Patience Makes Its Mark

By / Wine + Drinks / December 13th, 2011 / Like

How patient are you? Are you willing to try something over and over ad infinitum, never resting till you have it “just so,” or do you subscribe to the “if at first you don’t succeed, quit” mentality? If you’re one of the tenacious former types, how many times will you keep tweaking something before you say, “enough”? Five? Ten? How about 46. That’s how many attempts Master Distiller Kevin Smith of the venerable Maker’s Mark Distillery of Loretto, Kentucky, made before finally achieving his version of bourbon nirvana: Maker’s 46.

To create this unique whisky (yes Marker’s Mark purposely uses the Scottish spelling), Smith started with the best raw material he could find, namely, barrels of mature Maker’s Mark bourbon. The whisky is siphoned out and a series of ten seared oak staves are affixed to the inside of the barrel before the bourbon is returned to the barrel and left to mature, not for any specific length of time, but just until it tastes right.

The resulting whisky retains the basic character of the original Maker’s Mark, but the caramelized sugars of the seared staves impart spicy caramel and vanilla notes along with roundness in the mouth ending in a long, smooth, oak-tinged finish. Packaged in a sleek, modern-styled bottle, it is nonetheless sealed with the distinctive red wax that has distinguished Maker’s Mark bourbon for some 50 years.

On a related note, with both bourbon and cocktails increasing in popularity (and with the holiday season on our heels), why not introduce (or re-introduce) some classic as well as more modern bourbon-based cocktails? Visit for some soul-warming ideas.

Tasting Notes:

Maker’s Mark
Nose: Vanilla, caramel, tangerine, buckwheat honey with some spice notes
Palate: Mild fruitiness (orange peel/marmalade), vanilla, spice and caramel flavours
Price: Approx. $38.00

Maker’s 46
Nose: Stronger caramel notes, crème brûlée, tangerine, cocoa powder and floral notes
Palate: Smooth, silky, viscous with warm toffee and fruitcake nuances; long, spicy finish
Price: Approx. $50.00


Looking at the small things that make life great and the people who create them.

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