Beam Suntory | Barrel Proof | Finished | Maker's Mark | Review | Small Batch | Wheated

Every Maker’s Mark Bourbon Reviewed [Complete Guide]

Nov 19, 2020

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Maker’s Mark bourbon has a long history within the bourbon industry. Before Bill Samuels created this iconic brand his father was distilling his own whiskey (although reported not very good).

The Maker’s Mark’s legend began when T. William Samuels Sr., bought the Burks’ Distillery in Loretto, KY (see a picture of original distillery below). This property would soon become known as Star Hill Farms. At the time, the property was purchased for $35,000 on October 1, 1953. The Samuels started production in 1954, and the first bottles were packaged in 1958 with Maker’s dipped crimson wax seal (U.S. trademark serial quantity 73526578).
Burk Distillery (now Maker's Mark)

Pappy Van Winkle helped Bill Samuels Sr develop Maker’s signature wheated mashbill. At that time the mashbill was being developed, Bill Samuels Sr. didn’t have time to distill and age each mashbill so he baked bread with each mashbill and choose the mashbill that tasted the best baked. Now that’s one of a kind.

Margie Samuels, bourbon hall of fame inductee) designed the bottle, label, and wax. She wanted Maker’s to stand out among bottom shelf bourbons, and the iconic bottle with red wax has stood the test of time. In fact, Maker’s Mark has won several lawsuits prohibiting other brands from dipping their bottles in red wax.

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Maker’s Mark Small Batch Bourbon Review

Maker’s Mark Small Batch Bourbon

Maker's Mark Bourbon
Maker's Mark BourbonDetails
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
In the Bottle90 Proof
ABV45%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL and Up
Suggested MSRP$27.99 to $53.99
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
DistilleryMaker's Distillery at Star Hill Farm
3350 Burks Spring Rd.
Loretto, KY 40037
ProsSmooth and Drinkable
ConsShort Finish
RatingSilver 85 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker

Maker’s Mark bourbon is aged in a char level 3 barrel and aged for 6 to 7 years old. It has good legs. The color is a light copper.

Nose – 87 out of 100 Points

It’s a delicate and sweet nose with vanilla and caramel dancing ballet. Fresh baked olive oil cake with vanilla drizzle.

Taste – 86 out of 100 Points

It’s sweet and creamy on the front with crisp vanilla notes. Charred marshmallow. Subtle hints of oak, cinnamon, and white pepper.

Finish – 83 out of 100 Points

The finish is unassuming but pleasant. All the flavors from the palate follow through the finish with just a bit more oak and white pepper.

I’ve heard Fred Minnick say whiskeys win competitions with a long finish. That’s not Makers. It was never Makers, and I appreciate the authenticity of a smooth drinking bourbon from start to finish.

Verdict – Silver 85 out of 100 Points

The Bard Silver 300px

I’d be happy drinking this daily through the hot South Carolina summer on my back porch watching my kids play.

It’s a classic bourbon. A right of passage. In the conservations, I’ve had Maker’s often is the gateway bourbon for people enjoying the flavor of bourbon neat.

Back to Minnick, he’s reported some well-aged Maker’s barrels. The rumor is some 12-year-old Maker’s Mark has been tasted and has not disappointed. Sometimes I dream of a Maker’s Limited Edition that’s 15 years or higher. We can dream. Can’t we?

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Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon Review

Maker's Mark Cask Strength Bourbon
Maker's Mark Cask Strength

Cask StrengthDetails
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
In the BottleVaries by Release
20-02 - 110.4
ABVVaries by Release
20-02 - 55.2%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL and Up
Suggested MSRP$44.99
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
ProsMy Fav out of the MM Regular Releases
Consistent, Flavorful, and a Great Value
ConsNose Lacks a Smidge of Complexity
RatingSilver 90.8 out of 100 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker

The Maker’s Cask Strength reviewed was the 20-02 batch coming in at 110.4 proof (55.2% ABV). The color is deep amber.

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

The first pop I get is caramel apple with warming baking spice. It’s delightful but not complex.

Taste – 93 out of 100 Points

I’m digging the palate. The front of the palate is bright apples and cherries the side of the palate is cinnamon and nutmeg. The mid-palate is brown sugar and subtle leather.

Finish – 93 out of 100 Points

Cask Strength is a medium finish that lingers right at the back of the palate. I get a nice rounded fresh fruit, , and charred oak.

Complexity – 91 out of 100 Points

The palate and finish offered good complexity with just the right amount of sweetness, baking spice, and heat.

Value – 94 out of 100 Points

The value for Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is phenomenal. It’s always on the shelf, south of $50, and jam-packed with flavor. Those three are a recipe for a solid pour on any night.

