It’s been a while since Maker’s Mark’s iconic wax-sealed bottle was something to aspire to. Probably about as long as it’s been since you last woke up in someone else’s dorm room with a moustache and sideburns drawn on your face in permanent ink (we hope). Maker’s Mark 46 is the first new whiskey from the historic Loretto distillery since 1958, when Bill Samuels Sr. started peddling his sweet, wheaty hooch, and it’s worth giving the label another try.
This new spirit has the same basic DNA as the stuff you lusted after in college; alterations come at the other end of the process, when barrels of original Maker’s are emptied, fitted with toasted oak staves, and refilled. Several months later, Maker’s 46 (the first 45 experiments didn’t cut it, evidently) emerges: redolent of warm cinnamon, caramel, and wood polish, as well as toasted oak and chocolate. The toasted staves impart wood spiciness without the bitter tannins of charred barrels. Slightly higher in alcohol (47% vs. 45%), Maker’s 46 is not as overly sweet, nor as one dimensional, as the original. The same (we hope) is true of you.
$35 for 750ml, makersmark.com/makers46