Maker’s Mark 46

Maker’s Mark 46, 47% abv(94 Proof), $35/bottle

Maker’s Mark 46 is the first true (read: not limited edition) product line of bourbon that Maker’s Mark has produced in over 50 years. Talk about pressure! With a “finishing” process to the tried and true, but somewhat flat, Maker’s Mark original, Kevin Smith (Master Distiller) and Bill Samuels Jr. (CEO) have delivered with a pretty impressive bourbon whiskey. Maker’s 46 opens up far bigger and fuller than its little brother with intense vanilla, caramel, maple syrup, toast, cinnamon, and baked apple. It’s really a masterclass of Bourbon noses with sweetness and high notes of spice. The first sip assures with that smooth, sweet “front of the mouth” flavor of caramel and vanilla that are so familiar with the original Maker’s Mark. “46” takes that a couple notches further with heaps of maple syrup and honey. The major difference between these two family members is almost immediately felt down the top center of your tongue. Intense cinnamon bite akin to fireball candy or big red chewing gum emerges. There’s a hint of wood tannin and bitter grip that asserts itself as the spirit runs it’s way to the back of your throat. In this moment, this bourbon is telling you, “See – I’m very different!”. The finish is long and lingering with cinnamon burn and toasted oak. Maker’s Mark 46 is an outstanding pour that is a recommended “buy” for any bourbon or whiskey lover.

Sour Mash Manifesto Rating: 8.9 (Superb/Outstanding)
***Note: The only thing keeping this bourbon from scoring well into the 9’s is that slightly intense wood tannin that shows late, growing in intensity as you sip. I’d recommend taking your time with this one, thus lessening that impact. I think over time Maker’s Mark will get this fine tuned and I can’t wait to see where it goes. And it’s also possible this bottle I purchased was just a little more tannic than others.***


  1. Roch Jewett says:

    46 was much better when I had it before you did…at a particular bourbon bar…in a particular city (Who Dat). But, you have a very cool blog, and I do not.

  2. Absolutely, you beat me too it. But I trust your Pop’s tastebuds. He knew it was good. And that man knows his whisk(e)y. He taught me almost everything I know.

  3. zerodtkjoe says:

    Thanks for the info

  4. Rick B. says:

    Hello Jason, great blog, I’m glad I found it.

    I recently finished my first bottle of 46. At first blush I was impressed with it, it’s obviously a better bourbon than regular Makers. But, as I made my way through the bottle over 6 or 7 sittings, I became less and less impressed with it. For my tastes these days it’s simply too sweet and I think it really suffers from having little to no rye in the mash bill.

    Keep up the good work.


  5. Josh says:

    This Bourbon is finished in casks fitted out with oak staves, so the oak qualities were added, not derived from actual cask aging. In the wine business this is considered among the lowest forms of cheating. It’s just above adding oak chips or oak extract, which is what most of the large, industrial producers do with the crap that sells for $10 a magnum. Some higher end people do it as well but will never admit to it. It’s cheating, plain and simple. Or, if you’re generous, it’s a cheesy, low-rent shortcut. This is a Bourbon that has been flavored with wood. Its oak nuances are not a by-product (welcome or not) of actual barrel-aging. No different than adding fruit flavorings, honey or whatever. It should be shunned and Maker’s Mark should be ashamed, but at least they say “Barrel Finished With Oak Staves” right on the front of the bottle, so I’ll give them credit for transparency. But, still (no pun intended), this is a joke.

  6. Josh says:

    Sorry, should have started off by saying that you do a great job. You do! Some great info here and you clearly love whiskey. Your descriptions are succinct but not dry and your passion comes through loud and clear. Gotta love that.
    But on the subject of Maker’s 46, I hope that people realize that the wood tannins that they’re getting from this whiskey are a direct result of those staves. I’m in the wine business (actually, I taste and write about it) and raspy tannins that aren’t in harmony with the flavors are usually a dead giveaway for added tannins – staves (they call them “inner staves” in the wine trade), oak chips or oak extract- all the same effect, which is flavoring. It’s very common in Australian red wines and increasingly so in California. Folks who are trying Maker’s 46 and getting over-the-top oak character and exaggerated tannins aren’t imagining things.

  7. Jim D says:

    You do a great job! I enjoy your reviews and learn a little more about bourbon every time I watch. As for the 46, I loved it. Not a big fan of Makers, but I do like this. Another to add to the ever growing list of sipping bourbons. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  8. John H says:

    I noticed that they do not label Maker’s 46 as “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky”, but just “Kentucky Bourbon Whisky”. Other finished bourbons such as Angel’s Share are still labeled as “straight” bourbon, so what’s the deal with this one?

  9. John H says:

    Ooops, I meant Angel’s Envy.

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