Maker’s Mark, Cask Strength

Maker's Mark, Cask Strength
I reviewed the regular Maker’s Mark a while ago and didn’t particularly care for it. In the wake of that review, a number of people noted that the new’ish cask strength Maker’s Mark was far superior; and Eric Burke, of the excellent Bourbon Guy blog, offered me a sample from his bottle. I’m always willing to drink free whisky and a bonus, of course, is that if I liked it the batch it came from would be locally available—Eric is a fellow resident of the satellite regions of the Twin Cities (though his address is not quite as rural as mine). I offered him a single malt as a token of appreciation—he agreed gingerly (he’s apparently really not a Scotch guy) and eventually we met up drug dealer/customer-style in a Costco parking lot to exchange what anyone who saw us closely probably thought were urine samples. That was almost three weeks ago and here I am now with a review. I did not look at Eric’s own notes till I’d gotten mine down but here is the link to his own (far less verbose) review (at the bottom after an account of a distillery visit). Continue reading

Maker’s Mark

Maker's Mark

Maker’s Mark is one of the iconic American whiskies, though one suspects this has as much to do with its iconic look as with anything else about it. That famous red wax makes it unmistakeable and also makes everyone who tries to cut through it to open the bottles curse mightily. As you probably know, it is also relatively unusual among widely available bourbons in that it is made with no rye in the mashbill (replaced by wheat) and quite unusual in that they spell the word “whisky” without the “e” on the label. Only one of these facts is interesting.

Of late Maker’s Mark has been in the news on account of their acquisition, or rather their parent company’s acquisition by Suntory (as the subsidiary Beam Suntory). This caused some underpants twisting among the xenophobic (and uninformed: Maker’s Mark and Beam are by no means the only iconic bourbon makers owned by Japanese companies). But this fruitless controversy was not as loud as that over the decision a year earlier to lower the proof of the whisky from the traditional 45% to 42%. That controversy actually bore fruit as Maker’s Mark quickly reversed course. Continue reading