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:
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.
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