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The 2023 release and the conclusion of the Maker's Mark wood finishing series, this is BEP - a bottling that leverages a barrel entry proof of 110. After several years of various wood finishes, this is an interesting release in the series in the sense that there is *no* finish. Let's see how it is!
Sweet and simple on the nose, there's quite a bit of graham cracker, vanilla bean, butterscotch and a light touch of fruit.
Pleasant on the palate, it's sweet and cream-forward with caramel, butterscotch and a hint of crème brûlée on the back palate. It's fairly straightforward, solid and sweet with just the right amount of oak to balance.
Moderate finish, showing a bit more oak and sticking with the dessert-first theme.
Overall, this feels less like a member, especially the final one, of the Wood Finishing Series and more like the perfect competitor to Eagle Rare 10 Year and Russell's Reserve 10 year. It's weird, I didn't expect to think of these two pours while sipping this one, but it just jumps out as a perfectly oaky, sweet and straightforward pour. This retails for about double those, so confusing waters indeed, but what is clear is that this is a solid whiskey, even if it feels like a red herring in the WFS.
Disclosure: The producer provided this sample to review free of charge, and without expectation of review or rating.