It is what gives the bourbon its signature sweetness and a sweetness in their notes. The higher proof also helps to create a longer finish, which is one of the things that makes Maker’s Mark so distinctive.

In 2023, Maker’s Mark released a limited-edition bourbon called BEP, which stands for Barrel Entry Proof. This bourbon was crafted to amplify the balanced wood sugars, softer tannins, and lasting finish achieved with Maker’s Mark’s unique 110 BEP. It was finished with 10 toasted American oak staves to add even more flavor and complexity.

According to the bottle this seventh expression of the Wood Finishing Series is the closing chapter of the series. The bottle further hints that there is a just-as-exciting chapter to follow.

Bourbon Review: Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series Limited Release 2023
ABV: 54.8% (109.6 Proof)
Age: Not Disclosed
Mash Bill: 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley
Distillery: Maker’s Mark Distillery
Star Hill Farm, Loretto, KY (USA)

The Nose: Subtle notes of vanilla and caramel rise from the glass with a subtle oak. Secondary pulls from the glass add some brown sugar to the mix along with hints of graham. There is a slight arid sensation to the aroma as well with a touch of corn.

The Taste: I cheated on this having my first taste at a local cigar bar with the bartender and we were both in agreement that the heat caught us off guard. Yes, it is 109.6 proof but it comes off as more. For me, this isn’t a bad thing. A secondary sip is where the bourbon begins to shine with notes of dry oak, vanilla, caramel and a touch of melted butter in a skillet. The melted butter shines on subsequent sip and is the focal point of this extremely enjoyable bourbon. The finish is elongated with cinnamon that lingers into the next sip.

Conclusion: When I first got into bourbon I avoided Maker’s Mark like the plague. For me it was my Grandfather’s bourbon. However over the years, I’ve put that prejudice aside and my opinion changed with the Maker’s Mark 46. Drinking the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series I wished I had experienced the other 6 releases. It’s a beautifully rounded expression with a lot of depth and character.

Score: 95
Price: $69.99 (750ml)

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