Loretto, KY (June 30, 2010) – Maker’s Mark is once again bringing innovation to the Bourbon industry with today’s release of the company’s first ever new Bourbon, Maker’s 46. In celebration, Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels, Jr., continuing in the tradition his father began, hand-dipped and sealed ceremonial bottles of Maker’s 46™ Bourbon in the brand’s iconic red wax with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery.
Maker’s 46 is a handcrafted, full-bodied Bourbon whisky that starts off as original Maker’s Mark. The transformation into Maker’s 46 begins when fully matured Maker’s Mark is emptied from the barrel so that 10 seared French oak staves can be affixed to the sides. Then, Maker’s Mark, which is made with red winter wheat for a smooth taste, is put back in the barrel and aged for several more months, allowing the natural caramel, vanilla and spice flavors released by the staves to enhance the end product.
“This new expression is a breakthrough in the contemporary craft of bourbon,” stated Mr. Samuels. “We have used innovative techniques never before employed by the Bourbon industry to create a full-bodied bourbon without any bitterness.”
The creation of Maker’s 46 was a collaborative effort between Bill Samuels, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Kevin Smith, and Barrel Maker and
“Wood Chef” Brad Boswell of Independent Stave Company. Samuels and Smith started with a clear idea of how they wanted the new bourbon to taste – full-bodied without any bitterness – and turned to Boswell to help develop the recipe. They knew this would be no easy task, if it could be done at all.
After much experimenting, Boswell decided to try a searing technique on French oak staves that had never been used before to make bourbon. He delicately seared the staves just enough so that the caramel and vanilla flavors from it were released and only a small amount of tannin, which adds bitterness, came out of the wood. The name Maker’s 46 comes from the profile number Boswell assigned to this winning “wood recipe.”
Samuels notes, “Over the years whisky consumers’ palates have moved toward bigger and bolder flavors. So, I wanted to craft a contemporary interpretation of Maker’s Mark that matched with current tastes, but didn’t want to mess up what my father had created or disenfranchise any of our loyal fans.”
Kevin Smith adds, “Maker’s 46 is spicier and has a more intense aroma than Maker’s Mark. It has rich caramel and vanilla flavors, and even at 94 proof it’s soft enough to hold on the tongue. You can drink it on its own or mix it into a cocktail.”
Initial reactions from Bourbon experts to Maker’s 46 have been positive. Malt Advocate Publisher and Editor, John Hansell has noted in his review, “The French Oak staves in ‘46’ add firm, complex, dry spices (lead by warming cinnamon, followed by nutmeg and clove)…which dovetails well with Maker’s trademark layered sweetness.”
Additionally, Charles K. Cowdery, Editor-in-Chief of The Bourbon Country Reader – a publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey – says, “Compared to standard Maker’s, there is less citrus and more fudge. It is very, very good.” Jose Garces, Owner of Garces Restaurant Group and Food Network Iron Chef, has also reviewed the Bourbon and states, “… I really enjoy its fruit-forward notes with flavors of vanilla and caramel lingering from the aging process. The finish is extraordinarily smooth and the flavor pleasantly stayed on my palate.”
Only 25,000 cases of Maker’s 46 will be shipped by the distillery this year, making bottles of this first batch a rare commodity. The new Kentucky straight bourbon whisky will be sold in 750ml bottles and retail for approximately $10 more than Maker’s Mark (prices vary state to state).