Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon
45% ABV/90 Proof
$20-25, Widely Available
What The Distillery Says:
The distillery doesn’t say much about the whiskey (even on the website). At least they lack some sort of pithy statement of purpose. What we can tell you is that this is the most widely available wheated bourbon on the market. That means the folks at Maker’s Mark use wheat instead of rye in the mash. Maker’s also lacks an age statement. The bourbon spends at least six years in barrels, but is not bottled until everyone agrees that it has reached maturity. So what does that mean? Read on.
What Richard Says:
Nose: The Maker’s nose is a very pleasant olfactory experience. It’s a lightly sweet nose with very understated alcoholic notes. At the back of the nose is a damp woody note that reminds me of an old log cabin.
Palate: Lightly sweet, grassy, and mellow. Classic wheated bourbon. As it moves through the mouth the oak jumps forward.
Finish: The higher proof shows as a slow warmth down the esophagus. The oak remains but begins to turn slightly nutty and sweet. Maybe this is what acorns taste like?
Comments: Maker’s is a consistenly enjoyable dram. I’m always more than content to drink this neat. I’m not sure if it fits in the Gateway Series. It’s really more of a transitional bourbon moving away from the standard and toward the premium. This is the same issue I had with the Three Glens when we reviewed them.
Rating: Across the bourbon spectrum it falls mind center. Among the Gateway Series it stands out.
What Matt Says:
Nose: There is that damp cold feeling I’ve mentioned before. It’s almost like a wet tea bag of English breakfast tea left on the counter too long. There are also some citrus, caramel and floral notes. Despite being higher in proof than the rest of the Gateway Series, the nose is not very sharp or alcoholic.
Palate: Oak, wheat berries, English breakfast tea.
Finish: Cherry lollipops with very little burn and a touch of oak.
Comments: I’ve never given Maker’s Mark much thought. I’ve mostly experienced it in really sub-par cocktails. That is not a statement on the whiskey itself, but on the cocktail crafters. Maker’s is the only American whiskey within the Gateway Series that I would consider drinking neat. It is not as bold or complex as some of the harder to find or more expensive brands, but it is quite enjoyable and easy to drink.
Overall Rating: Average