My recent visit to the United States presented the opportunity to savor a Bourbon or two and in some way I felt this to be a wake-up call reminding me of my year plus diversion into scotch. Although not intentionally, Scotch being more in abundance turned out to be a natural choice and the last time I had a flat glass of Beams was a really long time back.
Contrary to popular beliefs, Bourbons can be made anywhere in America and not only in the state of Kentucky. Also to be called a straight bourbon, it has to be aged for a minimum of 2 years in newly charred oak barrels. Once used, these barrels are then sold off to their Scottish and Irish counterparts; so it essentially wouldn’t be wrong to say that there is a little bit of bourbon in your favorite scotch! And i’m sure on reading this I might have gathered some scorn from those die hard scotch lovers!
Circling back to my recent stint, these were with none other than the Maker’s Mark and the Bulleit. In today’s blog, we’ll look at my tryst with the former, and hopefully this might lead you to grab yourself a dram of this dark colored bullion bourbon!
If you were to walk into a liquor store with a couple dozen bottles placed in front of you, there is little chance you’d miss the Maker’s Mark! Thanks to its maker William Samuels’ wife, Margie, who designed not only the name and the label but also the unique, unmistakable red wax seal over the bottle top. The Mark is matured for around six years and as is the case for all Bourbons, is a mix of 51% corn along with wheat and malted barley. The method by which William came across the final recipe is also rather interesting; he used each recipe he had in hand in making a loaf of bread and that which pleased the most made its way into the Maker’s bottle! Another fun fact is the makers also tried to stray away from the usual by dropping the ‘e’ from ‘whiskey’ which is a stark contrast to most found in the US.
To me there’s a lot of uniqueness and inventiveness that has gone into the bottling which adds to the household, rustic feel; be it the use of hand torn paper mache labels, the square shaped bottle which tapers towards the bottom or the trademarked red wax. All in all it gives the bottle a certain appeal and adds to the ‘must grab a bottle’ charm.
Eye: Amber, dark gold
Nose: Sweet with quite a bit of spice. You get vanilla, caramel and toffee notes along with fruits such as cherries and apples. There’s certainly depth in terms of spice with pepper and loads of cinnamon echoing through.
Taste: This too starts sweet, but is immediately flooded with cinnamon and pepper which overpowers most of the other flavors. Adding a few drops of water mellows the liquor to a more enjoyable level thereby exposing the caramel and burnt oaky tones.
Finish: Pretty straightforward; a short burst of sweetness with long windy spice following through.
The Maker’s Mark is quite a strong Bourbon at 90% proof and can burn a few nasal hairs if whiffed by the novice. To some this underlying spice might be a put off while to others it might be a real charm. I certainly enjoyed this spirit and will definitely grab a dram the next time I get the chance!
Although I wasn’t able to get a picture while tasting the dram (my apologies), I did buy a few miniatures as my wife fancies collecting them. This way I got to please both my palate and my partner! Touche!!
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Ah the good old Makers Mark. Reliable yet doesn’t quite stand out enough for me in the way a Russell’s Reserve or a Knob Creek does. I’m a sucker for the bottle’s design though, and would love to visit the distillery one day!
Keep on waffling,
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