I don't normally do reviews of new products, I realized today (unless it's something exclusive to us), but the Maker's 46 is a whiskey that people all over the world have been wildly anticipating. If you didn't know, Maker's Mark was the only whiskey that MM made. It had been their only product since they opened in 1959 - that's fifty years of the same thing over and over again. Just the idea that they were toying with a new bourbon had people buzzing all over the blogosphere, and now that it's come to fruition there are many curious customers. We simply couldn't wait for a sample to show up so we just popped one and poured ourselves a glass. I was impressed - I expected it to be sweeter.
Maker's 46 is called "46" because of the catalog number given to the type of French oak used in the barrel stave aging process. The whiskey is essentially the same as the normal MM, just aged addtionally with charred #46 planks added into the barrel. The extra wood gives extra flavoring, much like John Glaser did recently with Compass Box's Spice Tree, and in this case it is to the benefit of the bourbon. The flavors are rich and fat on the entry with a good load of vanilla and oak, but the higher proof (94) kicks in to help balance that out. The whiskey is smooth, but not soft, and the wood flavor really jacks itself up on the finish where the complexity really hits you. I got some faint banana flavors a few minutes after tasting.
So, the point here is that Maker's 46 is good. In fact, it's really good. I'm happy that they succeeded with this project because I'm getting tired of the marketing blitz without the substance to justify it. This is a bourbon I would happily recommend to our customers.