Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon
For the longest time Maker’s Mark only had two facings or expressions under their brand name. They had the Original recipe of Maker’s Mark and their Mint Julep recipe. A few years back, in 2010 they decided it was time to add a new expression and they released Maker’s 46. The difference in taste from Maker’s was quite exceptional. Many, myself include have flocked to the 46.
For 50+ years the only alteration that they’ve made the to the Original Maker’s Mark recipe came last year in 2013. The company decided to cut the alcohol by volume (ABV) by 3%. Now the powers that be told everyone this was due to a shortage in bourbon in the rickhouses. Shortly after the announcement there were nearly riots at local spirit stores demanding the Original Maker’s Mark to be brought back. So within a week or two the distillery put the 3% back into the bottles, and it’s been the same ever since.
Now, this year, there were rumors about Maker’s Mark releasing a new Cask Strength expression. You know how it goes once the rumor mill gets to ticking. Everyone starts debating on whether it’s a marketing ploy, or if the recipe is going to be any different. All of those conspiracy theorists start coming out into the fold of internet commenters and forum trolls. Now that it’s here, we can put all those of debates to rest.
So here are the facts, straight from the fact sheet that I received. This Maker’s Mark Cask Strength ranges from 108-114 proof. So that means you can get anywhere from 54-57% ABV. That’s some pretty potent juice coming out of the bottle. The recipe is the same as the Original Maker’s Mark. This bourbon is just uncut and unfiltered. It still has all of those great flavors that you’ve come to enjoy over the last fifty years from the folks down in Loretto, KY.
Currently, the bottle is only available at the distillery for tasting and purchases. There are also a few select bars and restaurants around Kentucky where it is available. The 375 mL bottle is going at around $40 for retail and there are talks of a 750 mL being on sale soon for around $80.
So let’s peel back the red wax strip and let this bottle breathe a bit, pour a glass and see what it’s all about.
The first thing I pick up on with the initial pass is a strong note of char and oak. There’s no age statement with this Maker’s Mark Cask Strength so it’s hard to determine how long it’s been sitting in that barrel. However, the barrel has done it’s job sufficiently. Once that initial whiff of oak dissipates I noticed a hint of toffee and other dark candy flavored notes.
The palate brings initial sweetness up front. That is the typical taste that I get when I sip the Original Maker’s Mark. So I was expecting to pick up on that as well. I’m also getting notes of burnt sugar and caramel. Towards the back of the palate a baking spice, maybe cinnamon seems to appear followed by vanilla. There is a nice transition to the sides of my tongue with the spice that makes me salivate. That happens more with this Maker’s Mark recipe than any other bourbon that I’ve drank. It’s a very unique quality about the blend that I’ve come to love.
The finish on this Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is very thick and has an incredible mouth coating to it. That’s one of the main differences from the Original Maker’s Mark. I always felt like the Original has a very thin finish. It doesn’t seem to stay on your tongue very long. This Cask Strength however, loves to just sit and hangout for awhile.
Overall, this was a very tasty bourbon. The nose wasn’t overly complex, but the Original isn’t that complex either. The palate was delicious and full of flavors. The finish to me was a great enhancement over the Original recipe. I’m going to give this one a 9/10. I would love to see more complexity come out of the nose. However, I think it’s a great stride for the Maker’s Mark brand to try something new. I can only hope they decide to create a single barrel and release it after 10 years or so. I think that could be very tasty. We’ll see though, they seem to be in very high demand lately. So holding onto the bottles for 10 years might be out of the question.
If you’re a fan of cask strength and unfiltered bourbons then this Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is the perfect bourbon for you.