Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series FAE-01 2021 Limited Release Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $60
- 110.6 Proof
- Kentucky

These Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series Limited Releases have really been hits. I really enjoyed the last two releases, so when I randomly came across this bottle in a small liquor store that I stopped into in my various travels, really wanting to get something, I decided to give this newest release a go. 

This particular release was aged with ten Virgin Toasted American Oak Staves. On its face that means very little to me.  The front label does provide tasting notes, indicating that it's "A fruit forward expression with notes of tobacco and wood." That said, tasting notes on a bottle also mean very little to me. After all, it's not as though the distiller is going to tell the consumer that this tastes like band-aids and dirt. And I've found that my tasting notes frequently do not match up anyway. So I decided to give this a try simply on the fact that Maker's has done a great job with their prior releases, and it's worth a try on that basis alone.

The nose was sweet, rich and full of dark fruits. I immediately got notes of raisin and fig, along with a healthy amount of brown sugar. It reminded me a bit of an oatmeal cookie. I certainly got a light char note as well. It also had this kind of woody spice to it, perhaps a bit like cinnamon sticks.

The flavor followed suit to some extent, but also brought out some additional notes that really made for an interesting, complex and delicious bourbon. Right up front I got baked peach and cinnamon, like a peach cobbler or a peach crisp. There were also some dark fruits as well, but rather than fig and raisin it came across almost like a mulled wine. It reminded me a bit of Christmas in that respect.

It definitely had some wood notes to it, though it was only in the flavor. It didn't create any sort of bitterness that you often get with wood notes. It also had a bit of char to it as well, but only just enough to add that light, smoky element.

The texture was fairly viscous, which made for a very long finish. Unfortunately, on the finish the bitter tannic notes did some through, surprisingly. Yet, at the same time, it was on the finish that the sweet caramel notes, kind of that traditional Maker's flavor, came through as well. This was not a sweet whiskey, certainly not a typical wheated whiskey in that respect, but it had just enough caramel sweetness to keep it enjoyable and offset that tannic wood note.

Overall, Maker's has put out yet another solid release in the Wood Finishing Series.  Those wintertime dessert notes were a welcome change while I enjoyed this whiskey during the dog days of Summer. It had a richness and complexity that I haven't enjoyed in a while, and my only real negative was that tannic bitterness, but even that was balanced out by the caramel sweetness.

Grade: B+

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