The First of Two New Maker's 46 Barrels
Earlier this year, I went out to Kentucky with my co-worker Julio Santos to put together another barrel of Maker's 46—the amazing custom cask program at Maker's Mark that allows each participant to choose the exact recipe of staves for the additional maturation enhancement. Coming off one of the most successful and fastest-selling single casks in K&L history, I was toying with the idea of doing the same recipe again, seeing that so many people seemed to enjoy the last batch. Knowing that there was so much potential, however, to create something new and interesting for our Bourbon customers to try, the creative side of me eventually gave in and we sat down to make something entirely different. On top of that, when another retailer pulled out of their appointment earlier that same morning, we were given their barrel allocation so we ended up with two casks!
Last time around I did all American oak, hoping to dial up the inherent sweetness already present in Maker's Mark, but with all those French options I knew we had to find a way to bring them into the equation. For this barrel, we kept a high proportion of baked American oak staves (6 in total), but buttressed that sweetness with 4 seared French cuvee staves to add richness and spice rather than simply add additional sweetness. The result is a high proof wheated Bourbon that's big on the nose, supple on the palate, but drier and earthier on the finish (a la some of the older Jefferson's 18 editions of the past). While you get all that creamy wheated goodness in the middle, the French oak contrasts that supple sweetness with drier notes of toasted oak and savory spice. The result is a damn fine bottle of whiskey.
I hope you all like it as much as I do!