If you have a sweet spot for Maker’s Mark bourbon, chances are you’re looking for an updated Maker’s Mark price guide. I have yet to meet a whiskey bourbon drinker who didn’t admire the Maker’s Mark bottles.
The look of the label, the shape of the bottle, and the infamous red wax topper. Maker’s Mark is a full-flavored bourbon that’s never sharp or bitter. That’s because Bill Samuel Sr. swapped the rye for soft, red winter wheat.
For a 90 proof bourbon, it has a deep, strong scent. You get typical bourbon flavors like vanilla, toffee, caramel, toasted nut, and oak. However, something that sets Maker’s Mark apart from the rest is the light hints of strawberry!
Fun Fact: Margaret “Margie” Samuels (co-founder of Maker’s Mark) was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2014. She’s the lady behind the red wax, logo, and much more.
It’s believed that she’s the first woman directly involved with a distillery to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
A Brief History of Maker’s Mark
Like many bourbon craftsmen, Bill Samuels wanted to take his family’s 170-year-old recipe and make great bourbon. This sixth-generation distiller accidentally set it on fire, leaving him to search for the ingredients to create his own mash bill recipe.
That must’ve been frustrating, but that didn’t stop him. With some ingenuity and patience, Bill experiments with various flavoring grains. Instead of taking years to find the best combination, Mr. Samuels baked loaves of bread using different grain combinations.
That process saved him time, but during the process, he realized he didn’t want rye (a common ingredient) in the mash bill, and he replaced it with soft, red winter wheat. The hot bite of the rye was gone, making way for the delicate sweetness Maker’s Mark is favored for.
Bill Samuels had the recipe and skills. Margie brought the marketing and appeal. She’s responsible for the signature red wax topper that makes every bottle stand out on the shelves. Her marketing design was brilliant, but it also tells the Maker’s Mark story in a way.
The square-shaped bottle was inspired by Margie’s 19th-century collection of cognac bottles. Margie’s Mark features a star in recognizing the Star Hill Farm where the family lived.
The “S” is for the name Samuels and the Roman numeral of IV (four) symbolizes Bill Sr.’s status as a fourth-generation distiller. (It wasn’t until later that their son, Bill Ju. found out his dad was actually the 6th generation) but the original IV stayed.
The history of bourbon and spirit crafting dates back further than the 1700s. Your average distiller was making his own brew for friends and family, passing his knowledge and techniques on to their next trustworthy distiller, and so on.
Scotch, Irish, Welsh, and German immigrants made their way from their homelands to America; the old recipes gradually evolved to what bourbon is today.
Maker’s Mark Price Guide and Special Variations
|Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon||90||45%||$30-$58|
|Maker’s Mark Cask Strength||108-114||56.6%||$35-$55|
|Maker’s Mark Private Selection||108-114||55.55%||$72|
|Maker’s Mark 46||94||54.8%||$40-$66|
|Maker’s Mark 101||101||50.5%||$40|
|Maker’s Mark Limited Edition: Wood Finishing Series 2021: FAE-02||109.1||55.3%||$60-$100|
Fast forward from 1953, Loretto, Kentucky, to more recent years.
In 2021, Maker’s Mark was awarded a Double Gold medal at the San Francisco Spirits Competition. The product line has also been growing with new additions to their portfolio like Maker’s Mark 46, Mark Cask Strength, and Private Selection.
Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon
This is the bourbon recipe that started it all. It’s what Maker’s Mark is made of. The woody oak, blended with sweet wheat, caramel, and vanilla scents, tantalize the taste buds.
When you taste it, your palate is greeted with a sweet and balanced caramel flavor with vanilla and fruity essences (strawberry) hints. Finally, this bourbon finishes subtle and smooth.
Maker’s Mark bourbon is a little more expensive than Jim Beam.
Maker’s Mark Cask Strength
Cask Strength from Maker’s Mark is bourbon in its purest form. The distillery uses a non-chill filter, and it’s bottled at barrel proof. The proof ranges from 108 to 114, depending on the barrel they poured it from.
It is surprising that it’s so smooth with such a high proof. It has the signature Maker’s Mark on the front palate. The kicker is the amped-up spice notes, oak, caramel, and vanilla.
The Cask Strength has a big, oaky smell with vanilla and smoky charcoal hints. Your palate will experience a more decadent, more robust spice, smoke, and vanilla flavors.
The finish is big, being a longer finish on the front of your tongue minus any bitterness or roughness.
Maker’s Mark Private Selection
Maker’s Mark created their “Wood-finishing” series to explore new and unique expressions of their well-loved signature whiskey. They all start out with a fully matured, cask-strength Maker’s Mark.
When the time’s right, 10 custom wood finishing staves are inserted in each barrel and aged until perfect, nine weeks! The staves come in a combination of five flavor profiles with over a thousand stave combinations possible.
Since the flavor profile varies, you might have to try it yourself; I hear it’s excellent. The Private Selection is aged 5 to 7 years, with an additional finishing time of nine weeks using staves in cold conditions.
