Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Beam-Suntory. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review.
Maker’s Mark isn’t necessarily late to the game when it comes to adventurous whiskey, but they definitely weren’t the first. With the release of Maker’s 46 around 10 years ago they launched into their own version of the barrel-finishing world. Their Wood Finishing Series is their unique take on how to add a final influence onto the flavor of the whiskey. Pretty much anyone who does this takes a whiskey that they’re likely happy with already, and they move it into another cask that will add a significantly different (or more) character. PX Sherry, pinot noir, newly toasted French oak; these are all examples.
Makers Mark, for this release, takes fully-matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon and puts it in a second barrel with ten proprietary “RC6” wood staves that are suspended on a ring. The barrels were then rested in the Maker’s Mark limestone bourbon cellar, allowing the cask strength bourbon to interact with the staves to develop flavor. The RC6 stave profile features American oak staves that were dried for 18 months outdoors before a convection oven toast. Around 255 barrels of the final aged product was released.
I’m not sure if the RC6 Private Select is chill filtered, but it doesn’t appear to be. My sample has collected a small amount of sediment in the bottom, putting a smile on my face as I revisit it a few weeks after receiving it. Bottled at 108.2 proof indicates an uncut whiskey that should pack a nice flavor. This is the first time Maker’s Mark has released a Private Select version nationally, and it took them several years to create. I expect it to be good.
Tasting Notes: Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2019 Stave Profile RC6
Vital Stats: 108.2 proof, 53.9%ABV, $60 for a 750mL
Appearance: Nice amber color, slightly deeper hue than Maker’s Mark. Some sediment in my sample bottle, which I like.
Nose: Baking spices, cinnamon, clove, ginger bread, wheat, soft apricot, red apple and a touch of ripe banana.
Palate: Sweet and pleasant as a wheated bourbon should be! It’s nice to get a kick of alcohol with that soft Maker’s Mark backbone. It’s bolder, with bigger spice and red fruits. The red apple, raspberry and brighter notes comes first as tannins and baking spices come in. It starts to mellow into dessert tones like caramel and toffee. Finally, a touch of chocolate covered banana ends it.
This is a very well crafted bourbon for several reasons. Of course, it appeals to the growing market of curious drinkers. However, it does this in a way that doesn’t alienate your typical Maker’s Mark drinker. It isn’t vastly different from what one expects from the regular Maker’s Mark. Rather, it highlights and lifts the base spirit.
Maker’s Mark has one of the biggest followings in the bourbon world, so don’t mess with it! Just make something special and keep them coming for more! Cheers.
User Review5 (1 vote)
After graduating with an engineering degree in Colorado, Cameron Holck discovered his passion for hospitality. He followed his love of the outdoors into the Pacific Northwest where he continues his dedication to bartending, and as a sales representative for Four Roses Bourbon. He warmly welcomes the fact that a night...