American Whiskey - Bourbon
Maker's Mark Handmade Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
This is a Tier 2 score in the Whiskey category. It means critics have highly recommended the spirit as a benchmark in the category.
Maker's Mark bourbon is necessarily made from a primarily corn mash (all bourbons are required to be at least 50% corn among other requirements). But Maker's has an unusually high ratio of wheat as opposed to more typical rye or barley and is sometimes called a "wheated bourbon" as a result. The wheat is believed to create a much smoother flavor profile than some of its competitors.
The bourbon is made from a lake on the distillery grounds fed by limestone springs and said to be free of iron (which can turn whiskey green in the barrel). Their grain is purchased from small-farm cooperatives; they also are proud of using their own yeast. The whiskey is fermented in cypress wood tanks as opposed to stainless steel, again to reduce the taste of impurities in the final product.
In February of 2013, Beam, Inc (brand owner) announced that due to capacity issues it was lowering the proof from 90 to 84. At the time they promised the consumer would see no difference in the taste, a statement we found hard to believe. (And indeed, we put it to the test in a throwdown of the two proofs, concluding "there is a palpable difference in taste. There’s no denying it and Beam or Maker’s Mark would be foolish to insist otherwise.") After a public storm, Beam quickly reverted to the 90 proof version. All scores reflected here are the 90 proof expression (the 84 bafflingly becoming somewhat of a collector's item).
- This bottle has not been rated by this competition.
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