Nose: I found this to have a minty caramel first scent. Later sniffs brought out some toffee and butterscotch. Overall, the nose is a bit on the lighter side and pleasant. Palate: I found the first sip to be nicely sweet. I picked up cinnamon, brown sugar, a little raisin and a very small amount of toasted grain. The mouthfeel is pleasant but not overly thick. I thought the finish was rather short, but there was a not-unpleasant aftertaste too (a bit on the oaky side). The finish was not harsh nor burning and only slightly warm. It was more cinnamony with a little pepper and a little mint. Comments: At 94 proof, I think this is an improvement over the regular Maker’s Mark because it has a little more complexity to it. It is a pleasant sipper and an easy drink. I’ve always found the regular Maker’s Mark to be a bit bland, but this version adds just enough to make it interesting, without overpowering you. I think this would be a good bourbon to serve someone who is just beyond the newbie stage, to introduce them to the fact that bourbons can be more complex and flavorful. What I like about 46 is that it is the kind of bourbon that starts tasting better the more you sip it. So….if you let your glass sit for a while and take your time between sips, at the end of the glass you’ll be a bit sad that it is gone. Solution? Pour yourself another one and start over again!! For the ten bucks or so more than you would spend for regular Maker’s Mark, I’d say the extra $ is worth it. This isn’t a bourbon that will knock your undies off, but it is worth having on stand-by, particularly if you’re a wheated bourbon fan. [NOTE: There’s no rye in the mashbill and this comes across in the taste, which has no rye spiciness in evidence.] Sources indicate that 46 is aged around 6 years and that the mashbill is 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley. It sits in the $40 range, but you might be able to find it cheaper. 46 starts its life as regular Maker’s Mark (a wheated bourbon made in batches of less than 1,000 gallons) and then heavily seared French oak staves are placed in just emptied standard Maker’s barrels, and then refilled and returned to the rickhouse to finish aging for…..an undisclosed amount, thought to be 2-3 months.
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