Maker’s Mark was born in 1954 when T. William “Bill” Samuels Sr. purchased Burks Distillery in Loretto Kentucky. For the next 52 years, they pretty much stuck to the original recipe, occasionally releasing higher proof variations. But in 2010, as Bill Samuels Jr. was retiring, the idea of “I’ve spent my whole career not screwing up mom and dad’s whiskey, how do I leave this industry and not do something on my own” bothered him. And thus, Maker’s 46 was born.
Maker’s 46 went through 124 experiments with Independent Stave Company (ISC) before they finally settled on a process that required 10, one-inch thick toasted French oak staves to be inserted into a barrel that originally housed Maker’s Mark. The barrel is then refilled with mature Maker’s Mark were it will age another nine weeks. This amplified the baking spices, especially the cinnamon and vanilla flavors that are already present in Maker’s Mark. And because no unnatural agents are added and the special staves are from oak, the product is still a Bourbon.
When Maker’s started looking at doing a barrel selection program, they opted to put together a program that allowed buyers to build their own unique barrel of Bourbon, similar to the experiments they went through for Maker’s 46. And Payless was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to get the 28th Barrel from the Maker’s Private Select Barrel program.
The Maker’s Barrel program is unlike no other. Instead of sampling bourbon direct from barrels and choosing which barrel we preferred the taste of, you choose 10 oak staves in various combinations and let them age an additional 9 weeks in a barrel of Maker’s Mark. These staves alter the flavor profile so you get a unique barrel of Maker’s. Even though we could use the Maker’s 46 staves, we wanted ours to be different from and our committee of 7 chose not to.
We did have an American oak stave, baked oak, which allows vanilla and some sweetness to the bourbon. Then we used a combination of seared French Cuvee, and toasted French spice to allow flavors of butterscotch, caramel, fruits and spice. The roasted French mocha stave allows this Maker’s to have a lasting finish with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.
This is a unique barrel of Maker’s and your opportunity to taste is June 18th at the Greenwood Store by the Mall. Come have a sample and we are sure you will want to pick up a bottle or 2.