Maker’s Mark CS

"I find some interesting differences with other bourbons that I tasted so far, could it be the red winter wheat? I am not sure, but it makes this bourbon a very interesting one"

(Photo from Whiskybase)

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With the square bottle and red wax seal, apparently applied by hand, Maker’s Mark stands out from the standard line of bourbon brands. The distillery that is located in Loretto, Kentucky, chooses to focus quality by only producing a select number of expressions. In 2014 the distillery released a cask strength version, first only released in 375 ml bottles at the distillery gift shop, but thereafter rolled out throughout the United States. It is limitedly available on this side of the ocean, however, we can see it more and more. According to the company this is: “Maker’s Mark Bourbon in its purest form … non-chill filtered, … ranges from 108 to 114 proof depending on the barrels” and “surprisingly smooth, this bourbon retains the signature, front-of-the-palate flavours of Maker’s Mark while amping up the notes of oak, caramel, vanilla and spice“. That latter sounds a bit dangerous to me, but let’s see for ourselves. Another remarkable fact is that they used red winter wheat in stead of rye in the mashbill.

Nose

Quite subtle, I mean it is spicy and a lot going on, but not as in-your-face as I expected. Lots of breads and many hints of oranges, mostly resembling freshly pressed juice. There is also some lemon curd, and after a while it develops more fruity scents of raspberries and strawberries, and becomes much sweeter with hints of marshmallows, fruit sugar and strawberry cream. Juicy and I do not detect a massive amount of wood influence, which is very favourable in my book.

Taste

Balanced spices with deep notes of caramel and organic honey. Lovely start on the palate! Again fairly sweetish with caramel, and a few thin spicy notes. However, this quickly makes place for more bitter notes of burned toast and orange skin, together with cereals, and much more spices. Not too many though, and again the wood influence is apparent (more than on the nose) but not too influential. Does not really water to express itself, but it can take some drops. White pepper, all sorts of mint, aniseed, the latter two also in the form of tea, and orange flavoured chocolate. The finish contains more notes of cough sirup.

Overall

I must say I was slightly afraid of the wood influence, but that was ungrounded. The balance and complexity has been achieved and I find some interesting differences with other bourbons that I tasted so far. Could it be the red winter wheat? I am not sure, but it makes this bourbon a very interesting one.

What others say

Whiskybase: 86.00 (23 votes) * Serge Valentin @Whiskyfun: 72/100 * @BreakingBourbon: 4/5 * @TheWhiskeyWash: 92100 * @TheWhiskeyJug: 92/100
Read for yourself

Big thanks to for sharing the sample!

Scores

these are my personal views, so do not take them too seriously… nothing beats tasting these for yourself •

Cask influence
65%
Peat/smoke
5%
  • Cereals
  • Red fruits
  • Mint
Nose 86.5%
Taste 87%
Balance 86.5%
Depth 87.5%
Finish 86.5%
Score