Hot wood action from Makers Mark

Good news and bad news!

Good news is that Kevin Smith and Bill Samuels, with their vast knowledge and Bourbon experience, have created a new expression of Makers Mark.

Ambassadors and Makers enthusiasts out there will know that a huge amount of effort goes into giving Makers that ‘oh so special’ softness, although unfortunately, often criticised for being boring and not ‘spicy’ enough.  Well this new expression sounds like it might be addressing those naysayers.

It being one of the few wheated Bourbons widely available and at an affordable price point, makes it a favourite of mine! (Don’t get me wrong, i love the Van Winkles but my bank manager doesn’t like that i like them.) I’ve had the good fortune to spend some time with Jane Conner, UK Ambassador, learning about the product and it’s heritage, production etc (and judge some fine cocktails made with the brand to boot!) and the Makers Mark team are very proud of their work!

Along every step of the journey of Makers Mark, from field to bottle, great care and attention is paid to ensure the Bourbon doesn’t become bitter. The grain is milled carefully, taking care not to scorch the mash. When put into barrels, the wood charring is carefully carried out to ensure that the tannins in wood don’t flood the Bourbon with the familiar flavour of burnt toast! These points of quality control is what makes Makers stand out from the crowd.

In this new expression, we are told by Kevin Smith (please watch the video posted below) that the aim was not to create an older Makers or merely a stronger Makers. Instead, they wanted, quite rightfully as distillers who love their craft, to create a product which took the Makers base and then show off different qualities in the product through carefully considering how to finish the product differently.

New Maker’s Mark Bourbon from Bourbon Blog on Vimeo.

Brilliantly, they have taken a technique frowned upon in the wine industry and applied it to their Bourbon to give it a different quality. Working with a ‘wood chef’ (?) they decided to add staves of oak, very carefully seasoned and treated so as to minimise tannins and maximise flavour, to the Bourbon. the result, by all accounts, is a headier, bolder version of makers with an extra 2 per cent on the proof strong with heavier notes of caramel, vanilla and a little spice, whilst balancing on the soft, wheat heavy mash bill.

For Bourbon beginners, i’ll come back and do a run down on history, production and some tasting in the near future, in the meantime, there’s the internet, so put down that bottle of Jack and go find something interesting!

Oh yeah, and the bad news is that this is on very limited production and will only be available in the US.  If anyone goes this summer, bring me a bottle back and rewards will be great and booze related.


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