Classification: Straight Bourbon
Company: Beam Suntory
Distillery: Maker’s Mark
Release Date: September 2021
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley
Color: $60 (2021)
Buttery oak | Banana bread | French oak | Light burnt caramel | Hints of barrel char | Dad's Root Beer Barrels hard candy | Intriguing
Charred oak | Burnt caramel | Dried raisins | Syrup | Green peppercorn | Leather | Sharp spice
Baking spice | Burnt oak | Leather | Robust French oak | Dry | Lingering sharp dry oak
Maker’s Mark FAE-02 is the fall limited edition followup to Maker’s Mark FAE-01, which was released earlier in 2021. Unlike FAE-01, which used an American oak stave that was seared on one side and left raw on the other, FAE–02 is produced using double-heat-treated virgin French oak barrel staves that undergo an infrared exposure prior to a flame toast finish. You can read more about the creation process in the company’s press release.
The French oak staves used in the creation of this bourbon have an immediate and large impact on the sip. It starts in the nose with a scent of French oak being present that carries through to the finish. While FAE-01 captured the attention of many last year, FAE-02 doesn’t quite live up to it in the same way. The overall sip is intriguing, however slightly off balance, with sharp spices sparring against oak, leather, and dry earthy flavors. This combination of flavors is immediately noticeable and ultimately holds FAE-02’s potential back. That said, I applaud Maker’s for continuing to march into new territory with their Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series, as it brings a fun aspect into showcasing what Maker’s Mark is capable of with just a tweak to a core component of their bourbon.