Verdict – Silver 92.4 out of 100 Points

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Batches

Maker's Mark Cask Strength
Maker's Mark Cask Strength BatchMaker's Mark Cask Strength Proof
14-01113.2
15-01111.3
15-02111.6
15-03111.4
15-04110.4
15-05110.3
16-01112.2
16-02111.5
16-03111.6
17-01110.9
17-02110.7
18-01111.5
18-0211.6
19-01108.8
19-02109.6
20-01110.1
20-02110.4
21-01Coming Soon
21-02Coming Soon

Maker’s Mark 46 Bourbon Review

Maker's Mark 46

Maker's 46 Bourbon
Maker's 46 BourbonDetails
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
Finishing Staves10 Heavily Toasted French Oak
Extra Aging9 Weeks
In the Bottle94 Proof
ABV47%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size375 mL and 750 mL
Suggested MSRP$21.99 to $36.99
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
ProsSmooth and Spicy
ConsFinish Could Be Longer
RatingSilver 91.2 out of 100 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker

Nose – 91 out of 100 Points

On the nose, I get chocolate Bundt cake and spicy peppers along with brown sugar charred oak and caramel. It’s got nice complexity and boldness.

Taste – 90 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate is creamy with hints of smoky oak and vanilla. That’s followed with a good punch of charred cinnamon sticks and spice. I like this more than I remember.

Finish – 92 out of 100 Points

46 offers a short to medium finish with a good bit of spice and charred cinnamon.

Complexity – 91 out of 100 Points

46 offers a good bit of complexity and adds layers of flavors to the standard Maker’s flavor profile. You get subtle sweet overtones with nice balanced oak and smoky, charred baking spices.

Value – 92 out of 100 Points

Maker’s 46 is a great value and worth buying for the added complexity, richness, and full body. If you’re a Maker’s fan I have no doubt you’ll enjoy 46.

Verdict – Silver 91.2 out of 100 Points

Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength Bourbon Review

Maker's Mark Cask Strength
Cask StrengthDetails
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
In the BottleVaries by Release
20-02 - 110.4
ABVVaries by Release
20-02 - 55.2%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL and Up
Suggested MSRP$44.99
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
ProsMy Fav out of the MM Regular Releases
Consistent, Flavorful, and a Great Value
ConsNose Lacks a Smidge of Complexity
RatingSilver 90.8 out of 100 Points
InventoryDaily Drinker

Nose – 87 out of 100 Points

Maker’s 46 Cask Strength offers spicy maple syrup. We’ve got a great southern breakfast joint that does a fried chicken biscuit with a Buffalo maple syrup. That’s what immediately popped into my mind when I smelled it. I’m also getting some ethanol, but it disappears quickly. The last scent a pick up is rounded baking spice.

Taste – 91 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate is surprisingly refreshing with light caramel and vanilla but the drumline rolls in with the baking spice, charred oak, and Szechuan pepper.

Finish – 92 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium with a nice creamy caramel, just a hint of vanilla, black pepper, and charred oak.

Complexity – 93 out of 100 Points

The complexity is much approved from the regular 46 release.

Value – 91 out of 100 Points

The whiskey is the color of red dirt. Can’t believe how ruddy it is. The glass coverage is great with long legs. At $60, it’s right in the average range for a cask strength whiskey.

Verdict – Silver 90.8 out of 100 Points

Maker’s Mark 101 Bourbon Review

Maker's Mark 101 Bourbon
Maker's 101Details
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
In the Bottle101 Proof
ABV50.5%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size1 Liter
Suggested MSRP$49.99
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
ProsPunchy Palate
ConsNose Lacked Complexity
Just Something Missing
RatingSilver 89 out of 100 Points
InventorySpecial Occasion for Maker's Fans

Nose – 86 out of 100 Points

The nose is understated and sweet. Just subtle white fresh fruit and light caramel. Background I pick up just the slightest hint of cinnamon.

Taste – 92 out of 100 Points

The proof comes through on the palate adding a nice punch. I was not expecting that after the nose was so subtle. The front of the palate is cinnamon, vanilla, and walnuts. The back of the palate is oak, white pepper, and subtle burnt caramel.

Finish – 90 out of 100 Points

The finish is short to medium. Most of what lingers is on the mid-palate. The oak, white pepper, and burnt caramel from the back of the palate transitions to finish but is gone.

Complexity – 88 out of 100 Points

The nose lacks complexity but the palate improves on that front. It still drinks like there’s something missing.

Value – 89 out of 100 Points

Maker’s 101 is $50 for 1 liter. At that price point, if you’re a Maker’s fan this a no-brainer. On the flip side, it’s not a knock your socks off kind of limited release.

Verdict – Silver 89 out of 100 Points

Start shopping for bourbon clothing and accessories for your journey. The Bard’s Shop has custom tees and hoodies, books, barrels, and more.

Why Trust The Bourbon Bard?

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: The Bourbon Bard, PO Box 1501, Taylors, SC 29687, https://www.thebourbonbard.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the unsubscribe link at the bottom of every email. Emails are sent by MailChimp.

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