Sunday, November 3, 2019

Maker's Mark Finishing Series 2019 RC6 Kentucky Straight Bourbon

VITALS:
- $70
- 108.2 Proof
- NAS
- Kentucky

I was very excited when I first read the announcement of this release. Aside from bottles with different color was to commemorate various sports teams or the horse racing commemorative bottles, all of which contain standard Maker's Mark, I've not seen or had available to me any other special or limited releases from Maker's Mark.

So, I made it a point to track down a bottle, and the best part of it was that it required very little effort. While a "limited release," it was and still is nonetheless very available, and at a price point that's similar to their private selects, which I appreciated. This release (and I assume there will be others) was finished using ten virgin toasted American oak staves, classified as stave profile RC6. So, it's like a barrel strength Maker's 46, but using different staves not available in the private select program.

On the nose, the first note that I got was a wood note, kind of like that sawdust smell of my garage when I've been cutting boards using a circular saw. It also had some cinnamon and pepper spice to it, as well as dark fruit notes. Those fruit notes reminded me of Cabernet, along with some cherry and black raspberry. I also got a lot of chocolate, and all of this blended together for a great, rich and sweet aroma.

The chocolate certainly carried forward into the taste, but it was distinctly a dark chocolate flavor, with only a light sweetness but a distinct bitterness to balance out the rich chocolate. That chocolate paired well with the fruit notes, but unlike the nose, the fruit notes here were brighter, kind of like fresh red raspberry. They had a certain crispness to them that differentiated these flavors from what I was getting on the nose.

The wood notes came through as well, but it was more oak than sawdust. This flavor seemed to also produce the kind of bitterness I associate with tannins in wine, but it wasn't overdone. Rather, it provided just the right amount of bitterness to work well with everything else.

Along with the raspberry, the bitter notes of wood and dark chocolate were complemented by a vanilla undercurrent that lingered from beginning to end. It also had a lot of caramel to provide the necessary sweetness to balance everything out, as well as a light, spicy cinnamon note that really came through at the end.

This bourbon had a great oily texture and, despite the bitter notes, was actually quite soft around the edges. It made things interesting but without losing that balance between flavors. I really enjoyed this and finished this bottle faster than I really intended to. Maker's Mark found something unique and delicious here, and I will certainly be picking up the next release in this series.

Grade: A-

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