Classification: Bourbon finished with oak staves
Company: Beam Suntory
Distillery: Maker’s Mark
Mashbill: 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, 14% Malted Barley
Price: $80 (2018)
If you’re not familiar with the Maker’s Mark Private Select concept, bottles are created using unique stave combinations to produce a truly one-of-a-kind product. The company opened up this process to stores a few years ago allowing them to pick their own stave combinations. With over 1,000 different possible combinations, Maker’s Mark offers retailers a truly unique barrel select program by allowing them to have a direct influence on how a barrel ultimately tastes.
This the second Maker’s Mark Private Select we’ve provided tasting notes for and there are some common threads we’ve found between them. First, they tend to lean on the heavy full-flavored side of the spectrum, more so than a traditional bottle of bourbon. Second, for being on the “lower” side of the barrel proof scale (generally around 111-133 proof) they still pack a lot of heat.
Linwood Wine & Liquor Company’s picked 7 baked American Pure 2 staves, 2 seared French Cuvee staves, and 1 toasted French spice stave for their barrel. It has mild aromas of vanilla, toasted oak, and coffee that are a bit overshadowed by ethanol. Allowing some airtime helps tame, but not fully remove the ethanol. I’m surprised how relatively mild the nose has been on the Private Selects I’ve sampled compared to Maker’s standard offerings. The palate packs a strong fiery front of tobacco, oak, and black pepper. This bold display of flavors is impactful as it is long lasting. The tobacco and oak bleeds into the finish which leaves a dry aftertaste.
Maker’s Mark Private Selects do come with a higher price tag for their additional steps to create and their resulting uniqueness. Their bold flavor tends to be love it or leave it for a lot of people. If you’ve been nervous pulling the trigger on one of these, many stores will have their store selections open for patrons to sample. That way you’ll know if a particular Maker’s Mark Private Select’s unique flavor is right for you.
The sample used for this review was provided at no cost courtesy ofLinwood Wine & Liquor Company. We thank them for the sample and for allowing us to review it with no strings attached.