After 52 years, Maker's Mark tries something new & gives Texas first dibs
You know the saying, if it's not broke, don't fix it. It's an attitude that has served Maker's Mark well for the past 52 years. While other liquor companies rush to capitalize on the latest flavor fad (hello, berry açai vodka), Maker's Mark has always stuck with what they know: Smooth, smoky, highly drinkable bourbon.
But after 52 years, the company was ready to try something new. Eschewing the traditional plan of going upmarket by tweaking the water input by leaving the spirit in the barrel longer, Maker's 46 produced a deeper and richer flavor profile from a new way of treating the staves (barrels) at the end of the distillation process.
"We tried all sorts of different things. But it wasn't until we came upon ... the profile 46 stave that had been seared on the outside, designed differently, heated differently, that caused the flavors we were looking for: the oak toast aroma to come through, those deeper, richer vanilla caramel notes, and the most amazing piece was that spiciness that came out of it that wasn't bitter, that wasn't that traditional whiskey, burn-the-back-of-your-throat type of flavor," Maker's Mark Master Distiller Kevin Smith says.
In Houston, Maker's 46 had a coming out party at the Heights Theatre in Gallery M2, with some of the city's top mixologists on hand, including Claire Sprouse of Beaver's, Anthony Montz from Hearsay and Mike Raymond of Reserve 101, to show off the new tipple at its best.
The result? 46 on its own was more aggressively flavorful (Drinkspirits notes butterscotch, vanilla bean, baked apple, bran cereal and "huge" maple syrup) with a strong but sweet aftertaste.
If Maker's Mark is a great classic drink for a bourbon newbie, this is a logical step towards a more complex, aromatic spirit with a familiar Maker's Mark flavor profile behind it, with a sleeker bottle to match. But don't worry — the red wax isn't going anywhere.
Maker's 46 is now on the shelves at Spec's midtown warehouse. Texas is the first state that Maker's rolled out the new bourbon in, building up to a national launch.