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.***