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If you’re a regular reader of this blog and review website let me first off thank you so much for getting your whiskey content here (or with my co-host Jay on Weekly Whiskey & the Whiskey Raiders Podcast). Now, with that out of the way, I will reference the press announcement of this new Limited Edition release from Maker’s Mark where I quoted Rob Samuels when he spoke to Maker’s Mark and their traditional aging and bottling.
For more than 65 years, aging our whisky for a decade-plus wasn’t something we did
Rob Samuels, Master Distiller Maker’s Mark
I think it’s important for a historic band like Maker’s to release commentary like this alongside Cellar Aged because it underlines the Loretto, Kentucky bourbon producer’s devotion to making their whiskey (or whisky as they spell it) their way all the while taking into account the consumer’s desire to get a premium release with a higher age.
I’ve pondered the idea of Maker’s Mark releasing an age-stated (or well-aged) product for a number of years, and while I found myself in the vocal group of enthusiasts who wanted to get a bottle just like this in my sweaty paws, I also had to admit to myself that Maker’s Mark had painted–or perhaps wax dipped–themselves into a bit of a corner (awful pun intended).
Having stood by the mantra that their product is aged to taste not time would lead the consumer to believe that Maker’s Mark tastes best at the age they bottle it. Who would know their product better than the producer after all? Would releasing a more expensive, older, cask strength product as bourbon geeks ask for ultimately devalue the flagship product and subsequent releases such as Maker’s Mark 46 or even their Wood Finishing Series? I can’t answer that question for them, but I could certainly understand that question alone giving them pause to take a plunge like they have with Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged.
Okay so what exactly is Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged bourbon? The press material tells us that this is a blend of 11 and 12 year bourbons, and while they don’t often highlight this tidbit, Maker’s Mark does not chill filter any of their releases, so that’s one more check in the column of the enthusiast’s spreadsheet.
The inaugural release of Cellar Aged is a marriage of 12-year-old and 11-year-old whisky – 87% and 13%, respectively – bottled at cask strength (115.7 proof).
At this point I feel comfortable sharing that I am unusually excited to try this bottle for a few reasons. First and foremost I think it’s just pretty damn cool to see a brand who has been late to the limited edition party start to really explore the more premium side of the whiskey market. I’m also excited simply because I’ve always liked Maker’s Mark products, but felt like they fell into the camp of wheated bourbons (and wheat whiskeys) that, for me, are tasty on their own but feel like they could benefit from a little more oomph in the complexity department. Does Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged punch me in the palate with depth and complexity? Let’s pour some into a glencairn glass and find out.