Bourbon By Nino Marchetti / September 12, 2019 The popular Maker’s Mark distillery in Loretto, Kentucky has been on a mission of making good bourbon whiskey since founder Bill Samuels, Sr. began a focus on that spirit type in 1953. Success to his formula was making bourbon in small batches, using soft red winter wheat to enhance the softness and sweetness, as the story goes. Fast forward to today and the brand, still in the Samuels family but owned by Beam-Suntory, has debuted what’s being called its first ever nationally available, limited release bourbon.The new Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2019 Limited Release: Stave Profile RC6, according to those behind it, is a cask strength expression of the flagship Maker’s Mark bourbon that’s been finished with proprietary wood staves, referred to as Stave Profile RC6. Specifically how this came to be, noted the distillery team, is that it wascreated to introduce a version of Maker’s Mark that amplified the ripe fruit notes already found in the distillery’s proprietary yeast, balancing sweetness and spice. This specific vision was achieved by finishing fully-matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a second barrel with ten proprietary “RC6” wood staves. 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 the expression’s unique flavor.Developed over the course of two years in partnership with barrel producer Independent Stave Company, Stave Profile RC6 is made from American Oak that has first been exposed to the outdoors, or “seasoned,” for an extended 18 months before being toasted in a convection oven.This special edition bourbon, it is said, is the first limited release in the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series, a collection of Maker’s Mark expressions that use a wood stave-finishing technique to enhance flavor characteristics already present in the Maker’s Mark line. The distillery plans to introduce new limited-edition bourbons to the series in the coming years.Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2019 Limited Release (image via Beam-Suntory)“We have been experimenting with wood finishing staves and techniques since we first released Maker’s Mark 46 in 2010,” said Jane Bowie, Maker’s Mark Director of Private Select, in a prepared statement, “and it never ceases to amaze me how much natural flavor we can extract from just ten wood staves interacting with our bourbon over a period of time.“Stave finishes allow us to innovate with an already delicious product in a purposeful fashion, exploring different wood types, seasoning periods, cook times, and heat levels until we achieve the exact flavor vision we have in mind. We’re excited to share the distinct possibilities with whisky fans, starting with the 2019 Limited Release.”Only 255 barrels of this new Maker’s Mark bourbon are being released, taking the form of a 108.2 proof bottling pricing around $60 per 750 ml bottle. It should be available in select markets beginning this month.