Maker’s 46 Kentucky Bourbon Whisky (yes spelled correctly) is a wheated bourbon made in batches of less than 1,000 gallons. It is then not only aged in standard oak barrels, but has an additional step which uses seared French oak staves added at the end of the process. These staves are added only in the winter months to slow that part of the finishing process. As stated, the staves are seared but not charred, and this particular method is called Profile 46; the namesake for the resulting whisky. This is all aimed to increase the oak profile and the flavors that go with it, without the bitterness often seen with longer aged “oak” profiled whiskeys.
To find out more about Maker’s 46 and their other offerings, please visit their website: makersmark.com.
AGE: NAS (4-7 years)
SERVED: Neat / Glencairn Glass
COLOR: Bright amber and toffee with a glint of gold in the glass. In the bottle it appears much darker until light passes through it.
Thickly coats the glass and then forms long thin (though well defined) legs.
NOSE: Corn, toasted oak, vanilla, butterscotch, a pinch of cinnamon. some butter and even some sugar cookies.
PALATE: Slightly buttery on the tongue. Butterscotch, vanilla, butter, a hint of over-ripe cherries, cinnamon, spice/pepper, and some oak.
FINISH: Medium to long finish. Nice alcohol heat that lingers in your belly. Spice, vanilla, tobacco, leather, and oak slowly fade away into a vague sweetness.
OVERVIEW: This is very much Maker’s. Think Maker’s Mark with a bit more oak (but not bitter) and richness. The 94 proof is very pleasant and warms you but does not dominate the experience. I tend to favor higher proofs, but this is about right given the flavors presented. I consider it quite well balanced. In all honesty one would expect more oak given the aging process, but what is delivered is in line with the stated desired result. It is a very pleasant oak experience without the bitter.
Is it worth the price? It could be argued that there are other wheated whiskeys that offer as good, or better, experience than this one does, and at a bit less price. But for me, I feel the price is appropriate for its quality. If you can get it on sale, all the better. But isn’t that the way with them all?
How does it compare to Maker’s Mark, and is it worth the additional price? Well, I already touched on that above. And yes, I believe it is worth the slightly higher price. I think this is a good example of a wheated whiskey on the oakie side (but again, not bitter). Another tip of the hat to Maker’s Mark Distillery, good job.
ADDED: This whiskey gets even better with oxidation. Truly a wonderful pour.