Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength

When Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength appeared at NCABC I snagged a bottle through a friend. At $60 it wasn’t exactly a bargain bin purchase, but it does ring in at 109.6 proof. This is of course the cask version of Maker’s Mark 46, but with higher alcohol comes a higher price. Where standard MM46 is somewhat subdued, the MM46CS tends to showcase similar attributes accompanied by a notable level of alcohol. The aroma contained caramel, black pepper, leather, and cherries with notable, yet restrained, alcohol. The flavor was nicely complex and showcased more black pepper, leather, and caramel. The fruity nature of the aroma is similarly present in the flavor. The finish is a pleasant mix of leather, pepper, caramel, and alcohol long into the finish. With the subdued nature of the alcohol and other attributes it makes me question whether or not it is worth the price of admission, especially when you consider MMCS is only 40 beans on sale. All things considered it’s a nice bottle even if it it doesn’t have the best price point. If you are a Maker’s Mark fan then seek out a bottle and give it a whirl. I think you will be glad you did.

Bulleit Bourbon Single Barrel NC

When Bulleit Bourbon Single Barrel Hand crafted for NC hit the shelves to rave reviews I knew I needed to find a bottle. It didn’t take much to come home with a bottle from ABC, but it didn’t exactly come cheap. The price in NC was $60 for the 52% ABV (104 proof) single barrel Bourbon. The neck tag has a place for the Barrel Number, but nothing was on it other than being signified as Hand crafted for NC. There is a rumor, and incorrect rumor, but nonetheless a rumor that this is actually Four Roses juice. I’ll speak about that in a minute, but in the meantime I’ll discuss my impression of the bottle. The aroma was filled with floral and citrus notes, namely orange peel. Immediately the nasal passages perceive brown sugar sweetness, leather, oak, and a restrained presence of alcohol. The flavor presented very similar with orange, brown sugar, leather, oak, hints of black pepper, and more retained alcohol. The finish was extremely pleasant with brown sugar, oak, and black pepper lasting and fading into the finish. The alcohol was notable with the warming post consumption, but was retrained from start to finish. This is a darn tasty bottle of Bourbon. My impression is this is quite similar. I’ve not created a detailed review of Four Roses so I need to revisit. Bulleit says this is not Four Roses distillate and barrels, but my palate says it might be 4R. No matter what, Four Roses Single Barrel is less expensive than this Bulleit Single Barrel, so I’d suggest you grab a 4RSiB instead, unless money is burning a hole in your pocket. The bottom line is this bottle is delicious.

Yellowstone Select Bourbon

Recently Yellowstone Select Bourbon went on sale at NCABC for $37, so I figured why not take it out for a spin. Some of the reviews online had been mixed, but after picking up an excellent bottle of Yellowstone Hand Picked it was time to find out for myself. At 93 proof this bottle lands just under my preferred alcohol level of 100 proof, but again, I did not let that deter me in my quest to make up my own mind. I’ll bottom line it for you, this bottle is definitely worth the price of admission. The aroma begins with a very nice cedar spice note, leather, light citrus, cherries, and hints of sherry. The flavor has a wonderful brown sugar backbone, more cherries, rye and cedar spice, oranges, and a bit of black pepper. The finish is spicy rye and black pepper with lingering brown sugar and alcohol into the finality of the aftertaste. The alcohol was present, yet restrained, throughout the flavor, and really only played a part in the post consumption warming. Anyway, if you spot this for a similar price point I’d suggest you give it a try. I know I’ll try to snag another bottle the next time I see it at a great price point. Thumbs up!

The Whistler Double Oaked Irish Whiskey

I happened upon a bottle of The Whistler Double Oaked Irish Whiskey while at the ABC store, and with a $30 price tag figured I should give it a try. This 80 proof Irish Whiskey is matured in Bourbon barrels, and then transferred to Oloroso Sherry casks for six months additional aging prior to bottling. The total aging time is more than 3 years in total. The aroma was filled with sherry, honeysuckle, black pepper, leather, and a solvent alcohol note. The flavor was sherry, more honeysuckle, leather, low black pepper, and a fruity peach character. The finish turns toward dry with leather and low peach lasting with hints of pepper and sherry long into the aftertaste. The alcohol was notable in the flavor, but never overdone and always working in tandem with the other characteristics of this whiskey. For 30 beans this isn’t a bad glass at all. I don’t particularly want to run out and snag another bottle with that odd solventy note to the aroma, but I am intrigued enough to see if I can find more bottles from Boann Distillery. I like what they are doing with the final aging in Sherry casks, and the price of admission is very good. Try it and let me know what you think.

Maker’s Mark 46

I had been waiting on Maker’s Mark 46 to go on sale, so when it did I snagged a bottle in a gift pack with a stopper for $36. According to the website and bottle, they take standard Maker’s Mark and insert ten seared virgin French oak staves into the barrel and finish it for nine weeks in their limestone cellar. The name pays homage to the stave which was “Stave Profile No. 46” in their files. Enough about the history, let’s talk about the taste of this 47% ABV Bourbon. The aroma has a very nice leather and low peppery spice coupled to low brown sugar and caramel notes. The flavor has a deep caramel flavor with vanilla, oak, leather, and pepper. The alcohol starts to become apparent in the flavor and leads to a dry finish of leather and oak long into the aftertaste. The post consumption warming is notable and pleasant, but any higher and it might come off as hot. I’ve been thinking throughout this entire bottle it was rather boring, but as I stare at the empty bottle it actually dawned on me it had a nice complexity. For a $36 bottle of Bourbon it is no slouch. If standard Maker’s is $32 and I can snag this for four bucks more I would do so all day everyday. So if you see a bottle of Maker’s 46 at a great price bring it home to meet the family, you won’t be disappointed if the price is right.

