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Review: Maker’s Mark Bourbon

maker's mark whisky bourbonI’ve written a lot about Maker’s Mark — hell, I spent like half a day with one of the “Makers,” Rob Samuels — but somehow I never got around to actually writing about the bourbon they make.

I’m not going to rehash the distillery’s history, but I will talk a bit about this phenomenally popular whisky (and yes, they spell it without an E, due to the family’s Scottish heritage).

Chances are you’re already familiar with Maker’s Mark. After Jack Daniel’s and Jim Beam, it’s one of the bestselling American whiskeys. That’s for good reason: Everybody likes Maker’s.

The company’s goal — to create a “soft,” easy-drinking bourbon — succeeds amiably here. There are great aromas of sugar cane and vanilla on the nose, and those are amplified in the body. I’ve faulted Maker’s Mark in the past for a slightly bitter finish, but if you add the slightest touch of water, that vanishes completely. Perhaps it’s because Maker’s comes at 90 proof instead of the usual 80?

There’s not a lot of mystery to Maker’s Mark, just pleasant, good-times, perfectly-sweet bourbon, great for sipping straight or with whatever mixer strikes your fancy. It’s not a whisky to ponder over, really. Just one to enjoy with the confidence that, no matter what bar or liquor store you walk into, they’re going to have plenty of this stuff to sell you, and for a very reasonable price.

90 proof.

A- / $22 / makersmark.com [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

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Maker's Mark Bourbon



Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content company.

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  1. B.E. Earl June 19, 2009

    Isn’t another peculiarity of Maker’s a heavy wheat presence? Thought I read that once.

  2. Pingback: Maker’s Mark | Drink Update
  3. Twinspear June 26, 2009

    My wife and I did a blind taste test of three popular bourbons: Maker’s Mark, Knob Creek, and Wild Turkey 101. We had exactly the same response: Maker’s Mark was a distant third. Surprising result has been confirmed by many friends since. Hard to understand your A-, vs. B- for the WT.

  4. Adam November 25, 2009

    Knob Creek tastes like bile to me. Its disgusting. Makers Mark isn’t the greatest bourbon ever made or anything, but as far as popular, regularly stocked bourbons go – you cant beat it. And yes, I drink it with an ice cube or two – makes it much more tasty.

  5. Duncs December 11, 2010

    Well, this is a little confusing… Maker’s Mark is 45%abv in the US? Here in Australia it’s 40%abv! I think we’re being short-changed, hmm…

  6. Jeff August 6, 2011

    Well, been a while since a post on this thread.

    So…I just finish polishing off a bottle of Maker’s 46 and I am not too impressed. It is definitely a step or two above “regular” Maker’s…but it still requires a good deal of water or ice.

    Maybe it is a psychological thing left over from guzzling the stuff in college, but both expressions of Maker’s Mark make me gag just a little bit when I drink them straight.

  7. Sam H March 29, 2012

    I feel like something is wrong here. It tastes like crap compared to Woodford Reserve (the only other bourbon I’ve tried). As I’m tipping the glass to sip, my nostrils burn as I breathe in this stuff. It’s not sweet at all. Did I get a bad bottle or something?


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