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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Maker's Mark Private Selection BloNo HyVee Series #1

Some of my favorite bourbon-hunting spots are grocery stores. Depending on the venue, there can be great prices as well as unique finds. The local grocery store I frequent recently released their own Maker's Mark Private Selection. When I can, I always enjoy supporting local stores and picks, so let's sit back and give this one a pour.

BloNo Hy-Vee Stave Series #1

This makes the third Maker's Mark Private Select / Private Selection we've reviewed. Last Summer, we enjoyed the Maker's Private Select from the Black Bourbon Society and this Summer, we reviewed the delicious AJ's Wine & Spirits pick from a nearby store.

All Private Selection varieties begin with the Maker's Mark mash bill of 70% corn, 15% wheat, and 14% malted barley. From there, it is finished with a mix of staves, allowing 1,001 different combinations to arrive at a custom expression.

The local liquor department manager of Hy-Vee, Jason, used the following staves to finish the bourbon: 1 Baked American Pure, 4 Seared French Cuvee, 0 Maker’s 46, 3 Roasted French Mendiant, 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.

  • Roasted French Mendiant starts with French oak that is cooked on low in a convection oven. It adds pleasant traces of milk, chocolate, nuts, and dried dark fruit.

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

Overall, the process begins with traditional barrels of Maker’s Mark that are aged between 5 3/4 to 7 years. The barrels are then opened and finished another 9 weeks in cold conditions with the selected staves. The finished product was bottled at 110.3 proof.

The Tasting

From the description at the local Hy-Vee, we're told to expect super sweet up front, sweetness gets karate kicked to the background by a not unpleasant heat followed by slight pepper with very floral notes and a smooth finish.

Color: Dark ocher with thin legs exhibited on the inside of a Glencairn glass.

Nose: Sweet vanilla custard and creme' brulee notes. A couple drops of water intensifies the vanilla.

Palate: Vanilla layered with spice and crabapple florals that light up the front palate. The drop or two of water tames nearly all the spice and brings toasted wood to balance the sweeter notes.

Finish: A long finish coats all areas of my mouth with cinnamon-pepper spice that is equally balanced by sweet vanilla.

Overall: I enjoy drinking local (and like a local). Jason and the crew at the Bloomington Hy-Vee - you hit one out of the park with this Private Selection. I've struggled to enjoy Maker's Mark Cask Strength. Priced at $69, this high-proof expression had sweet and spice that was balanced and exceptionally smooth. Score one for the home team!

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