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Maker’s 46 Bourbon Review

Makers 46 Bourbon Review

Disclaimer: A sample of Maker’s 46 bourbon was provided to by Maker’s Mark for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.

There has been a push by the big distilleries in the past few years to capitalize on the bourbon boom and increased interested in trying new bottles by introducing specialty versions of their power brands. Maker’s Mark has always had a “why mess with what works” kind of attitude when it comes to their bourbon but eventually they did release a premium version in the form of Maker’s 46. Rather than doing a small batch or older version of Maker’s Mark they decided to go the route of finishing with a different wood to add complexity of character. Here is what they have to say about it:

A collaborative effort between the Maker’s Mark Distillery and Barrel Maker and “Wood Chef” Brad Boswell of Independent Stave Company, Maker’s 46 is a bit stronger and bolder than the original Maker’s Mark, but still soft enough to hold on the tongue, even at 94 proof. Aged longer inside barrels containing seared French oak staves – which create bolder, more complex flavors, while eliminating the bitterness that usually comes with whiskies that are aged longer – 46 delivers a big mouth-watering oaky finish unlike none other. 

Using staves instead of aging in a barrel causes a more intense aging process. Because of this it is only aged an additional few months with the staves in the barrel and they make it only in the winter to slow the aging down. So does the French oak make a big difference with this classic American bourbon? Let’s try it and find out.

Makers 46 Bourbon ReviewMaker’s 46 Bourbon Review

Bourbon Name:  Maker’s 46

Proof: 94

Age: 5-7 years

Year:  2014

How I Drank It:  Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.

My Nose Noticed:*  Corn | Vanilla | Rose | Toasted Oak

First Sip:  Butterscotch | Toasted Oak | Cherry | Chocolate

The Burn:**  When I was first getting into bourbon people talked about how wheated bourbons were sweeter and softer than rye. This confused me because the only wheated bourbon I had tried was Maker’s Mark which I still think has one of the most fiery finishes out there and didn’t come across as sweet or soft in any way. Maker’s 46 still has the characteristic Maker’s burn but it is much softer than the original, especially if you let it sit for a few minutes. It is a burn that flares up your sinus and then slides gently down the back of your throat. This really is a sweet bourbon, with a surprising amount of fruit and cream. The burn is what keeps it from being cloying. The Maker’s 46 nose is much stronger than regular Maker’s Mark and it affects the flavor quite a lot.

In the end, I liked Maker’s 46 much better than traditional Maker’s Mark. But as you may have guessed, I don’t really like Maker’s Mark so perhaps a Maker’s lover should weigh-in with their opinion. The Maker’s Mark fans I talked to said it reminded them more of a scotch which makes sense as this type of finishing has traditionally been more common with scotch.

Neat, Splash or Rocks:  Neat. Adding water or drinking it over ice took away too much of the burn and left if feeling a bit limp.

Share With: A lot of Maker’s Mark loyalists I know seem to be very hesitant to try anything else. Maybe this will get them to branch out. Also a nice choice for people who like sweeter bourbons.

Worth The Price:  At around $35 a bottle this is a fair price. Although, when it comes to a good wheated bourbon there are better values to be had if you can find them, such as Weller Antique.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: If you are a fan of double-barreled or creatively finished bourbons this one is worth having a bottle. Everyone else try it at a bar first.


*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.

**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?

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Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished Bourbon Review

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished Bourbon Review

Disclaimer: A sample of Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask bourbon was provided to me by Jim Beam for this review. I appreciate their willingness to allow Bourbon & Banter to review the bourbon with no strings attached. Thank you.

Last year Jim Beam released a new line of bourbons called Jim Beam Signature Craft. The only permanent expression in this line was also the first release – Jim Beam Signature Craft 12-Year Bourbon. At the same time they also released Jim Beam Signature Craft Bourbon Finished with Rare Spanish Brandy which was the first of a limited release series of small batch bourbons in the Signature Craft line that are to be released annually.

This year’s limited release, Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished, is scheduled for release in September and but we’re thrilled to have a sample provided to us by Jim Beam for early review. Continue Reading →

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J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon Review

Welcome to a new tasting series on lower shelf bourbons. Bourbon & Banter contributor, Thomas Fondano, will be trying out and commenting on bourbons priced under $20. Knowing that not all sub-$20 bourbons will be great, Thomas will be adding a new category to our standard tasting notes – Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan  – to see whether a classic cocktail improves on a straight tasting. We hope you enjoy this new series of reviews and hope you’ll help us shape future reviews by letting us know in the comments what sub-$20 bourbon you’d like us to review next.

