Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength is, as the name suggests, the full leaded version of the Maker’s 46. This is as close as it comes to tasting this whiskey straight out of the barrel. Uncut and unfiltered, except for a paper filter to catch bits of barrel char, this whiskey pulls no punches when it comes to experiencing MM46 at its natural strength. Which is all fine and well for me to say, but what if you don’t know exactly what you’re supposed to be experiencing? If you already know what makes it the 46 go ahead and jump down to the review. If you’re not familiar then follow me down to the next paragraph.
To make Maker’s Mark 46, the MM team adds toasted stave inserts to the barrels which basically finishes the bourbon before bottling. To find the exact level of toast / char and the right kind of wood they tried a slew of combinations and the one that achieved what they were going for was the 46th “recipe” of wood type and toast level. Now you know so on to the Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength Review!
Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength Info
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Maker’s Mark
Mashbill: Wheated (rumored to be 75% Corn, 15% Wheat, 10% Malted barley)
Cask: New charred oak + seared French oak staves
Cask Strength | Non-Chill Filtered | Natural Color
Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength Review
Big sweet aroma filled with notes of Bing cocktail cherries, dark fruit, heavy wood, grain and almonds. Adding some water brings out lighter notes of dried strawberries, nuts and bulks up the grain making it heavier. If I only had 3 words to describe the nose it would be sweet grainy wood.
Wood dominates the palate with mild notes of cherry cola, dark sweets and grain barely peeking their heads in. Adding water loosens the wood’s grip on the palate a bit and brings up notes of cinnamon, cocoa Necco Wafers and caramel corn, but they’re light and overshadowed by the wood.
Wood, dried fruit, grain and a bit of char fade out slowly.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Balance is off, but it has a full body and warm heavy feel.
Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength isn’t as balanced and rich as the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and to be honest I like the regular Maker’s Mark 46 better. The CS version is overly wooded and overly sweet which knocks it off balance. That all said it’s really fun to see how it tastes uncut and experience firsthand how adding water to whiskey can sometimes be a good thing, even a great thing.
Adding water to the Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength helped disperse the wood and even out the sweetness which balanced out the whiskey and made it taste fantastic. The more water I added the more I enjoyed it, but I was basically working my way towards the standard release drop by drop. Still, if you’re planning on making a trip to the distillery I wouldn’t discourage you from picking up a bottle to try. It’s a very educational experience to try a whiskey in this form.
*Disclosure: This bottle of Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength Review - Score Breakdown
- Nose - 81
- Palate - 80
- Finish - 83
- Balance, Body & Feel - 80
Maker’s Mark 46 Cask Strength is interesting and fun to try, but I honestly like the regular Maker’s 46 release better. That said $40 (at the distillery) isn’t a bank breaking price to taste it in all its uncut glory.