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Maker’s Mark - Private Select (Petite Cellars)

Nose: This has a toasty scent with a bit of coffee smell. A deep sniff will get you some alcohol tickling the inside of your nose. Palate: The first sip brings a quick attack of heat on the tongue. It briefly fades but then comes back fairly strong in the long finish. During the finish, the heat attacks the back of your throat and then warms its way down to your belly. This is slightly sweet, but much richer (and a bit thicker) than the regular Maker’s Mark. It has flavors of dark chocolate, some roastiness that is either grain-based or oak-based, perhaps a little molasses and what I think might be toffee or coffee (I’m not a coffee drinker, so I’m not super familiar with this taste). I found that this leaves a slightly bitter aftertaste and a tingling on the tongue after the long finish. Overall, I’d describe this as very rich, with a much “thicker” feel. There is a lot going on flavor-wise in this one. Picking out all or even most of them was challenging. Comments: Maker’s Mark came out with this Private Select concept in 1016/2017. The idea is, they use their base Maker’s Mark Cask Strength (with a mashbill of 70% corn, 16% wheat, 14% malted barley) and then a barrel is made for each consumer (be it a liquor store or whomever) where they do a secondary finish by putting in 10 barrel staves into the barrel and letting it sit a few more months. So, in essence, it is a single barrel, but with the twist of having a combination of staves added in a finish to change the flavor. The trick is, whomever is buying that barrel can pick which combination of staves they want to use. They get to pick 10, in any combination they like, of any the following: Baked American Pure 2, Seared French Cuvee, Maker’s 46, Roasted French Mocha and Toasted French Spice. For THIS bottle, the combination was: 2, 2, 1, 5, 0, (in the order shown to the left). This process can result in over 1,000 possible combinations, so add that to the fact that you are getting a specific barrel too, and you end up with what is likely to be a unique flavor for each barreling. This bottle is 111.5 proof and it let’s you know when you sip it, so it is a SLOW sipper. I like it, because I like the depth of high proof, but it was probably a poor choice for tasting on the very warm and humid day when I tried it. This is better suited for a mid-winter, in-front-of-the-fire sip session. If you don’t like higher proof, I suppose you could add some water to this, but you might also just get two bottles of Maker’s 46 instead. I got this at a special local liquor store tasting. For $10, you get to taste several Maker’s Products and there were light snacks. If you bought a bottle, they took $10 off the price, so the tastes and snacks were free So, you basically paid $70ish total (Yeah, I can’t remember exactly how much). They also had an engraver there who would engrave your bottle for free. If you look closely, you’ll see that this one is engraved “Property of Flying Aces Saloon”. I have to admit that this is a great marketing gimmick because I fell for it. The idea of this engraving appealed to me. Yeah, I’m simple. At this price point, it is a bit pricey and not something I’m going to experiment with. SO, I’m not likely to buy another bottle with a different combination of staves any time soon. That said, if you get to taste it before you buy, as was the case here, you are at a great advantage. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it. I liked this one, but honestly I think that a different combination of staves might produce an even better taste. For example, I don’t like coffee so anything that has more coffee flavor will not be to my liking.

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