Maker's Mark, one of the larger producers of bourbon in Kentucky, produces wheated bourbon that is sold both domestically and abroad. Until recent years, Maker's only produced a small handful of products. In the last couple of years, though, products like Maker's Mark 46 and Maker's Mark Cask Strength have seen domestic releases. A major criticism of the brand, though, was the absence of a barrel selection program in favor of wax dipped limited editions. That has now changed. A barrel selection at Maker's Mark is unique, though, in that you choose a combination of staves to mature in a barrel, and that barrel is bottled. This is different from almost any other barrel selection process on the market. For better or for worse, this creates a very different product than their core line of expressions. I've set out to try approximately a dozen of these various private selections, completely blind, to gather my thoughts on how their releases are shaking out.
Gingerbread, marshmallow, honey, caramel and some clove. Light funkiness, like moist pipe tobacco. No real ethanol.
Sweet, rich honey. Some caramel, light cherry. Waffle cone sweetness, light pepper. Some clove. Peasant fruitiness. Good mouth feel - medium with some mild heat.
Medium length, sweet peanut brittle and cherry cola. Light sawdust, confectioners sugar and vanilla.
I can see why they choose this stave combo as a popular release. It makes for a great, on profile, release that covers a wide swath of ground in terms of flavors that are very reminiscent of classic bourbons. Still really enjoyably, and if not for the price, I bet these would just be flying off shelves. I'm impressed by the quality demonstrated here.