Maker’s Mark Bourbon Taste Test: Jay Cutler, Brandon Try Three Bottles of the Classic Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey

by TK Sanders

Outsider’s Jay Cutler and Brandon Chesbro are back with another round of mid-day bourbon whiskey tasting, this time with minibar staple Maker’s Mark. The mission, as always, is simple: to discover what the various tiers of different bourbons taste like within the same company. And then, to decide which offering makes the most sense for certain occasions.

In the previous tasting session, Jay and Brandon tried the three major tiers of Las Vegas whiskey brand Smoke Wagon. They decided that all three flavors tasted great and that the middle-tiered Small Batch probably made the most sense for entertaining. This week, the boys tried the original Maker’s Mark, the Cask Strength, and the Maker’s 46. Let’s see which they preferred.

Maker’s Mark Whiskey

  • Nose: Woody oak, caramel, vanilla and wheat prevail in the nose
  • Palate: Sweet and balanced with caramel, vanilla and fruity essences
  • Finish: Smooth and subtle
  • Proof: 90 proof, or 45% alcohol by volume
  • MSRP: $20.95

“I love that smell,” Brandon noted the second he raised his first glass of the day. It should also be noted that Brandon began the review by declaring that Maker’s is one of his favorite brands, ever, just behind Weller’s. “It’s caramel and wheat, good stuff.”

“I don’t know,” Jay rebutted, “I feel like we just drank this in college.” Little did Brandon know, but he was about to realize that his tastebuds had matured since last sipping MM straight.

“Wow, I haven’t had this in a while,” Brandon admitted. “Maybe my palette has evolved. This is interesting. That is totally not a ‘bourbon’ taste. That’s wild. It’s like eating flowers.”

“I feel like there’s a lot of sugar in it,” Jay said. “Not a huge burn afterward. It’s fine. It would probably taste good in an Old Fashioned.”

Maker’s Mark 46

  • Nose: Hints of French oak and caramelized sugars
  • Palate: Mildly sweet and uniquely layered with big notes of vanilla, caramel and baking spice
  • Finish: Smooth, subtle, and pleasingly long
  • Proof: 94 proof, or 47% alcohol by volume
  • MSRP: $30.95

“Maker’s 46 is representative of the profile number — a recipe number,” Brandon explained.

“It smells like Maker’s,” Brandon admitted. “So let’s see if that French oak barrel gives it something different.” One sip later, Brandon had his answer. “I think it’s worse [than the original],” he said.

“A lot of vanilla,” Jay said, “tons of vanilla. I’m not sure how they got that much vanilla in there. It’s smooth, but it’s vanilla.”

“They’re both just kind of funky,” Brandon said. Luckily, though, Jay had a brief flash of genius to save the 46 from total bourbon relegation. “This is your eggnog bourbon,” he declared. “When we do a Christmas edition, this is in the mix, guaranteed.”

The Christmas conversation led to a very ridiculous admission from Brandon about his tastes in other liquors, but you’ll have to watch the video to hear what he said.

Cask Strength

  • Nose: Big oak, vanilla and smoky charcoal
  • Palate: Richer, more robust flavors of spice, vanilla and smoke
  • Finish: Longer finish on front of tongue with no roughness or bitterness
  • Proof: 108-114 proof, or around 55% alcohol by volume
  • MSRP: $49.95

“Full-flavored yet still smooth, soft red winter wheat, you get the gist,” Jay said, reading off the label. “I do like the bottle and the label. The [dripping red] wax, it’s a classic look.”

“It’s basically what we just had on steroids,” Brandon noted. “All the flavors punched. I like the spice of it. It’s got that kick to it.”

“I’ll tell you what,” Jay decided, “if I’m going to drink any of them, it’s going to be that one. It still has a lot of sweetness. Very sweet. Almost syrupy, that’s a good term for it.”

“I feel like if I had a full closet full of whiskey, these are going to be the last ones I drink,” Brandon admitted. “It’s just our opinion. There’s millions of Maker’s lovers out there. To each their own.”

“We agree, cheers to that,” Jay concluded. Be sure to come back next time for another taste test!