Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Maker's Mark bottles are dipped in wax which adds 8% more fancy.I'm back again, polluting the internet with my amateur whisky reviews. While my posts aren't ill-conceived, the notion that I know whisky probably is. However, whisky is a very personal thing.

Reading reviews I find I'm sometimes baffled by the elaborate or curious descriptions given. Chocolate? Creme brulee? Baked goods? In whisky? Well, sure. And I probably smell things that other people don't too. It's just how your brain interprets the scent.

On my way home from Costa Rica, which smells like bananas and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, I made a pit stop at the airport's mega-tiny Duty Free. When I say small, I mean it. I've been in bathroom stalls bigger than this place.

The store was so small, I was not able to shop. I had to get in line and shuffle along as the line moved forward, viewing what was on the shelves as I passed them. After about 10 minutes, I saw the very last 750ml bottle of Maker's Mark and grabbed it. Duty Free price: $26.

By most accounts Maker's Mark Straight Kentucky Bourbon is aged between 6 and 7 years. The rich orangey amber bourbon is a "small batch" whisky which means each batch is made from 20 or less barrels.

When I peeled the trademark red wax off the top and poured it, the nose wasn't what I expected: Thick wood, almonds, a hint of spice, and alcohol. But it was all fairly muted. I tried many times, but found it difficult to get a smell of something good and solid.

Maker's Mark tastes like notepads!The taste was much better yet still simple. Caramel, vanilla, pepper and Portuguese cork notepad. Wha??? Yeah, I also noted a very odd flavour - it tastes the way my Portuguese cork notepad smells; kind of musty, but not in a bad way.

The finish was spicy and peppery, which is strange because there's no rye in this bourbon. I'm not sure where the taste comes from, but it's very distinct and strong.

Overall, I didn't like this one as much as I thought I would. I guess the hype this brand has built up around itself backfired. I discussed this with a coworker and he convinced me to give it another chance. But over and over again, there was something about it I didn't love. It really threw me. So I decided to *gasp* try mixing it.

I made two of my favourite drinks, the first using Retro Pepsi, the second using Rootbeer. The Maker's Mark added a creamy vanilla flavour to each one, making them THE best Pepsi & bourbon and Rootbeer & bourbon I've ever had. They were so fantastic in fact, that I will happily sin again. If you think I'm a monster, leave me a comment and let me know!

Duty Free: $26
45% (90 proof)


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Blogger Lorbo said...

mmmm!! Sounds like a drinks night is in order!

1:09:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

I agree! But then again, you are LORBO, so how could I NOT agree?

1:12:00 PM

Blogger Lorbo said...

too true. The foresight my friends had calling me Lorbo!! It has given me tremendous power!
Well, drinks it is! Cheers! You can be the suggestor of all fine liquors to be added to my drinks...

1:25:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...


I sip whiskey and taste only burning. Same with wine. I'm not picking up the fruity notes along with the nutty flavors.

My friend gave me a swig of Jack Daniels Honey.

I'm still waiting for the "sweet" honey notes to appear. No, it didn't go down smoothly like everyone claims it does. I shuttered when I swallowed it.

Maybe it's because of all the drinking I abused my body with in my teens. The mere smell of some of these brews sends my nervous system into convulsions. I can just about handle a Michelob Lite. I do enjoy Carlo Rossi "Sweet Red". Because it's like drinking grape juice.

"On my way home from Costa Rica, which smells like bananas and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers," LMAO! That was funny!

1:43:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

I hear you! I used to be exactly the same! It's because I was drinking crappy to mediocre whisky. Jack Daniels will never go down smooth. American whisky is too "young."

Even the smoothest whiskies will have a very very slight bite when you swallow. But there are two things to do:
1. Try a GOOD whisky (like a fine Scotch) and
2. Hold it in your mouth.

A general rule is to hold it in your mouth 1 second for ever year its aged. So hold a 12 year old whisky for 12 seconds. It will be sweet. Start with something mild, like Auchentoshan, and make sure it's not over 40% (even 45% might be too high).

p.s. I can't stand wine or beer at ALL! And thanks for the LMAO!

3:02:00 PM

Anonymous Zoey Castelino said...

Ah! Comments that work! Ok... now if only I can remember all the brilliant stuff I was going to say about bourbon. ;)

5:57:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

Glad it's working now! I won't pressure you, but write something brilliant! WRITE SOMETHING BRILLIANT!

8:08:00 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I still giggle at the Costa Rica remark!! :)

Hold it in my mouth??? That shit dissolves paint off of cars! Holding it in my mouth will probably eat away any enamel left on my teeth!

I saw something on the History Channel about whiskeys...I will say some looked appetizing (which is the wrong word completely-totally lame novice here). It was fascinating to see how it's processed and distilled (correct wording here-pays to watch History Channel). They stated that Canada produces some of the best whiskey in the world (after Scotland). Be proud of that Auchentoshan stuff!

10:04:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

I swear it's true! Take the tiniest sip and hold it on the tip of your tongue. Then you can slowly move it back into your mouth and see how the flavour changes. Also, some people suggest adding up to 50% water. In your case, maybe try adding 99% water. Haha.

10:16:00 AM

Anonymous Josh Feldman said...

Spot on review, Martini. Maker's Mark is a pretty simple flavor profile. Muted... simple... cork... Nailed it. That's why I don't drink MM often - but when I do I'm never annoyed or offended (unless I kill more than half the bottle, of course...)

Glad I finally ran into your blog! I was wondering where it was...

12:41:00 PM

Blogger Martini said...

Thanks very much Josh. You're right. It's not great, it's not offensive. It's just... there.

9:16:00 PM


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