I remember the day I lost all of my whiskey connoisseur credibility. It was the day that Maker’s Mark reversed their decision to lower the ABV on their flagship Kentucky straight bourbon. This about face came as a result of severe push back from Maker’s Mark passionate consumer base. The mere thought of the red wax covered bottle containing bourbon lowered to 84 proof instead of the normal 90 proof seemed to me a perfectly acceptable consequence of the golden age of whiskey consumption we find our selves in. The demand was too much and the supply could not meet it. A sizable group complained bitterly, and I didn’t think anything of it. I read the news, shrugged my shoulders, sipped from my hip flask of Cutty Sark and went on with my day. The outrage simply never occurred to me. Looking back, that was the day I became a complete whiskey fraud. I was, apparently, not down with the struggle of consumers vs. the evil whiskey barons. Who knew.
In my own small mind, I would like to think that Maker’s Mark Cask Strength was a bit of a wink to the Maker’s Mob. If you love that longstanding brand, standing tall and steady in the swirling seas of the liquor store shelf, how could you not welcome with a long, boozy embrace a cask strength version to cap off your long work week? I know I would. And we tried it so we could see what the fuss was all about. Our bottle clocks in at 56.6% ABV in a modest 375ml glass enclosure. The mash bill slash line is the familiar 70% Corn/16% Wheat/14% Malted Barley. And yes, the wax remains. On to it…
Nose- A grassy plain with some light spice, lavender. Werthers with vanilla beans everywhere. Big oak. Prune. Waffles. Butterscotch.
Taste– Thick. Floral and some fruit. Sweet toffee, caramel. Mint.
Finish- Caramel corn. Toffee, dark fruit. Wood char. Long and pleasant.
Comment– Well then. Finely balanced and a good sipper. Quite enjoyable with a great mouthfeel and taste. Perhaps the fans will forgive them for their crime.
Rating – 85/100
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment below and then go take a flying finenza, Jack.