Maker’s Mark 46
Maker’s Mark 46 is the first bourbon in the wood-finishing series. Bill wanted to amplify the flavors of the original Maker’s Mark. The wood-stave-finishing process begins with a fully matured Maker’s Mark, but it must be at cask strength.
When the time is right, 10 seared virgin French oak staves are placed in the barrel, and it finishes for 9 weeks in the limestone cellar. The result… a bolder, more complex bourbon without the bitter bite.
The 46 hits the nose with the typical caramel and sweetness, but there are hints of the wood staves. The flavor is very intense. Expect a big crescendo of wood blending effortlessly with deep, complex, rich notes of vanilla and caramel.
It all ends with a smooth and subtle finish.
Maker’s Mark 101
Imagine Maker’s Mark with a bit more to appreciate. There was a recent limited release available for the Maker’s Mark 101. Bill himself liked to tuck some 101 away to give as gifts to friends and share on special occasions.
The aroma is reminiscent of the original Maker’s Mark, but it has a dark bold spice on the nose. The flavor is creamy and rich with soft hints of spice, caramel, and fruit. Many enjoy the mellow, creamy midpalate finish that tends to linger.
Maker’s Mark Limited Edition: Wood Finishing Series 2021: FAE-02
The Wood Finishing Series made a comeback, folks. In the spring of 2021, after the FAE-01, Maker’s Mark decided to offer a fourth, limited release of the wood experimentation.
The FAE-o2 honors Maker’s signature whiskey with more focus on the mouthfeel. Add to that the notes of different wood combinations all over the place. The process is a bit different with Maker’s Mark using double heat-treated French oak rather than the traditional American oak.
The aroma is toasty with sweet oak, caramel, and slight hints of brown sugar. The texture is forward with rich, deep notes of spice and oak. The long, balanced, consistent texture and tone are something to talk about.
Alternatives & Comparisons
Maker’s Mark didn’t get where it is today because they crafted poor-quality bourbon. That isn’t without excellent competition either. The bourbon world is full of fantastic master distillers with different recipes and techniques.
Behold, the shelf of alternatives.
|Jim Beam Black||Jim Beam Black has a heartier thick flavor than the company’s original label. The taste isn’t too incredibly complex, but it is elevated and sophisticated.||$23-$25|
|Buffalo Trace Bourbon||The buffalo is big and brawny, making the name fitting in more ways than one. Buffalo Trace Bourbon brings a toffee and vanilla flavor with a long, stout finish.||$25-$28|
|Elijah Craig 12 Year||Named after a Southern Baptist minister, Elijah Craig, who discovered storing whiskey in charred oak barrels packed more flavor. The 12 Year is a nice, firm bourbon. It’s an excellent choice for cold weather as it really warms you up from the inside out.||$24-$26|
|Evan Williams Single Barrel||The Evan Williams Single Barrel is simply cloaked in black! The whiskey bourbon is spicy with highlights of sweet vanilla and caramel.||$27-$30|
|Bulleit||The Bulleit brand is more expensive than Maker’s Mark, but the connoisseurs claim that it’s a great bourbon value and subtler than most.||$36-$40|
How To Drink Maker’s Mark Bourbon
A good bourbon is meant to be sipped; an experience is supposed to come with the drink. However, sipping, shooting, and mixing are all excellent options for this bourbon brand. The smooth taste makes it versatile for numerous cocktails.
Maker’s Mark is also a prime choice for cooking bourbon. Add some flair to your BBQ and grilled meats.
Because there are countless ways to mix Maker’s Mark, the best way is your own personal preference, but here are some delicious ideas. Keep it simple with a Maker’s and Coke or spruce it up.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Maker’s Mark gluten-free?
Maker’s Mark hasn’t confirmed nor denied that their whiskey bourbon is gluten-free. Typically, grain that goes through the distillation process is stripped of any gluten, making it gluten-free.
However, there is no supporting evidence.
2. Is Maker’s Mark vegan?
Yes. There are no animal or animal by-products used in Maker’s Mark bourbon distillation.
3. Is Maker’s Mark a bourbon or whiskey?
All bourbon is whiskey; however, all whiskey is not bourbon. Whiskey becomes bourbon when aged in charred barrels, and it must be distilled from a mixture of grains.
Corn has to be 51% of the grain ratio to meet the standards as a bourbon whiskey. So, Maker’s Mark is definitely a bourbon.
4. How do you drink Maker’s Mark?
Bourbon connoisseurs will tell you the proper way to have the whole bourbon experience is by using a specifically shaped glass. A thick bottom with a wide top allows the bourbon to breathe and helps the aromatic delivery.
Mix it, shoot it, or sip it! It’s all up to you.
Interesting Facts about Maker’s Mark
Margie hand-dipped the first bottles of Maker’s Mark in her kitchen using a home fryer. No two bottles are exactly alike, even though each sip tastes like the one you just had.