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Maker’s Mark Releases Its 2021 Limited Release Wood Finishing Series

Maker’s Mark recently unveiled the latest addition to their Wood Finishing Series. The 2021 limited release—robotically dubbed FAE-01—is the distillery’s third release in this series and derives its flavors from the unique process being used on the American oak staves that aged the whiskey.

According to Maker’s Mark, the barrels are “cooked on one side only in order to maximize the flavors pulled from the staves—the infrared side for heavier wood extractives and the raw side to allow more fruit-forward elements.” The raw side, meanwhile, is said to “allow more fruit-forward elements (first time Maker’s has used a stave that has raw wood).”

Maker’s Mark 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01
Maker’s Mark 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01 (image via Maker’s Mark)

In addition, the whiskey is non chill-filtered, which it is said “allows long-chain fatty acid esters (FAEs) to remain in the liquid, which contributes to the creamier mouthfeel and helps preserve and elevate the fruit notes.” Maker’s Mark official tasting notes for FAE-01 are below at the end of this article.

“For 2021, we leaned into our column stills and non chill filtering process, which simply put, helps us retain the texture and a higher viscosity of the whiskey,” says Jane Bowie, Maker’s Mark’s director of innovation, in a prepared statement. “What we got is an expression that highlights the fruit-forward taste profile in an unexpected and much welcomed way. It tastes just like a barrel warehouse smells.”

Bottled between 110.3 and 110.6 proof, each 750mL bottle of the Maker’s Mark 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01 will retail for around $60 USD starting this month. Maker’s Mark also promises that a second limited release in their Wood Finishing Series, named FAE-02, will be available this coming fall. Previous releases in this series include 2019’s Stave Profile RC6 and last year’s SE4xPR5.

“This first release tastes just like a Kentucky barrel warehouse smells,” added Bowie. “If you’ve ever walked through a rick house and taken a deep breath, you can almost taste the bourbon in the air, and that’s the experience we’ve created with FAE-01. There’s tons of pleasantly dank wood and tobacco on the nose, and rich, warm raisin and fig on the tongue – it’s literally like sipping on angel’s share.”

  • AROMA: Heavy wood, dark fruit and tobacco
  • TASTE: Deep and dried dark fruits, big mid-palate with strong tobacco and barrel extractives
  • FINISH: Creamy, lingering and round
  • PROOF: Cask strength

Robert Ham

Robert Ham is an arts/culture journalist from Portland, OR whose work has been featured in DownBeat, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and Village Voice.

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