I’d like to thank Maker's Mark for providing this sample to me with no strings attached.
When Maker’s Mark introduced a 101 proof version of their famed redheaded whiskey as a Travel Retail Exclusive last year, I was irrationally disappointed. For some reason I wanted it very badly (probably because I’ve been a fan of Maker’s Mark for as long as I’ve been a fan of bourbon). Eventually, I realized that this disappointment was a bit silly. I mean I can go down to any of the liquor stores in town and walk out with Maker’s Cask Strength any time I want. And if I want to, I can dilute that to 101 proof with just a little math and even less water.
But of course, rational is one thing that most bourbon lovers (myself included) are not. So when I saw that the 101 proof was going to be sold at the Maker’s Mark distillery starting this summer, I reached out to them to see if they might have a sample to spare. I mean, most of us might hesitate to take an international flight to get a $50 bottle of bourbon. But you should probably be taking a trip to the Maker’s Mark distillery if you are in the area anyway. And as long as you are there anyway, I figured it might be nice to see if this would make a nice souvenir.
Maker’s Mark 101 proof
Nose: Nutmeg, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee.
Mouth: Sweet, toffee, vanilla, baking spice.
Finish: Warm and medium length. Lingering nutmeg and caramel sweetness.
Thoughts: If you are a Maker's fan, like I am, this is a must-have addition to your collection. It is sweet and loaded with baking spice flavors.
But ok, even if you are in the area, do you really need to make a trip to Maker’s? Can’t you just do what you mentioned above and dilute your Maker’s Cask Strength? Well I made a special trip to the liquor store so we can find out together.
Maker’s Mark Cask Strength (diluted to 101 proof)
Nose: Not as sweet on the nose, still has nutmeg.
Mouth: Thinner mouthfeel, less sweet.
Finish: Warmer finish, not as baking spice forward.
Thoughts: Contrary to my initial suspicions, you can't just "water down" Maker's Cask Strength and get Maker's 101. There is a distinct difference when comparing head-to-head. Both in sweetness and mouthfeel. Both of these are very good bourbons and I will certainly be adding a stop at the Maker's Mark distillery to my next Kentucky trip to see about getting a couple more bottles. And even after that, I will still be drinking my Cask Strength with a small piece of ice (which honestly probably brings it down to lower than 101 proof). Honestly, they are both great and I hope to have both on hand as much as possible.
BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. And if you are an iOS user, look for Bourbon Guy in Apple News. Thanks!