Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Bourbon Review (2023)

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Maker's 46 bourbon was first released in 2010 and was the first release of what would become to be known as Maker's Wood Finishing Series. In 2020, on its 10th anniversary, Maker's 46 Cask Strength was released and that has since become an annual release. So what is the 2023 version like? Read our review to find out!

Maker’s Mark
Bill’s Recipe
No 46
French Oaked
Cask Strength
2023 Edition
110.3 Proof
MSRP: $64.99

Please enjoy our Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Bourbon Review!

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Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky barrel finished with ten virgin French Oak staves.

In 2010, Maker’s released their first new expression, ever

Maker’s 46 was first released in 2010 as the first new widely released Maker’s Mark expression since the brand’s inception. As the story goes, Bill Samuels, Jr wanted to leave something special as his legacy at Maker’s Mark, and Maker’s 46 turned out to be just that. The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, though, because Maker’s 46 starts off with fully matured Maker’s Mark Bourbon. Then it is further aged with 10 seared French Oak staves immersed in it. Those staves have a significant effect on the flavor profile.

What is the “46” in Maker’s 46 Cask Strength?

I have been told many times that the name 46 comes from the number of attempts it took Bill Samuels Jr to make the final version of Maker’s 46. However, right there on the Maker’s Mark website it says “So, why 46? The wood-finishing experiments were the vision of Bill Samuels, Jr. who worked alongside Master Distiller Kevin Smith and the Independent Stave Company, Maker’s longtime cooperage. After finally finding the taste they were after, Bill Jr. learned the perfectly toasted French Oak stave they used was on file with the Independent Stave Company as “Stave Profile No. 46″.” So, that’s a completely different story, but apparently the truth!

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So what proof is “Cask Strength”?

The original Maker’s 46 Bourbon is bottled at 94 proof. However, the Cask Strength version takes it up a notch. It is bottled at barrel proof, which will vary from year to year. Since Maker’s Mark enters the barrel at a relatively low 110 proof, and the barrels are rotated during aging, the final proof tends to not be all that high. The first release was bottled at 109.6 proof, and this year’s was bottled at 110.3.

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Tasting Notes – Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Bourbon Review

Let’s taste it:

🛌 Rested for 15 minutes in a Glencairn

👉Nose: Vanilla, toffee, sweet cherry candy, light oak; moderate alcohol
👉Taste: Sweet cherry candy, a bit of barrel char; toffee, brown sugar, oak, hint of milk chocolate
👉Finish: White pepper spice, tangy cherry, tannins, barrel char and oak; long finish; moderate burn

The flavors really change quite a bit over the sip. The nose is like a rich Tootsie Roll with some cherry candy mixed in. Those flavors continue into the taste and transition to becoming spicier and tangier with noticeable char and tannins in the finish. Those seared French Oak staves contribute to many of these flavors. For me, the end result is just about perfect. This is a full, rich bourbon that I can easily sip on for hours.

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If you are a Maker’s Mark Bourbon fan, it’s definitely worth giving Maker’s 46 a try. Now that you’re a Maker’s 46 fan, the next logical step is to put it in overdrive with Maker’s 46 Cask Strength. That extra proof really does add quite a bit to the flavor. However, if it’s a little too hot, you can also add some water to bring the proof down a little bit too. That will also have an effect on the taste. Have you tried Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Bourbon? What did you think?

We hope you have enjoyed our Maker’s 46 Cask Strength Bourbon Review! Why not find out about where it all started and read our Maker’s Mark Bourbon Review? Or, maybe you would like to learn about a once yearly limited Wood Finishing Series release in our Maker’s Mark CommUNITY Batch 2022 Review. Finally, you can read about the distillery itself in our Maker’s Mark Distillery Tour Review!

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