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Maker's 46: an easily found "step-up"

Posted on by Eric Burke

It’s coming up on autumn again. Apples, pumpkins, football and of course, fall bourbon release season. Authors will be lining up all the free samples they received from various PR firms and distilleries to tell you about all those special, rare, and limited bourbons that you will never see, sniff or taste. 

You know: the “best they’ve ever tasted” and the kind of bourbon where “if you see this buy two.” Of course it’s only the best until the next one and you’ll never see one much less two unless you get really lucky or you’ve got an in with someone. But though you can help it along, you can’t plan luck. And if you don’t already have an in with someone, you are unlikely to make one by the time you need it. 

So what is there to do? Aside from getting sad and bitter at the idea of all those tasty treats that you won’t be tasting, that is.

Simple. Go to your favorite liquor store. Walk up to the bourbon shelves. Open your eyes. (That last bit will be easier if you’d closed them at some point, but I’d hate to recommend unsafe behavior like walking around a crowded store with your eyes closed.) Now look at the shelf. Odds are there is something really good right in front of your nose. 

Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, Four Roses, Maker’s Mark, Elijah Craig and Evan Williams are all solid choices that not only won’t break the bank, but I guarantee that at least one of these is available at every liquor store in the country. And if you are looking for a step up each has one. Rare Breed, Booker’s, Four Roses Single Barrel, Elijah Craig Barrel Proof, Evan Williams Single Barrel and Maker’s 46.

I’ll admit. If given the choice between a wheated bourbon (one that uses wheat instead of rye as it’s secondary grain) and a rye bourbon, I’ll normally choose the rye. I find many wheated bourbons to be sharp and more bitter than I’d like. But an exception to that is Maker’s Mark. I’ve always been a fan of Maker’s. So much so, that before I started this blog I became an Ambassador and got my name on a barrel. So when they came out with a second bourbon (already about 4 years ago now…wow) I was excited to try it. 

And I liked it. I liked it so much that it got put on that magical mental list of ones I would buy again after I got through trying all the ones I wanted to try. The unfortunate thing was that the second list got bigger faster than I could buy bottles and so I never got around to buying another bottle of Maker’s 46. Well, at least not until I saw it on sale at Total Wine, remembered that long ago list, realized how long it had languished there and decided to pull the trigger.

Maker’s 46

Purchase info: $28.99 for a 750mL at Total Wine, Roseville, MN (on sale)

Details: 47% ABV

Nose: Continually changing. Starts with fermented grain, changes to distinct cinnamon and apricot before settling into a nice generically fruity oakiness.

Mouth: Slightly thick mouthfeel. Peppery, candy sweet and fruity with baking spices.

Finish: Nice and long with lingering baking spices and a faint smokey oak bitterness

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Thoughts: I’m still a fan of this one. It’s like a spicy candy. And that makes me happy.