Maker’s Mark Launches Avant Garde Single Barrel Program

Maker’s Mark Launches Avant Garde Single Barrel Program

Big news for Maker’s Mark fans today: A new Private Barrel program will let you create bespoke Maker’s — but it goes beyond letting you pick a barrel. Maker’s is going to let you choose the exact type(s) of wood to be used as extra staves in a finishing barrel where your chosen whiskey will rest for an extra 9 weeks before bottling. (Basically it’s the same process used for Maker’s 46, only with a variety of wood selections beyond basic charred oak.) With over 1000 wood finish combinations possible, who’s ready to start collecting Single Barrel Maker’s Mark bottlings by the dozens?

Here’s the full announcement.

Loretto, KY (October 6, 2015) – Maker’s Mark is bringing real innovation to the bourbon industry with a first-of-its-kind barrel program, Maker’s Mark Private Select. The new experience will allow retail customers to “make their own Maker’s” by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of oak staves. The program will kick off in limited release in November 2015, with bottled product available for sale by retail participants beginning March 2016.

Through the Maker’s Mark Private Select Experience, participants will have the opportunity to spend an immersive and educational day at the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY, where they will roll up their sleeves and mirror the process used by Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels, Jr. when he created Maker’s 46 in 2010.

“This innovative process of creating a personal expression of Maker’s Mark allows the customer to create a bourbon that wanders in some intriguing ways from our traditional taste profile, while still being distinctively Maker’s Mark,” stated COO Maker’s Mark Distillery, Rob Samuels. “We’ve never before given anyone this kind of access or opportunity to create their favorite version of Maker’s, but we’re excited to see what folks come up with and how they like to make their Maker’s when given the chance.”

As with Maker’s 46, Maker’s Mark Private Select will start with fully-matured Maker’s Mark straight out of the barrel. Participants will receive an in-depth immersion that illustrates the essential role that wood plays in the taste of bourbon, and will select their preferred combination of five types of wood staves with which to finish their custom Maker’s expression. This collection of oak staves – each accentuating different flavors found in fully-matured Maker’s Mark – includes Baked American Pure 2, Seared French Cuvee, Maker’s 46, Roasted French Mocha, and Toasted French Spice. With 1,001 possible stave combinations, participants can create a customized finish and taste profile that is uniquely their own.

After aging for nine additional weeks in a single barrel with the participants’ custom stave combination, the Maker’s Mark Private Select bourbon will be bottled, corked and dipped at cask strength with details such as proof and stave combinations handwritten on the label. Maker’s Mark Private Select Program will be available to Kentucky and Illinois based retailers in its first year and will be expanded to additional markets in 2016.

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


  1. tom on August 16, 2016 at 8:23 am

    I recently purchased a Binny’s Makers Mark Private select barrel # 6. I wanted #2 as this is the one that Binny’s says is a “sweet vanilla bomb” but no #2 barrel bottlings were left at the store nearest me.

    Has anyone tried either of the Binny’s MM Private Select bottllings? Has anyone tried both and how do they compare?

    There weren’t many available so I was glad to get my hands on one of the bottlings.

  2. tom on August 16, 2016 at 8:28 am

    Correction to the Binny’s MMPS bottlings. Barrel #37 is batch #2 which is the so called “vanilla bomb”. Barrel #38 is also batch #6.

    Link to Binny’s blog on the MMPS:

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