Wednesday, October 1, 2014
The Export Maker's Mark: Black and Gold
Since I tried the new Maker's Mark Cask Strength earlier this week, I thought it would be fun to try some of their earlier experiments. Maker's Mark used to say it had only one product (before Maker's 46 was introduced), but in fact, they had additional products for export. Maker's Black was slightly higher proof than the regular Maker's and included older whiskeys. Maker's Gold was regular Maker's at 101 proof. Both of these bottles were exports for the Japanese market.
Maker's Mark Black, 47.5% abv (circa 2001)
The nose is all candy bourbon. The palate is much less sweet than standard Maker's with some oak notes. Toward the end it gets bitter and medicinal with a medicinal finish on the palate and some nice oaky bourbon notes on the nose. This is very different from today's standard Maker's and has a lot of commonality with lower end Stitzel-Weller bourbons. In fact, tasting blind, I would have been likely to guess that it was one of those Stitzel-Wellers, maybe a Cabin Still.
Maker's Mark Gold, 50.5% abv (circa 2000)
The nose is light with some Christmas spice, unusual in a wheater, and maybe a touch of BO (or maybe I just need a shower). The palate has honey, tea, some spice and a touch of lemon rind; it ends with lemon rind and mint. The finish is slightly medicinal. The spice is nice and unexpected element of this one.
Both of these were certainly an improvement on the standard Maker's Mark of today. While neither was amazing, they were solid and interesting bourbons, definitely worth a try. That being said, I thought the brand new cask strength Maker's was better than both of these older bottlings.
Many thanks to Kevin A. for the photo and samples.