Makers Mark is arguably one of the best American Bourbon whiskies and comes from one of the USA's smallest states......Kentucky.
Kentucky is around 40,000 square miles and for all you non American readers that is about the size of Iceland.
The Makers Mark Bourbon distillery is based in Loretto, about an hour and a half south of Louisville and it is designated a national Historic landmark. It is believed to be the oldest operating bourbon distillery in the world where each bottle is still hand dipped for its distinctive red wax seal.
Just like the bluegrass music, we have Scottish and Irish immigrants to thank for Makers Mark bourbon.
In 1780 Robert Samuels, a third generation immigrant and a farmer by occupation, started to make whiskey for himself and his close personal friends and by 1840 the family had developed this initial production into a commercial distillery.
Nothing really changed until 1953 when Bill Samuels Sr became tired of making what was described as “pedestrian whiskey”.
He burned the family recipe and came up with his own invention, very much aimed at devising a recipe that gave a bitter free bourbon.
The mixture of grains that eliminated rye is still used today and defines Makers Mark bourbon, rather than a whiskey.
It was Bill's wife who gave the bourbon its name.
Mrs Samuels collected English pewter and noticed that makers put their distinguishing marks only on their finest pieces of work and it was her idea to dip the bottles in red wax just like fine cognac bottles.........and hence Makers Mark was born
For the last 25 years the business has been run by Bill Jr, and he has always attempted to keep that personal touch.
Not only were they pioneers of bourbon but Samuels daughter Leslie was responsible for developing the first visitor program which became the start of what is now the Kentucky bourbon trails
Maker’s became America’s first alcoholic beverage facility to be designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. department of Interior. It was at this event that Maker’s Mark happened to catch the eye of a certain Wall Street Journal reporter.
After this the brand really took off and gained an international reputation.
From here the brand experienced double digit growth for years to come!
Since 2005 Maker’s Mark has been owned by Fortune Brands who also own another great bourbon Jim Beam.
Makers Mark bourbon uses a proportion of red winter wheat instead of the more common rye, in order to reduce the ‘burn’ left by many Bourbons.
The result is a comparatively soft and gentle spirit, which becomes very mellow as it matures.
Nose: Aroma with delightful strands of exotic fruit and honey. Fruit cake. Oak adds to feeling of class.
Palate: Lush, pleasingly deep and malty. A firm nuttiness adds extra oily, chew-ability to the toffee.
Finish: Drier than of old. Caramel toffee with the oak guarantees a bitter-sweet edge.
Comment: An old faithful of a bourbon. Never lets you down and being from the wheaty school always shows good oak balance. Nose is to die for.
Very drinkable. 45.0% ABV