Bourbon is a different beast entirely. For those that read my jottings and ramblings, you will no doubt notice that bourbon is far from my mainstay. I appreciate it. I drink it. I occasionally even crave it (is that the sign of a problem?). Nine times out of ten however, I’m probably going to reach for that scotch bottle instead.
Perhaps this is driven by an appreciation for what age can do to whisky (what with most bourbon being younger than most scotch), or perhaps it is simply a bias to pure grains over corn and rye in my glass. Who knows.
Irrespective…it is hard for one, no matter personal bias, to not respect what Maker’s have crafted.
On to the drink at hand: Maker’s Mark. Standard red seal. Age: Anywhere from 6 to 7 ½ years. This age variation will depend upon how climate has stunted or accelerated growth in the warm Southern state of Kentucky. Casks are rotated in the warehouses, periodically checked and bottled according to ‘ripeness’. We, the lucky shopper shelling out our dollars, are then presented with a bourbon in all its youthful charming glory. Bold and fruity. Sweet and spicy.
The nose is dominated by honeyed fruit, corn and oak. Rich cherry spice and creamy dessert notes are carried with a hint of toffee and vanilla. Mild cacao and wax (think Cherry lip balm) as well. Just a hint, fleeting, of something sharp and green.
The palate is defined by lively oak carrying vanilla and spices. A hint of mint and honeyed grains and cherry round it out, while the finish is corn/grain and oaked cherry.
Maker’s is charming as hell. A Southern Belle that is at once unique and comfortably rooted in the tradition of bourbon. Love the big fruit. Love the integration of spice and wood and how the vanilla tempers everything so beautifully. Deserves a spot in any whisky cabinet, methinks.
– Reviewed by: Curt
– Photo: Pat at www.standstillphotography.ca