By: Andrew Whiteley
K&L Staff Member
My first inclination for this barrel was to pick nine of the Baked American Pure 2 staves to really double down on the natural character of Maker's Mark. I figured that was the closest thing I could get to an actual single cask. I was sorely mistaken. The added depth and complexity achievable through this unique cask program is astonishing. While maintaining a Maker's Mark backbone of sweet vanilla and mellow wheat, with five Pure 2 staves the increased length and breadth of the mixture of seared and toasted French staves, with a single Maker's 46 stave, improves the whiskey. Instead of the just the sharper peaked aromatics of American oak, the base tones of spice fill out the feel of the nose. Heady cooking spices abound, but still with a focus on the sweet spices and ever present sweet vanillins. It fills the glass, your nose, and the room. On the palate the intense tip-of-the-tongue sweetness of Maker's is carried all the way to the far corners of your mouth. It's a full-palate whiskey in a way that the classic just isn't. The finish lingers with hints of cocoa nibs and cinnamon. This is simply a perfect high-proof wheater, and just in time for the holidays.