Maker’s 46 Review

Bill Samuels Jr., president of Maker’s Mark, suddenly realizing that his distillery has only ever produced one product since the fifties, laughed uncontrollably that they managed to get away with it for so long. When finished, he called in his Master Distiller to his vast office and declared that they must make something new for the premium market. “Better late than never,” replied his Master Distiller, who then wept with relief. This story is in no way true, but I like to think it happened that way.

In reality, Samuels simply decided it was time to offer a new option alongside the insanely popular Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Wheated, and aged about 6-7 years, Maker’s already is approaching what must be its peak flavor profile allowed from maturation. Fans, however, were looking for more flavor from a toasted oak perspective, which would be risky: too much oak influence would increase the tannic dryness and render the experiment a failure, which many attempts by Maker’s until that time indeed were. Success came in the form of the work Independent Stave Company lent to the project with the use of seared (not charred or toasted) French oak slats. The searing caramelizes the oak enough to impart unique flavor, which are then inserted and spaced within the oak barrel that held Maker’s Mark previously for 6-7 years. A further aging period of 3-6 months occurs and thus cancels the “straight” nature of Maker’s Mark since no additional flavoring is allowed under that designation. The result is bottled as Maker’s 46, named after the project’s flavor profile, numbered “46.” Let’s see what a bigger, badder, bolder Maker’s can do.

SWC Group Review

Nose- As expected, the oak sugars explode with big, buttery vanilla, caramel/toffee. Riesen chocolates. Coconut and blackberries. Big.

Taste- A bit flat at first. With time, oak char with caramel, confectionary with time.

Finish- Short. Caramel, green apple, classic oaky char.

Comment- Still Maker’s but more fun. Nose is the highlight. Simple flavors on this one, taste needs improvement but recommended as a decent sipper.

SWC Rating- 82/100

Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments section below.

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5 thoughts on “Maker’s 46 Review

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    1. When a retired founding member comments, we are obliged to respond. Mr. Mosback, we liked Maker’s 46 just fine! Scores are the most subjective thing on a review, as you know. And 82 isn’t a bad score, either.

      Let this be a lesson you all. Maker’s Mark fans are very loyal to that brand. Gotta be careful.


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