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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Maker's Mark Private Selection

I recently happened across this bottle at AJ’s Wine & Spirits in Mahomet, Illinois. We enjoyed the Maker’s Private Select from the Black Bourbon Society last year and saw that this selection had amped up both the variety of the staves and the proof.

AJ’s Private Selection

The Maker’s Mark Private Selection line was introduced in 20015. Individuals and groups can take a traditional Maker’s Mark barrel - with a mash bill of 70% corn, 15% wheat, and 14% malted barley - and finish it with a mix of staves to, basically, “make their own Maker’s”. The program provides the typical Maker’s Mark mash bill of 70% corn, 16% wheat, and 14% malted barley and allows it to be finished in a single barrel selection. The mixture of staves could result in over 1,001 possible combinations.

The AJ’s pick selected the following stave finishings: 1 Baked American Pure, 2 Seared French Cuvee, 2 Maker’s 46, 3 Roasted French Mocha, and 2 Toasted French Spice.

Each of the stave varietals add a different flavor profile:

  • Baked American Pure adds brown sugar, vanilla, caramel, and spice.

  • Seared French Cuvee is ridge-cut and seared with infrared heat, resulting in toasty notes of oak and caramel.

  • Maker's 46 delivers dried fruit, vanilla, and spice (note that a barrel with 10 of these staves would render a cask-strength Maker’s Mark 46).

  • Roasted French Mocha staves are cooked at high-heat in a convection oven, adding pleasant traces of coffee, maple, and cacao.

  • Toasted French Spice is toasted in a convection oven, first at high heat and then low heat, resulting in smoke, coumarin, and spice.

Once the aged barrels are selected, the selected staves are added and the barrels aged an additional nine weeks in the cool temperature limestone cellar. The finished product was bottled at 109.3 proof. The Tasting Color: Deep copper with wispy legs dripping down the inside of the Glencairn glass. Nose: There's an initial dose of alcohol, so I'm going to let this one breathe a bit. I catch notes of caramel-apple pie and vanilla bean ice cream. A couple of drops of water really opens up the caramel and vanilla notes. Palate: Deeply layered with vanilla, baking spices, and fruit notes. A drop of two of water brings some lighter fruitier notes to the surface, bittersweet chocolate, and further enhances the sweet cream-vanilla taste. Finish: A long finish coating your entire tongue and throat with cinnamon red hots and vanilla. There's a good amount of heat here on the backside that wasn't as pronounced in the nose and palate. Overall: This one looked interesting with all of the staves selected - especially the 3 Roasted French Mocha. Each one of the Private Selections you find is likely to be unique Be on the lookout for one of the 1,001 unicorns out there!

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