Photo: Maker's Mark Distillery / AP Photo
While many distilleries offer a variety of whiskeys, Maker's Mark has boasted that they make one whiskey only. While the red wax 90 proof version is commonly seen in the U.S., bourbon lovers often scolded them for making other versions only available outside the U.S. Aficionados clamored for the other expressions that had been released for export only, such as the black wax version bottled at 95 proof, and the gold wax bottling labeled as 101 proof.
Now Maker's has released a different version that goes beyond just proof and wax color. Perhaps feeling the heat from various experimental bottlings done by other distilleries, Maker's finally listened to customers pleas for something new.
Master Distiller Kevin Smith worked with Brad Boswell -- president of Independent Stave Company, a fourth generation "wood chef" -- to create the new Maker's 46. The whiskey is based on the same mashbill (that's whiskey talk for recipe). What sets it apart is the influence of French oak that has been seasoned for 18 months in northern France. The regular Maker's Mark spends additional time in contact with this seared French oak to bring out more toasted oak aroma and to give a stronger backbone of flavor. The oakiness of this expression of Maker's Mark may appeal more to Scotch drinkers and spicy rye whiskey lovers. The flavor is full enough to not get lost when poured over ice.
It's bottled at a slightly higher proof (94 instead of the regular red wax 90) for about $10 bucks more.