Maker’s Mark Tour &Tasting (No Comments)
Last month my GF and I had a once in a lifetime opportunity to attend the 138th running of the Kentucky Derby, and while there we decided to hit-up Maker’s Mark for a little Bourbon tasting. Located in Loretto just about an 1hr 20min outside of Louisville, Makers Mark has been producing some of the world’s finest Bourbons since 1954, when original owner T. William Samuel Sr., purchased the distillery known as “Burk’s Distillery”. Although the first bottle of Maker’s wasn’t released until 1958, the vision of amazing hand crafted Bourbon & hand dipped bottles was already apparent, and is now trademarked. Touring the grounds a few days prior to the Derby, we were amazed at the rich history this place held. On the property we walked through one of Kentucky’s few remaining covered bridges that are still in use today as well as one of the oldest liquor sales buildings in the United States. As we took our tour and sipped some of Maker’s signature pre-blended (dipped in green wax) Mint Julep, we were taken into the mash house and saw how the mash was fermented in open top tanks, prior to being piped into the still were it is distilled, refined and sent to barrel. Getting the opportunity to see this grueling process first hand was mind blowing. From the extremely large warehouses where thousands of Bourbon barrels age, to seeing the bottling line were each and every bottle is hand dipped, which is just amazing considering the volume of production. Once the tour was done, it was time to get down to business and taste some Bourbon, after all that’s why we made the trip! First up was the Mint Julep to cool us down as the humidity and heat was taking its toll. The Julep has a great mouth feel, not too hot (from alcohol) but well balanced with the amazing mint taste which didn’t over power the rich Bourbon. Next was the original, brilliant amber/caramel in color (although none added as its illegal in Kentucky) spicy vanilla, buttery, with a subtle nuance of maple, and corn. Now the Maker’s 46 which is the original finished product that has 10 staves of seasoned & cooked New French Oak added into the center of the barrel. The barrel is then recapped and aged an additional 3 months. This is a bit darker and richer, carrying some of the same flavors but a bit dryer with more fine oak that gives off nice butterscotchy flavors and richer spices. These fine, hand crafted Bourbons are amazing. The standard to which they are held is to the highest, just check out the LEGAL requirements, to be considered Bourbon. With our tasting coming to an end, we were delighted to have the chance to dip our own bottles. As they say, all Bourbon is Whisky but not all Whisky is Bourbon. Saying our good buys, it was time to hit the road, grab some lunch and get back to Louisville in preparation for a riverboat dinner on the Ohio!