The production of Maker’s Mark started in 1954 at premises, which previously belonged to Burks Distillery. It was bought by William Samuels, the founder of the company. The first bottling came out in 1958 and already has the dipped red wax over the cap, which since has been the trademark of Maker’s Mark products. After plenty of acquisitions Maker’s Mark is currently owned by Beam Suntory.
Mash bill includes 16% wheat, 14% malted barley and 70% corn, but no rye at all. The producer maintains that they distil their bourbon to the lowest proof of any US whiskey distillery. This should retain more flavours than normally. Distillate is matured around six years (or as long as it’s ready) before bottling. There is not an age statement on the label. Bottling batches are said to be rather small, just 19 barrels, so there can be differences between the batches.
Nose is rich, sweet and fruity. Vanilla, caramel, honey and toffee are strongly recognizable. Taste is sweet at the beginning, but 45% strength gives a strong body. Enough long maturation brings plenty of spiciness from oak and the taste turns on the dry side on the end. Taste is not so caramel than the nose promises, the bit higher strengths balance the sweetness very nice and even the mouthfeel is smooth, there is also sturdy spiciness. Maker’s Mark is fascinatingly sweet at the beginning, but when you become used on it, the taste goes a bit one-sided. Anyway, it is much more pleasing than the basic bottles from Jim Beam.