Nose: This has a very basic, classic bourbon smell. It falls right in the middle between light and heavy. I had a hard time picking out any particular distinctive scents. Palate: This has a mildly sweet flavor that doesn’t come across as highly complex. The mouthfeel is pleasant and watery, but not overly watery. There is some warmth on the finish, but it isn’t very prominent and definitely not harsh nor burning. The sweetness of this has some pepper and cinnamon towards the end, and in the finish some oak flavors come through. It leaves a slight aftertaste that leans to the bitter but not unpleasant side. On some sips, the aftertaste even comes across as slightly hoppy. Comments: “Middle of the road” is probably a good description of this. And, that isn’t in a bad way, it is an indication that it is a bourbon that a wide variety of drinkers would enjoy, even if it wasn’t their favorite. There’s absolutely nothing offensive or off-putting about it, but it also isn’t very complicated. So….if you are looking for something to sip that will challenge your taste buds, look elsewhere. If you are looking for an easy-to-enjoy sipper, than this nicely fits the bill. I’m not really surprised by this because this is a very popular and high selling bourbon. There’s a reason for that. Of course, part of that is also likely to be the reasonable price the consumer pays for it. Lastly, if you ever find yourself in Kentucky, I highly recommend a trip to this distillery. The setting of the surrounding countryside is classic Kentucky and the grounds of the distillery are very appealing. The tour is also very interesting. Although Maker’s is likely not to be my first choice when out on the town, I also would never turn it down. And, considering its popularity, it is available in a LOT of bars, taverns, saloons and restaurants. Given a choice between Maker’s and Jim Beam in bars where that may be the only choice, I’d go with Maker’s (which is a bit ironic because Maker’s is now owned by Beam Suntory). I tasted this side-by-side with Larceny, another wheated bourbon, as part of a Bourbon Bracket challenge. Maker’s is 90 proof, but a while back (2103) they tried to back it down to 84 and received a lot of flack from loyal consumers. The 86 proof bottles didn’t last very long and they went back to the 90 proof version. The mashbill is 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley. You can usually find it for under $30 and it is often on sale. Maker’s is one of the few distilleries who rotate their barrels from upper to lower rickhouse levels. The idea is to make each barrel more like each other barrel, so when they blend them there is more consistency. Oh…..and they are one of the very few American distilleries who use the Scottish spelling “Whisky” vice “Whiskey”.
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