FFor decades, under the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, Maker’s Mark has crafted whisky, its flagship bourbon, made the same way since 1953. In 2010, the distillery launched the extra grid Manufacturer’s mark 46, which marks a major turning point for the brand. Since then, Maker’s has released a parade of solid expression hits, including Maker’s Mark 101, Cask Strength and its series of wood finishes. But throughout it all, one thing remained constant: all of the Maker’s Mark expressions were around six years old, give or take a few months. All this changes with Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged Bourbonits oldest version to date.
Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged is a limited release new expression that combines 11 and 12 year old bourbons. To achieve this, casks of the distillery’s classic distillate are aged for about six years as usual in the company’s warehouses, enduring the famous temperature variations of Kentucky’s climate from season to season. After that, the casks are transferred to the distillery’s whiskey cellar for another five to six years, before the liquid is blended and bottled.
This cellar is built on a natural limestone shelf, which keeps the temperature constantly cool. This slows the impact of the wood on the whiskey during maturation, allowing the bourbon to develop a deeper, darker flavor without the tannic bitterness that accompanies long oak aging at higher temperatures.
This inaugural release is a marriage of 87% 12-year-old whiskey and 13% 11-year-old whiskey, and it is bottled at cask strength (115.7 proof). The maturation process will remain the same in the years to come, but the specific assembly will still be done to taste, so it may vary depending on the barrels ready.
“For over 65 years, aging our whiskey for over a decade was not something we did,” said Rob Samuels, managing director of Maker’s Mark. “It’s not that we don’t believe in it; we just hadn’t found a way to do it without compromising our taste vision – until now.
The taste vision implies a smooth, smooth and creamy bourbon, without bite. With aging in the cellar, Manufacturer’s mark found a way to produce older whiskey without straying from the flavor profile they are known for and what fans have come to expect. The bourbon has aromas of dark stone fruits, caramelized sugar and toasty oak, and the palate brings more fruit, as well as dark vanilla, leading to a long finish of caramelized cask notes and baking spices.
Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged will be available in the United States in September for a suggested retail price of $150. It will arrive in other markets including London, Munich and select global travel retail accounts in October, then make its way to Asia in early 2024.