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  • Writer's pictureJoseph Bourbon

Maker's Mark Private Selection BloNo HyVee #2

Five staves; 1001 possibilities. The Maker's Mark Private Selection allows retail partners to utilize 5 different staves - up to a total of 10 separate staves - to create a truly unique Maker's expression.

Today we check out the December 2022 second release from the BloNo HyVee #2 - aptly named "Know what's good for shoulder pain?".

BloNo Hy-Vee Private Selection Series #2

We've enjoyed several of the Maker's Mark Private Select / Private Selection, including the Maker's Private Select from the Black Bourbon Society, the delicious AJ's Wine & Spirits pick, the 2022 BRT-02, and the incredibly sweet and flavorful Maker's Mark Private Selection Blo-No Hy-Vee #1.

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 the Bloomington Hy-Vee - Jason - used the following staves to finish the bourbon: 1 Baked American Pure, 1 Maker’s 46, 4 Roasted French Mendiant, and 4 Toasted French Spice.

Each of the staves used add a different flavor profile:

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

  • Maker's 46 delivers dried fruit, vanilla, and spice.

  • 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 109.5 proof.

The Tasting

From our conversation with the department manager, Jason, we're expecting a less sweet and more spicy expression compared to their first release.

Color: Medium amber with an array of thin legs exhibited on the inside of a Glencairn glass.

Nose: Deep, layered, and slightly earthy, with browned sugar, charred oak, and baking spice. There is also a gentle waft of campfire smoke present.

Palate: This bourbon leans into oak and spice (coming from the 4 Roasted French Mendiant and 4 Toasted French Spice staves). Warm vanilla followed quickly by an abundance of spice - cinnamon, cloves, and black pepper.

Finish: Long and dry, with a splash of brown sugar followed by a crescendo of spice and wood char.

Overall: It's always good to make connections with the managers and workers of your local bourbon merchants. Jason was spot on, sharing in a conversation that this was "not as sweet as the first release, and more on the oak and spice spectrum".

Thanks to Jason and the crew of the Bloomington Hy-Vee. You've shown the impact that various types of wood finishing can have on the finished product. This one will stand up to the summer heat - on ice or in a cocktail - with a taste profile that won’t wither in the heat.

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