This past year or so, Jane Bowie and her innovation team embarked on a mission to create a Maker’s Mark finished Bourbon with better mouth-feel. They have never chill-filtered their whiskey, and the result is more Fatty Acids and Esters (FAE), which creates the creamy and silky mouth-feel in whiskey. The first result was the FAE-01 released in March 2021. This is another result of this project, FAE-02.
Like the first FAE-01, this one is aged using staves that were treated only on one side, leaving the other side un-toasted wood. The un-toasted wood adds more of the fatty acids and esters to the whiskey giving Maker’s Mark the results they were working toward in the project. I was fortunate enough to be part of a Zoom tasting of this second batch hosted by Jane and Maker’s Mark marketing team. We started the tasting with a sample of Maker’s Mark cask strength Bourbon to set a standard for the tasting. We then tasted the first FAE to re-familiarize ourselves with the results of the first batch. We then tasted a couple of samples of rejected whiskey to show the difficulty of achieving this goal. Finally, we tasted this new FAE. I liked it. It is good whiskey.
I later sat down with Matt Kohorst, my nephew and tasting partner, to taste this newest whiskey from Maker’s Mark. Here are the results of that tasting.
Maker’s Mark FAE-02
Age: No Age Statement
- Mike: Caramel and butterscotch candy with a hint of oak wood.
- Matt: Caramel and Butterscotch with a little vanilla and spice.
- Mike: Lots of buttered caramel with a little green apple and oak. Tasted with a dried cranberry, and the apple is enhanced and a note of black pepper comes out. Tasted with a pecan and notes of milk chocolate come forward and even more pepper spice.
- Matt: A very creamy mouth-feel with candied apples, caramel and a hint of oak. The dried cranberry brought out notes of citrus and cherries, with green apple and caramel. The pecan brought out chocolate and leather notes.
- Mike: Long with oak wood and black pepper spice. The cranberry had lingering green apple notes joining the oak and pepper. The pecan made the finish very strong in black pepper flavor.
- Matt: Long with oak, cinnamon apple and leather. The dried cranberry made the finish shorter with black pepper and candied apple. The pecan made the finish very long with leather and oak with lots of black pepper.
The Maker’s Mark innovation team has met the challenge and produced a tasty whiskey. Matt and I both thought it an excellent drink of whiskey and would be happy to purchase a bottle when we find it. It will be released in the American markets, but not overseas. There were only 250 barrels of this whiskey made. The good news is that these 250 barrels will all have about 53 gallons of whiskey in them.
The process Maker’s Mark uses to create this whiskey is simple – take barrels of Maker’s Mark and dump them in a holding tank. Take the barrels apart and add the extra staves to finish the whiskey to the barrel and re-assemble the barrel. Re-fill the barrel with 53 gallons of aged Maker’s Mark and let it age in the “cave” for several weeks. The result is, there is very little angel’s share and every barrel yields close to 53 gallons of whiskey. I estimate that there will be about 65,000 bottles of this whiskey for sale. It is limited, but there are enough bottles that it should be possible to find in liquor stores.
Photos Courtesy of Rosemary Miller