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Maker's Mark - Cask Strength

Nose: While I found the nose rich and full, it is actually a pretty light scent. It is not nearly as overpowering as you might expect for a cask strength. I picked up scents of raisin and cinnamon and a very slight amount of mint. Later sniffs brought out some caramel and some molasses. Palate: Yep, it’s high proof and lets you know it. That first sip of a high proof always catches me off guard…..even when I’m expecting it. SO….the first sip was mostly a jolting, jump-start to the palate. This has a nice oily mouthfeel. The second sip finds the palate a little more prepared and you don’t feel the alcohol as much until the finish, which is pretty long and also brings out some pepper. Because I have “guilty knowledge” that this is a wheated bourbon, I was expecting this to be sweeter and not have any rye spice. Nope. I wouldn’t define this as a sweet bourbon. Of course, with high proof bourbon, I think ANY sweetness is going to be overrun by the alcohol. What was odd, however, is that I was getting slight rye spice flavors…..or at least I though it was rye spice….maybe it is just “spice”? Later sips brought out oak notes and some rum-like molasses notes. It also has some peppery notes that pop up once in a while. Comments: This guy is 113.3 proof and this bottle was one of the very first ones that came out when they first started putting this out. After the first sip, the higher proof isn’t really harsh or burning, but it does let you know it has some warmth. I like wheated bourbon but I’ve never been a big fan of Maker's Mark. Sadly, even though I really enjoy a good barrel (cask) strength bourbon, this didn’t stand out as being anything exceptional. I suppose that might be expected, if I’m not a huge fan of regular Maker’s Mark. My bottle is a 375 bottle and it was in the high $30 - low $40 range when I got it. It looks like the 750 bottle is now in the $50 range. The mashbill on this is 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley. I’m guessing that if you like Maker’s Mark and don’t mind the higher proof, that you will like this. For me, though, for the money, I’d rather get something else. Not that I can’t drink it or heavily dislike it, it just isn’t my cup of tea.

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