 

“Preacher! Go on down and get me some bourbon. J. T. S. Brown. No ice, no glass.” 
- Paul Newman as Eddie Felson, The Hustler

 

I’d noticed J. T. S. Brown sitting on the bottom shelf of my favorite local liquor store and couldn’t figure out why it sounded familiar. After a little research, I went back and bought a bottle. That quote right there is a good enough reason for me to try a bourbon. Also, I’m a sucker for bonded whiskeys that look like their label hasn’t changed in 40 years.


J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond Bourbon ReviewBourbon Name:
  J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond

Proof: 100

Age: NAS – No Age Statement

Year:  2014

How I Drank It:  Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.

My Nose Noticed:*  Caramel Sweetness | Corn

First Sip:  Spicy | Oily | Grassy | Slightly Medicinal

The Burn:**  A lingering finish with an enjoyable Atomic Fireball candy burn that reminds you you’re drinking 100 proof bourbon.

Neat, Splash or Rocks:  A splash of water opens up the sweetness and eases the burn a bit too much for me. If rocks is your thing, it’ll work too. Personally, I find this enjoyable neat.

Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan: Drink this one straight! The Old Fashioned will come out okay if you half your normal amount of sugar. The Manhattan was cloying like someone added the liquid from a jar of cheap maraschino cherries, which I did not.

Share With: Friends who like bonded bourbons.

Worth The Price:  At $13.75, yes. It’s a sturdy sipper.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: Bottle, though if you manage to find it in a bar it would pair nicely with a beer. While I can’t fully endorse Mr. Felson’s drinking style, J. T. S. Brown Bottled in Bond is an enjoyable budget whiskey.

 

 

 

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?

 

 

 

 

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Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon Review

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon Review

Welcome to a new tasting series on lower shelf bourbons. Bourbon & Banter contributor, Thomas Fondano, will be trying out and commenting on bourbons priced under $20. Knowing that not all sub-$20 bourbons will be great, Thomas will be adding a new category to our standard tasting notes – Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan  – to see whether a classic cocktail improves on a straight tasting. We hope you enjoy this new series of reviews and hope you’ll help us shape future reviews by letting us know in the comments what sub-$20 bourbon you’d like us to review next.

 

Last year I hosted a bourbon tasting for some friends. We tasted the entire high-rye Mash Bill #2 from Buffalo Trace which consists of Ancient Age, Elmer T. Lee, Blanton’s, Rock Hill Farms and Hancock’s President’s Reserve. The $10 Ancient Age was a surprise hit among this group of single barrel bourbons.

When I saw Ancient Ancient Age in a liquor store a month ago I was excited to give it a try. How would it compare to its younger, lower proof sibling? Let’s find out.

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon Review

Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star Bourbon ReviewBourbon Name:  Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star

Proof: 90

Age: 6 years

Year:  2014

How I Drank It:  Neat, in Glencairn whiskey glass.

My Nose Noticed:*  Honey | Cherry | Oak | Cedar

First Sip:  Corn | Rye | Toffee | Char | Ash

The Burn:**  More like The Burnt. Letting it roll around my mouth made me suddenly feel like I burned my entire tongue and deadened my taste buds.

Neat, Splash or Rocks:  A few drops of water sweetened the nose but seemed to dilute the better flavors and leave only the charred, ashy flavor. At this point I felt my palate wasn’t even up for trying this on the rocks. So the question became…

Straight, Old Fashioned or Manhattan: Old Fashioned. The sugar and bitters along with the slow dilution from some large ice tames the rough edges. (The Manhattan was a bust. My wife summed it up nicely,”This tastes like a Manhattan you get at a wedding.”)

Share With: People at the end of a party after all of the good stuff is gone.

Worth The Price:  I paid about $16 for this and was a little surprised at my disappointment. I definitely prefer the regular Ancient Age.

Bottle, Bar or Bust: For me it was mostly a bust, though I know this bourbon has its fans. I’d be surprised to find this in a bar, so bottle would be your best bet if you want to try it.

 

 

 

*I like to let my bourbon sit in the glass for at least 5 minutes before I start to smell it or have a drink. I personally find that it’s better to let some of the alcohol waft off before diving in. If I’m drinking bourbon on the rocks I skip the waiting and dive in both feet first.
**Some of you refer to this as the “finish” but let’s be honest. Don’t we all just want to know if it burns good?


Overall, I was pretty disappointed with this bottling. Maybe I got a bad bottle? If you’ve had Ancient Ancient Age 10 Star, let us know how your experience compared. Also, let us know in the comments what under $20 bourbon you’d like us to try next.

 

 

 

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