Review: Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

You know that rule about how whiskey from a country with an ‘E’ (America, Ireland) are spelled with the ‘E’ and in countries without the ‘E’ (Scotland, Canada) the ‘E’ is omitted? Well, Maker’s Mark didn’t get the memo.

We’ll have to ignore that annoying little lingual tidbit because Maker’s Mark is one of the best-selling bourbon brands, always in the top 5. Part of that is due to spectacular marketing – Marge Samuel’s initial brilliance in dipping the bottles in red wax has been continued with some of the most iconic advertising ever conceived. (In 2014, Marge Samuels was posthumously inducted into the Bourbon Hall of Fame for the red wax, among other achievements.) The other part is due to having a very solid product.

Notably, Maker’s Mark is the best-selling wheated bourbon, kind of making it stand in a category by itself.

Production: 70% corn, 16% wheat, 14% malted barley 14%; batching of barrels “around 6 years old”; distilled, matured and bottled by Maker’s Mark in Loretto, Kentucky (owned by Suntory); bottled at 90 proof.

Color: Golden, light amber.

Nose: Lightly alcoholic, faint caramel and fruits including orange and peach.

Palate: Warm but not hot, heavy with toasted grains especially wheat and corn, nutty especially pecan and walnut, slight stone fruit, caramel.

Finish: Medium to short with oak, vanilla and caramel but none in particular intensity.

Verdict: Easy, easy drinking bourbon (which probably contributes to its popularity). I find MM to be a great introductory bourbon, and one to return to occasionally on a hot summer’s day. But for everyday drinking I prefer something with a little more complexity and intensity. It’s one of my go-tos for an Old Fashioned, though.

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