Maker's Mark, renowned for its steadfast adherence to tradition, is embracing a new frontier with the unveiling of its inaugural age-statement Bourbon. Departing from its time-honored practices, Maker's Mark Cellar Aged is poised to make history as the distillery's most mature release to date.
In defiance of industry trends and the clamor of devoted fans, Maker's Mark has long refrained from affixing age statements to its bottles, prioritizing flavor over aging. However, this paradigm shift is slated to commence in the coming month, as Cellar Aged emerges onto the scene, boasting the distinction of being the oldest Maker's Mark whiskey ever to grace the market.
With an impressive 57.85% ABV, the 2023 release is a fusion of 87% 12-year-old whiskey and 13% 11-year-old whiskey. The catalyst for this venture, according to Rob Samuels, Maker's Mark managing director, has been the persistent customer inquiry: "Why don't you create a bourbon with extensive aging?"
Tasting Notes for Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged
Notes of rich dark stone fruit, sugar that has been caramelized to perfection, and the inviting aroma of toasted oak.
A harmonious interplay of substantial oak presence, deep vanilla with hints of darkness, and a touch of fruitiness that lends balance.
Velvet-textured and extensive, the finish is a journey of complexity featuring the lingering warmth of caramelized barrel nuances and the comforting embrace of baking spices.
The response to this query lay within the innovative strategy devised by Diane Rogers, the quality manager at Maker's Mark. She resolved to extract six-year-old barrels from the traditional warehouse and grant them further maturation within the brand's distinctive limestone whiskey cellar, constructed in December 2016. The aim was twofold: to attenuate the robust extraction of tannins responsible for an intense and abrasive profile while nurturing the process of oxidation.
Scheduled to be an annual release, Cellar Aged will consistently bear the mark of cask strength bottling, albeit subject to adjustments in recipe and proof with each batch. Notably, this progression will incorporate aged stocks, as Samuels affirms that whiskeys younger than 11 years old will not feature in the composition.
In essence, this new chapter in Maker's Mark's journey underscores the legacy of the brand's founders, Bill Sr. and Margie Samuels, who established the distillery's ethos in 1953. Rob Samuels, their grandson, echoes this legacy by upholding the principle of quality and consistency, even when diverging from the well-trodden path of tradition.
This pioneering move, exemplified by the Cellar Aged release, illuminates Maker's Mark's unswerving dedication to their "founder's vision." For those eager to savor this historic transition, Cellar Aged will be available at a suggested retail price of US$150 in the US in September 2023, followed by London, Munich, select global travel retail outlets in October 2023, and Tokyo and Singapore in early 2024.
About Maker’s Mark
Maker's Mark is a distinguished American bourbon whiskey brand that has etched its name in the annals of whiskey history through its commitment to tradition, craftsmanship, and a uniquely handcrafted approach. Founded in the heart of Loretto, Kentucky, in 1953 by Bill Samuels Sr., Maker's Mark has become a cherished favorite among whiskey aficionados worldwide, celebrated for its distinct characteristics and unparalleled quality.
Central to the brand's identity is its innovative approach to bourbon production. Maker's Mark utilizes a distinctive mashbill recipe that sets it apart from conventional bourbons. Instead of incorporating rye, Maker's Mark employs red winter wheat in its grain mixture, contributing to a remarkably balanced and smooth flavor profile that resonates with a broad spectrum of palates.
The artisanal ethos of Maker's Mark is embedded in its every facet. Bill Samuels Sr.'s vision extended to crafting a bourbon that was not only exceptional in taste but also a masterpiece of presentation. The brand's iconic bottle design, distinguished by its hand-dipped red wax seal, serves as a testament to its dedication to meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail.
A cornerstone of Maker's Mark's production process lies in its aging and maturation methods. The brand carefully ages its bourbon in charred American white oak barrels, allowing time to infuse complexity and character into the spirit. The utilization of a "rotating barrel" technique ensures consistency in flavor and quality across each batch.
At the core of Maker's Mark's identity is its signature bottling strength. The bourbon is famously bottled at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof), a choice that deviates from the higher proofs often associated with bourbons. This deliberate decision contributes to the brand's hallmark approachability and smoothness.
With every sip of Maker's Mark, enthusiasts are treated to a flavor journey that is harmonious and memorable. The bourbon's flavor profile boasts notes of rich caramel, velvety vanilla, delicate baking spices, and subtle hints of oak, culminating in a well-rounded and flavorful experience.
While the classic Maker's Mark remains a cherished favorite, the brand has ventured into diverse expressions and limited editions, offering enthusiasts a glimpse into unique aging techniques and novel flavor dimensions.
Maker's Mark transcends its role as a beverage, embodying a cultural symbol that reflects convivial gatherings, Southern hospitality, and a deep-rooted sense of tradition. The Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto invites visitors to delve into its rich heritage and gain insights into the intricate art of whiskey-making, showcasing its dedication to education and immersion.
Beyond its commitment to crafting exceptional bourbon, Maker's Mark also embraces sustainability efforts, underscoring its dedication to environmental conservation and responsible ingredient sourcing.
In essence, Maker's Mark stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of American bourbon. Its fusion of time-honored tradition, innovative craftsmanship, and a dedication to quality encapsulates the spirit of this beloved brand, inviting enthusiasts to savor the essence of Maker's Mark in each finely crafted bottle.