Archive for February, 2010

Maker’s Mark Tossing Out Cincinnati Reds Bottle

For the first time, the Maker’s Mark bottle, which commemorates the Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park, will honor an entire team: the 1990 World Series champion Cincinnati Reds.  This limited edition bottle is the seventh in a series honoring Turfway’s Kentucky Derby prep race.

The 2010 bottle pays tribute to the 20th anniversary of the Reds’ wire-to-wire season and stunning four-game sweep of the Oakland A’s.  The label of the 375 ml bottle features the famous photo, taken by then director of publicity Jon Braude, of the champions celebrating on the field.  The bottle is hand-numbered and dipped in red wax.

Led by team captain Barry Larkin, the 1990 Reds spent the entire regular season in first place, defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in six games to take the National League title, and then tore into the heavily favored A’s.  Larkin, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Paul O’Neill, and Billy Hatcher powered the team at the plate, while Jose Rijo, Tom Browning, Jack Armstrong, Danny Jackson, and the bullpen’s Nasty Boys—Rob Dibble, Norm Charlton, and Randy Myers—intimidated opponents from the mound.

Maker’s Mark is producing an unprecedented number, 8000, of these commemorative bottles, the most since the series started in 2004.  The bottles are to go on sale Friday, March 19 and will retail for about $24 depending on the retail outlet.  Proceeds from sales will benefit the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.

The bottle signing at Turfway Park is Saturday, March 27, the morning of the Lane’s End Stakes.  The signing is from 8 AM to 11 AM at Turfway Park, Gate B.  400 free tickets will be distributed on a first come-first served basis, to persons 21 years and older and one ticket per person.  Each ticketholder may bring two of the 2010 bottles to be autographed.

The 39th running of the Grade II Lane’s End Stakes is a 1 1/8-mile race for Thoroughbreds aiming for the Kentucky Derby.  With its $500,000 purse, the race virtually guarantees the winner a spot in the Derby field, which is limited to 20 starters.  This year’s Lane’s End Stakes is set for Saturday, March 27, at Turfway Park.  Tickets for the race range from general admission at $10 to the Maker’s Mark VIP Tent at $175 and are available by calling (859) 371-0200.

The Lane’s End Stakes is sponsored by Lane’s End of Versailles, Kentucky., one of the world’s leading Thoroughbred operations and first among North America’s stud farms for 10 years, seven consecutively.  The farm stands such influential stallions as A. P. Indy, Smart Strike, Kingmambo, and two-time Horse of the Year Curlin.  Lane’s End is owned by William S. Farish, former United States ambassador to the Court of St. James’s.  Farish was honored earlier this year with the Eclipse Award of Merit for outstanding lifetime achievement in the Thoroughbred industry.

As part of the bottle introduction, the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum will host a grand opening celebration of its new exhibit: 1990-A Celebration of the 1990 World Champion Cincinnati Reds on March 25 at the Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.  Reds Hall of Famers and select members of the 1990 team will be in attendance.  The evening will consist of dinner and a question and answer session with the 1990 players.  Admission is $80 for the general public.  Reds Hall of Fame members and Maker’s Mark Ambassadors may purchase tickets at the discounted price of $70.  Tickets are available for purchase by calling 513-765-7923.

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New Maker’s Mark Expression Coming Soon

The rumors about the new Maker’s Mark bourbon have been flying for some time now. Bill Samuels has finally addressed the matter in the latest news to Ambassadors and Kevin Smith posted proof info and tasting notes to the Maker’s Mark Blog. See the letter and posts below:

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Dear Ambassador,

Some of you may have heard the rumor that Kevin Smith, Master Distiller for Maker’s Mark, has been working on a secret project here at the distillery. You heard right.

After years of prodding from Maker’s Mark brand friends, bourbon lovers, taste-makers and, yes, even you Ambassadors, Kevin and I looked at each other and said, “Well, let’s see what we can do.”

Make no mistake, we weren’t interested in finding which barrel held at the right light on the proper floor of a special warehouse could be packaged and shipped to stores nationwide. What we were trying to do was go after a specific taste. We had very narrow parameters and went after this new idea the way my dad did when he burned the old Samuels’ family mash bill and created Maker’s Mark.

Almost a year and a half later, Kevin comes back to me and says he thinks he’s done it.

Boy, has he ever.  Totally amazing new stuff. I mean wow. WOW!

The first step is to get blow back from the bourbon opinionaters, journalists, spirits bloggers, whisky club organizers and, yes, from our Ambassadors. Think of this as either a gut-check or, more bluntly as a disaster check.

Here’s where our taste-making Ambassadors come in. You have already received your invite to Thoroughbreds and Redheads weekend, April 9 and 10. I want you to know that we’ll be sampling our new product at the distillery for the first time on April 10, Ambassador Homecoming Day. Even if you decide not to spend the whole weekend with us, we hope you’ll join us for this momentous occasion.

Cheers!
Bill

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Dear Friends,

I am very excited to let everyone in on a little secret. We have been experimenting with a few things down here at the distillery, and we think we have stumbled onto a bourbon expression worth telling you about. The flavor is incredible. It has an intense, sweet, oaky toast aroma and, at 94 proof, it is unbelievably smooth.

Our new baby is a real revolution, with no alcohol nose or taste, and the big, bold flavors come through without a bitter aftertaste. Imagine oak-sweet vanillas, creamy flavors and a long and luscious texture that coats the front of the tongue. Let me say it this way: the taste is pleasingly intense!

Brad Boswell, President of Independent Stave, and I collaborated to create a process that would marry the flavor of Maker’s Mark with the unique flavors found when oak is heated sizzling hot, blistering the wood on the outside, while locking in the flavor in the middle.

It’s really something folks. I’ve been working on this for a year and a half, and it absolutely defies description. I guess that’s why we’re having such a hard time figuring out what to call it.

I’ll let Bill and the marketing “gurus” work that out.

Kevin D. Smith, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller

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