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Every Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series Reviewed [2021]

Last updated Mar 7, 2021 | Published on Jan 12, 2021

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by Matty Sims

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series is a result of the success of Maker’s Mark 46 — a bourbon finished with French oak staves. Maker’s went decades without any line expansions until Maker’s 46 took off. The beauty of stave finishing is it allows Maker’s to continue making the classic bourbon we all love while adding additional layers of flavor with a variety of staves. Below you will find information on each release and see first hand how these staves affect the classic Maker’s Mark flavor profile.

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Maker’s Mark FAE-01 Wood Finishing (2021 Spring) Review

Maker's Mark FAE-01 Wood Finishing (2021 Spring)

Maker’s Mark FAE-01 Wood Finishing (2021 Spring)
FAE-01 Wood Finishing (2021 Spring)Details
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
Finishing Staves10 Virgin Toasted American Staves
In the Bottle100.6 Proof
ABV55.3%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$60.00
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
DistilleryMaker's Distillery at Star Hill Farm
3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037
ProsLove the Tobacco Notes
ConsNo Major Flaws
RatingGold 95.3 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy It, Stock It

Nose – 95 out of 100 Points

The aroma is unlike anything I’ve tasted from Maker’s Mark. Listen Maker’s is delicious but I’m loving the new aromas. The primary notes on the nose are tobacco and charred oak with stewed down cherries (not sugary though). It’s got kind of a dusty vibe. I’ll admit the score could be a flavor preference thing. One of my fav combos is fruit and tobacco.

Taste – 96 out of 100 Points

The mouthfeel is phenomenal. The cherries turn sweet and tart on the palate with tobacco and leather underpinnings. Some wonderful oak notes with lingering white pepper.

Finish – 95 out of 100 Points

One of the best finishes for a Maker’s bourbon. It sticks to your throat with more sweet and tart cherries, charred oak, mild tobacco and leather, and a nice peppery note.

Verdict – Gold 95.3 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Gold Medal

The complexity, flavor, and balance are off the charts. I’m truly blown away. It’s early in 2021 but Maker’s 2021 Wood Finishing Series is a contender for my whiskey of the year.

Maker’s Mark FAE-02 Wood Finishing (2021 Fall) Review

Makers Mark FAE-02 – Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series

Maker’s Mark FAE-02 Wood Finishing (2021 Fall)
FAE-02 Wood Finishing (2021 Fall)Details
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
Finishing Staves10 Virgin Toasted American Staves
Stave Bourbon BlendComing Soon
In the Bottle102.5 Proof
ABV51.25%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$60.00
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
DistilleryMaker's Distillery at Star Hill Farm
3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037
ProsComing Soon
ConsComing Soon
RatingComing Soon
InventoryComing Soon

Full Review Upon Release

Maker’s Mark SE4 x PR5 Wood Finishing (2020) Review

Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series

Maker’s Mark SE4 x PR5 (2020)
Maker’s Mark SE4 x PR5 (2020)Details
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
Finishing StavesVirgin toasted American oak (PR5) and virgin French oak (SE4) staves seasoned outside for one year
Stave Bourbon BlendSE4 stave aged for six weeks (13%), SE4 stave aged for five weeks (32%), and PR5 stave aged for four weeks (55%)
In the Bottle110.8 Proof
ABV55.4%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$60.00
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
DistilleryMaker's Distillery at Star Hill Farm
3350 Burks Spring Rd, Loretto, KY 40037
ProsGreat Nose
ConsLacked Refinement
RatingSilver 89.3 out of 100 Points
InventoryIt's a Pass for Me

SE4 x PR5 has maximum glass coverage with long ribbons of oily bourbon.

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

Caramel, toffee, and baking spice with some charred oak and confectionery. This wood finishing limited release reminds me of eating dessert on a cool fall weekend. The more I smell this the more I get like a raspberry scone with a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Taste – 88 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate is creamy with subtle caramel and cinnamon maple. Maybe a hint of coffee cake with more cinnamon swirl.

It’s got a surprising amount of heat for a wheated bourbon. I get toasted cinnamon and black pepper through the side of the palate. That spicy note comes from the French Oak I’m guessing.

Finish – 87 out of 100 Points

SE4 x PR5 is a medium finish with more roasted baking spice and red peppercorn.

Verdict – Silver 89.3 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

I enjoyed the 2019 Wood Finishing series more than 2020’s. For my palate, the spice came across as less refined. This bourbon was a diamond in the rough.

Maker’s Mark RC6 Wood Finishing (2019) Review

Maker's Mark RC6 (2019)
Maker's Mark RC6 (2019)Details
Mashbill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, and 14% barley
Finishing StavesAmerican Oak seasoned outside for 18 months then toasted in a convection oven
In the Bottle108.2 Proof
ABV54.1%
AgeNAS (up to 6 years)
Size750 mL
Suggested MSRP$60.00
Parent CompanyBeam Suntory
ProsAroma and Taste Are Winners
Value is Off the Charts
ConsFinish Lacks Same Flavor Punch
RatingSilver 92.3 out of 100 Points
InventoryBuy, Drink, & Repeat

Maker’s RC6 has been my favorite of this series so far.

Nose – 93 out of 100 Points

It’s thin in the glass with a light honey color. On the nose, I pick up butterscotch and charred oak and some light cinnamon and vanilla.

Taste – 93 out of 100 Points

The front of the palate is all vanilla, caramel, and cinnamon. There’s also a nice Szechuan peppercorn that tingles the tip of the tongue. The back of the palate offers sugary charred oak or maybe like a Graham cracker with charred marshmallow.

Finish – 91 out of 100 Points

The finish is medium with more oaky and cinnamon notes and maybe just a hint of that sweetness from the nose and palate.

Verdict – Silver 92.3 out of 100 Points

The Bourbon Bard Silver Medal

The palate is complex and delicious but that doesn’t carry over to the finish. The value is off the charts. Maker’s Wood Finishing series retail for $50 — plus you can easily find them on the shelf. They’re a buy and enjoy every year.

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.
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