Tenjaku Blended Whisky

One day I was perusing at the ABC store and came across Tenjaku Blended Whisky at a $40 price point and figured I would give it a whirl. The 40% abv whisky is reported to be blended from all Japanese whisky so it seemed like it should be a great bottle. Unfortunately it didn’t quite seem to be worth the price of admission as it was subdued from start to finish. The aroma was vanilla with cedar and a floral nature coupled to pears with just a touch of pepper. The flavor was similarly restrained with pears, very light peaches, cedar, pepper, and a leather flavor lingering into the aftertaste. Alcohol played a secondary role in the aroma and the flavor, but came forth at the finish and with a notable post consumption warming. While extremely easy to consume due to the lower percentage of alcohol, the complexity was too subdued for a Japanese Whisky in my opinion. This had more in common with an Irish Whisky than a bottle from Japan and most Irish has a lower price point. It’s good, but not mind blowing so buy it if you must, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find a bottle unless you are a fan of Japanese Whisky and have as a goal to get everything you can get your hands on.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength

Happened to catch Maker’s Mark Cask Strength on sale at NCABC for $45. The batch was 20-03 with a proof of 109.8. Wasn’t sure how this would pan out after I revisited standard Maker’s Mark and found it a bit underwhelming. (Note to self, pick up a bottle of Maker’s in the near future and pen a blog post.) After opening and giving this a taste it was immediately apparent this was a different beast. The aroma was filled with brown sugar coupled to peppery alcohol and light citrus. Oak, leather, and tobacco rounded out the aroma and were wonderfully complex. The flavor began with sweet brown sugar and immediately evolved into a myriad of characteristics including oak, leather, citrus, more brown sugar, and light pepper. The alcohol was present throughout, but only gave me hints of the proof in the post consumption warming. This was a delicious Bourbon worth every penny of the price of admission. These do tend to vary by batch so if you get one which is not as complex as I described, pick another. I know my plan is to find several to see how they vary batch to batch. If they are anything close to this bottle then it will be a fantastic Bourbon.

Maker’s Mark 101

When Maker’s Mark 101 was first released it was a 1 liter bottle and if I remember correctly only available at duty free airport shops. Then 2020 saw at least one bright light when a 750 ml bottle was released and North Carolina was lucky enough to receive bottles. Of course the proof is 101 and it comes in a red box so it is easy to spot on the shelf. Another plus is the price is $41.95 plus tax in NC. The price of admission almost everywhere else is more. Let’s get to what matters. The aroma is quite nice being filled with light pepper spice, brown sugar, leather, oak, and slight citrus. The flavor is complex with brown sugar, leather, oak, low pepper spice, low citrus, and a light aftertaste of alcohol and passion fruit. There is a definite warming post consumption which alerts you to the alcohol level. All in all this is a very well done Bourbon and is one which will always be welcomed in my bar. If you spot it on a shelf, snag a bottle and give it a whirl.

The Walking Dead Bourbon – Spirits Of The Apocalypse

When The Walking Dead Bourbon arrived in NC it was $35 and just a bit more than I was willing to spend for an unknown bottle of Bourbon. While traveling I happened upon it in another state for $25 and at that price I was more than willing to risk it. I noticed some unflattering comments so I decided to tread with caution when in reality I should have thrown caution to the wind. This turned out to actually be a nice drop. The aroma was leather, brown sugar, pepper spice, caramel, and hints of alcohol. The flavor was deceptively smooth with dark cherries, brown sugar, caramel, more pepper spice, and pleasant warming alcohol into the aftertaste. The finish is cherries and prunes with brown sugar and alcohol fading into the finality of the finish. The rumor is this is Heaven Hill juice and at 47% ABV it doesn’t disappoint. If you are a fan of any of the three shows and Bourbon you must have a bottle of this at the ready. TWD returns in February so find one to enjoy while you watch the final season.

Knob Creek 12 Year

After seeing several rave reviews from others I picked up a bottle of Knob Creek 12 Year. I don’t recall the price of admission, but I think it’s typically around 60 beans. This Knob Creek variant is 100 proof which falls exactly where I typically prefer my Bourbons to be for optimal consumption neat. The nose is lightly floral with brown sugar and leather complimented by oaky char and wafts of alcohol. The flavor was more leather and oak with brown sugar and low warming alcohol. The pepper spice background lasts long into the aftertaste with hints of cinnamon and anise. The finality of the aftertaste is lingering pepper, brown sugar, and alcohol. While I enjoyed this Bourbon, it didn’t blow my socks off. If I paid full boat then I would have thought I paid too much as there are more complex bottles at the same price point or less. If you are a KC fan then give it a whirl, otherwise save the coin for another bottle.