I’m one of those people who consider the standard Maker’s Mark to be a one-trick pony, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s a bad pour. The drinkability and quality are apparent, and I enjoy some from time to time (usually when someone orders it for me without consent), but its personality is a little too relaxed for my tastes.
Despite that, there’s always been a mischievous voice in the back of my head whispering, “those nice people at Maker’s Mark are hiding something…”
Well, they were.
Hello, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, I’m glad you ditched the water and came out of the shadows. How very full circle of you.
A delicious barrel proof Maker’s Mark at 113.2 proof.
A bouquet of beautiful oak aromas leading to thick, caramelized notes begin the introduction. There’s a soft astringency, undoubtedly a minor consequence of proof, but it is so faint it adds more to the experience than it detracts. Some more age would do this justice. Toffee backed up by mild citrus come through in concert. Burnt honey joins in with some dark tropical fruit. Elegant.
The balance of the palate is quirky at first. The alcohol doesn’t seem to find perfect harmony with the entire ensemble, but the key word there is perfect. Wood and cinnamon spice notes are big here, but at the proof the palate is pleasant.
The quality of this whisky is in the finish. It’s long, and as the spice dissipates I’m left with pleasant lingering flavors of oats, molasses, and corn. I’m sure this is almost exactly what I imagine the smell of sweet feed tastes like.
I love that this is bottled as a 375ml because it makes it an accessible purchase. At about $40 it seems a bit pricey, but it’s worth it. It would be a decent value at $70 for a full 750ml, but I’d personally think twice before pulling the trigger at that price judging from my experience with Maker’s Mark in the past.
If you’re already a fan of Maker’s Mark you will enjoy this. It goes great with a little water for those who don’t like to drink at barrel proof, but at 56.6% it doesn’t quite kick your ass either.
If you’re like me and want a reason to really stand behind Maker’s Mark, this it it. I certainly enjoyed it.
Grade: somewhere between B+ and A-
Let’s hope this makes it into the regular product lineup. At the time of this post, this is only available at the distillery gift shop in Loretto, Kentucky, and a few select outlets across the country.