Maker's Mark, long famous for their flagship marque, recently introduced Maker's Mark 46, the first new product in over 50 years from this distillery. Charred French oak staves are inserted inside the barrel and an additional 2 to 3 months of aging have created a bourbon that is both true to the classic Maker's Mark heritage and yet a world-class whiskey on its own merits. The first shipment of Maker's Mark 46 arrived in stores July 1 and it is expected to sell out quickly. Luckily, more 46 will be released this fall so if you miss it this time, keep an eye out. This is a must have whiskey for your liquor collection.
On the nose, the classic Maker's Mark sweetness peaks through a veil of spice. Cinnamon, clove, and allspice appear before making way for the classic Maker's signature vanilla and caramel notes to arrive. There is more wood on the nose than red wax Maker's, but it is in balanced and very pleasing. This is one of the most remarkably pleasant bouquet that I've had the pleasure to nose in some time. Perhaps a secondary market could be created by selling a Maker's 46 men's fragrance?
Body and Palate
Again, like red wax Maker's, Maker's 46 has just enough mouthfeel to coat the mouth, but isn't to thick or oily to be unctuous. Wonderful spice notes hit the palate first, before creme brulee and fresh warm caramels make an appearance. There is a pleasing toasted oak note to this bourbon, but what is particularly interesting is that it comes early on the palate, leaving room for the finish without creating unpleasant smoky flavors before the end. This is a very well crafted whiskey, one that will do double duty as both a whiskey to be enjoyed on its own as well as turned into cocktails. I'm particularly impressed by just how good Maker's Mark 46 is in a Manhattan cocktail. It should be the first choice of any bartender worth their salt in making a Manhattan as it has the perfect balance of sweet and spice.
On the finish, Maker's 46 presents a longer finish than its cousin, red wax Maker's. Big vanilla notes dominate, with lip-tingling spice, caramel and orange marmalade notes appearing before a quick hint of milk chocolate appears to provide the dessert course to the finish. Warm and lingering, this is a very pleasing finish to an world class whiskey.