When I was given Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength (108.9 Proof) I thought about how to approach a new product from a well known distiller. There is so much to consider: age, proof, aroma and finish. I thought what better way to give an honest review than to approach it with no preconceived notions. Since I am somewhat of a novice I will review Maker's Mark 46 in the same way.
I'm very familiar with Maker's Mark and last year I tried Maker's Mark Cask Strength which I liked very much. This new offering from Maker's Mark had a lot of allure and anticipation.
This cask strength offering definitely has a cask strength aroma. The first hit on the nose is that of charred and seasoned oak. With the first sniff the brick house came to mind. After a few minutes of allowing the bourbon to breath, the caramel and butterscotch really start to assert themselves. A few more minutes and coffee and spices make this a very enjoyable bourbon so far.
The first flavor that hits you is the spice. Upon the third sip the caramel and butterscotch start to assert themselves. What this bourbon needs is a splash of water to make all of the flavors wake up. That is where the flavor ends with this selection. Upon the fourth drink, the flavors seem to die down and blend in together. There is not a lot of depth in this selection. The complexity is not what you would expect from Maker's Mark. Even regular Maker's Mark Cask Strength is much more complex with a more intense flavor profile.
The least enjoyable part of the selection is the finish. Many bourbons have a very enjoyable finish that almost highlight the experience. When I finished the 46, the finish was almost bitter. Almost a lack of taste with just the heat of the alcohol.
Maker's 46 Cask Strength was not totally unenjoyable by any means. It just does not seem to be up to the standards of Maker's Mark in my opinion. Between this one and Maker's Cask Strength I would choose the regular Cask Strength expression.
Is this a great bourbon? No, it is not but it is still a solid selection. Is this going to be my selection at bar or restaurant? Probably not. Would I choose it over many other bourbons? Yes, I would. At $40 for a 375mL bottle at the Maker's Mark gift shop I would say this is worth the price, but I would not pay much more than that for this particular bottle.