I’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.