Today, I am reviewing (and currently enjoying) a glass of Maker’s 46. As many of you who know me and read the blog know, I am not a Maker’s Mark fan. Honestly, I really don’t like that stuff. However, I had been told by some of my bourbon friends and other bourbon blogs that I should get my hands on some Maker’s 46. I’m glad I listened.
Maker’s 46 is the standard Maker’s Mark recipe aged 6 years just like Maker’s Mark. Then, the 46 is finished in specially-made barrels that have seared French Oak staves running down the middle of the barrel. The name “46” comes from the number of the searing recipe that eventually went into new barrels. After a few weeks/months finishing in the special barrels, Maker’s 46 is ready to go (bottled at 94 proof). Its a cool process, but the proof is in the pudding.
Maker’s 46 has a rich, dark amber color, and it smells wonderful. To me, the nose smells like freshly baked banana bread (oh yeah). There are also notes of cinnamon sugar, vanilla frosting, and drying oak. The palate follows nicely. It is sweet up front, big vanilla and caramel. There is also some hot cinnamon and some bitter tannins. The finish is long and warming. The banana bread comes back along with some berries and vanilla frosting. There is a slight tannic influence that I hope doesn’t take over the whiskey as I go through the bottle, but the tannic zip is not enough to ruin this one.
Overall, this is a monstrous step up from Maker’s Mark. The palate is more complex and much tastier, and the finish is long, warming, and delicious. Of course, it is a few dollars more than Maker’s Mark, but I would still reach for this one every time. My Grade: B+. Price: $35-40/750ml. This is a great wheated bourbon, and definitely one of my favorites at the price point. Pick up a bottle and let it ride!