Distiller: Maker’s Mark
Spirit: Wood Finishing Series SE4 x PR5 2020 Limited Release
About The Distillery:
We’re still doing things just like we did them in 1953. From the old letter press, to the way we hand-rotate every barrel and hand-dip every bottle of Maker’s Mark. There’s an old joke at the distillery that goes, “If we could make it any faster, we wouldn’t.” Because at Maker’s Mark, it’s one bottle at a time. Every time. That’s as true today as it was when our founders filled our first bottle. And since then, it’s been a widely held belief around here that character isn’t made by machine.
About The Bottle:
Their second-annual limited release from the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series is an utterly unique bourbon that’s also a worthy tribute to the one-of-a-kind vanilla and caramel taste notes that make signature Maker’s Mark so distinctive. The result of two stave profiles (SE4xPR5) utilized together, this exclusive expression will appear on shelves for a limited time only.
Proof Vs Heat
Notes & Review
Nose: Lovely nose on this pour, very pronounced notes of vanilla and cherry. The ethanol vapors in this are hot on the heels of the initial notes you get from the nose and match the proof of the bourbon. It’s 110 proof and the nose will let you know that loud and clear.
Palate: The palate is bold and crashes over your tongue the second it hits your taste buds. Vibrant notes of cherry and vanilla lead the edge of the wave and it spills into a dusting of caramel candy with some dried spices.
Finish: Unforgivingly cherry, vanilla and peppery spiced dry rub that hangs on like a world class rock climber.
Review: What can we say about Maker’s Mark other than that they have an undeviating, measured and hands-on approach to making their bourbon and it produces a consistently solid product and has for decades. This however is a new path that Maker’s is taking with their bourbon, not something as crazy as tampering with their immutable mash bill, but throwing some specially seasoned and aged staves into their flagship sauce to get some different flavors out of it. The SE4 x PR5 is the second iteration of the Wood Finishing Series and is a blend of two unique stave profiles to make something that dropped straight out of a vanilla/cherry/winter spice wet dream.
Beautiful candied cherry notes on the nose that are quickly shooed away by that initial hit of ethanol that’s commonly found on a higher proof bourbon. But don’t be worried about missing those notes too much on the nose because they’re coming right up on the palate.
The palate isn’t something far off of what you ascertain from the nosing. It hits you hard and it hits you fast.
The finish… Alright, here’s where the subjective portion of enjoying a bourbon and picking out flavors comes into play for me on this bottle. As soon as those traditional bourbon flavors started waning, I got hit with a flavor memory that has been locked away for the better part of a decade. The one thing I can’t seem to get over on the finish is how similar it is to a measuring cup lid full of night time theraflu. It’s permeating and it lingers for a month of Sundays. If you enjoy that powerful, peppered and almost tingling cherry flavor you’ll absolutely adore the finish on this bottle, but if you’re anything like me it might be the one negative takeaway from this otherwise great bourbon.
Aside from that one caveat with the finish, (which is a totally subjective experience for me but definitely the most accurate description I can relate it to) it’s a very good bourbon and exciting to see Maker’s trying something different and experimenting to give us a new take on their classic bourbon. I would absolutely recommend trying this out at your local liquor dispensing establishment if you see it out in the wild.