Classification: Straight Bourbon Finished with Oak Staves
Company: Beam Suntory
Distillery: Maker’s Mark
Release Date: March 2021
Proof: 110.6 (Bottles vary between 110.3-110.6 proof)
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley
Color: Light Gold
MSRP: $60 (2021)
Robust oak | Maple syrup | Burnt butter | Dark caramel | Cider | Very rich and unique
Dark fruits | Dried fruits | Charred oak | Blackberries | Vanilla | Touch of uniqueness that’s hard to pinpoint
Hazelnut | Nutmeg | Touch of tobacco | Slight dryness
Maker’s Mark’s first 2021 limited release, FAE-01, uses an American oak stave that is seared on one side and left raw on the other. Maker’s has doubled down on their staves finishing to differentiate their limited release products from other companies. Instead of releasing a brand new Maker’s Mark bourbon, they continually alter their existing product. Not everyone is a fan of stave finishing, but the company has shown over the last few years the dramatic impact it can have on a whiskey, especially one as familiar and mainstream as Maker’s Mark.
FAE-01 is another win for Maker’s Finishing Series. It thankfully doesn’t venture into the double oaked category and instead enhances what you already love about Maker’s Mark Bourbon. This comes in the form of more potent dark and dried fruits, but also wide ranging scents and flavors in the form of burnt butter on the nose, blackberries on the palate, and hazelnut on the finish. It’s not revolutionary, but perhaps a window into what Maker’s could be. Some may find this stave finishing gimmicky or in a way, artificial, but in the end, it is a solid drinker and brings a unique sip to your glass.