Maker's Mark Cask Strength
Maker's Mark Cask Strength is produced at the Maker's Mark Distillery located in Loretto, Kentucky. Beam Suntory is the current owner, however it went through multiple ownership changes between 1981 and 2014. Makers Mark was started by Bill Samuels Sr. in 1954 after acquiring the Burk distillery in 1953. The distillery has seen 3 generations of Samuels involved in the production and operation of the distillery.
MMCS saw its first release at the distillery on October 2014 and only in 375ml bottles. The nationwide release followed later in the year and saw both 375ml and 750ml bottles hitting the shelves. This release method seems to have been successful because an even newer expression, Makers 46 Cask Strength, is following in suit.
For a cask strength bourbon MMCS certainly has lower proof than most. The reason behind this is the low entry proof that MM uses - even lower than Wild Turkey. What does that mean? Entry proof refers to the proof of the whiskey before it enters the barrel for aging. Makers Mark fills their barrels with distillate that clocks in at 110. The lower the entry proof of the unaged distillate, the less water that has to be added to dilute the bourbon prior to bottling supposedly resulting in more flavor. According to the distillery website MMCS is uncut however makes no mention of filtering. Its also worth mentioning that these releases are not single barrels but rather "small batches." Remember small batch has no legal definition and could literally mean any number of barrels.
Paid: Nothing as this was a gift from a friend (Thanks, DC). However, a typical price for the 375ml is around $35-$40. These are also available in the 750ml format for around $60.
Age: NAS but believed to be around 6 years.
Mashbill: 70% Corn / 16% Soft Red Winter Wheat / 14% Barley
Pour: 2 oz neat in a Scottish Glencairn.
Nose: Upfront is creamy vanilla yogurt and caramel. There is an unmistakeable fruit presence in the form of candied cherries and muddled cranberries. The red fruit leads to apples stewed with cinnamon and brown sugar.
Palate: Caramel followed with even more cherries, specifically maraschino and black. More baking spices but most notably cinnamon. Can't stop thinking about cherry confections.
Finish: Spicy with a long, warm finish. Brown sugar and black pepper lead to a dry, slightly astringent finish. Not nearly as sweet at the end as the regular 90 proof Maker's Mark.
Makers Mark Cask Strength is a higher proof wheater that finds a nice balance between red fruit, caramel, baking spices and a dry finish. MM has always reminded me of cherries but this expression really cranks it up to 11. I also like the slightly drier finish than I remember from the standard 90 proof MM. Kind of like a warm, cherry pie with lots of spice and a dry, dense crust.
The only gripe I have regarding MMCS is the cost. More than twice as expensive as a 750ml of Old Weller Antique, 107 proof. OWA is high proof wheater that is produced by the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Earlier in 2015 when MMCS was less available this might have been a better argument. However, at the time of writing this blog article MMCS can actually be found on the shelves while OWA107 is unavailable most of the year.
In fact this just might be the perfect bourbon to enjoy after a massive, home-cooked thanksgiving dinner. Most folks would probably associate pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and pecans with turkey day as far as deserts are concerned. Good luck explaining that to my addled brain. Maybe it's that cranberry note in the aroma throwing me off. But there is something about the combination of cherries, cinnamon and caramel that just get my autumn juices flowing.
Recommended: Old Weller Antique 107, Stagg Jr, Wild Turkey Rare Breed
- Mark @ Entry Proof