Being a fan of Maker’s Mark SE4 x PR5 and FAE-01, it felt only right to review the inaugural wood finishing series release. I sampled RC6 back in 2019, and while impressed, I failed to purchase a bottle. Thanks to the recent generosity of a friend, I have RC6 in hand.
Pour: Maker’s Mark RC6
Age: not stated
Color: rich copper
Nose: hazelnut, vanilla potpourri, maple syrup
Taste: toasted caramel, brown sugar, Roman nougat
Finish: moderately long w/ dark chocolate, coffee, woody spice
Overall: A robust, full-bodied whiskey with a rich dessert-like sweetness. In comparison to the two subsequent wood finishing iterations, Maker’s Mark RC6 is most similar to FAE-01, sans fruity notes. A lovely pour, though my least favorite of the three.
Rating: Sweet start.
Thanks to SE4 x PR5, Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series has my attention. I was genuinely impressed with the 2020 release – so much so, that I purchased the latest edition, FAE-01, the week it hit my local liquor store. Here’s to the hope for a comparable whiskey. Cheers!
Pour: Maker’s Mark FAE-01
Age: not stated
Color: dense honey
Nose: pancakes w/ syrup, chocolate raspberry, English toffee
Taste: chocolate fondue & fruit, cinnamon honey buns, woody spice
Finish: long w/ toasted caramel, baked spiced apples, gingerbread
Overall: When I first popped the cork on Maker’s FAE-01 I was struck by its intensity, particularly in comparison to SE4 x PR5. It’s since grown on me. I don’t love FAE-01 as much as its ambrosial predecessor, but for $60 it gets my approval.
Rating: Great; not my FAE-vorite.
Fall 2020 saw the second entry in the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series, SE4 x PR5. Curiously, it didn’t receive the level of hype typically associated with annual limited-edition bourbons. A great thing for Maker’s fans, as perception in the bourbon world is seldom 20/20.
Pour: Maker’s Mark SE4 x PR5
Age: not stated
Nose: maple syrup, semisweet chocolate, holiday citrus
Taste: creamy caramel, heavily toasted oak, orange cola
Finish: long & flavorful – vanilla extract, cinnamon, hazelnut coffee
Overall: An ambrosial delight of subtly exotic complexity. For $60, it doesn’t get much better than Maker’s Mark SE4 x PR5. To those that passed this impressive whiskey by, I leave you with the immortal words of Ms. Vivian Ward, “Big mistake. Big. Huge.”
Rating: Slept-on hit.
As popular as Maker’s Mark may be with the general public, it often flies under the radar for whiskey enthusiasts. Its lean portfolio is possibly one reason, though it shares an expression count equivalent to Van Winkle. At least Maker’s Mark is available and affordable, right?
Pour: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength 20-01
Age: at least 4 years
Color: rose gold
Nose: sweet vanilla, toasted oak, hazelnut coffee
Taste: bright woody spice, caramel drizzle, semisweet chocolate
Finish: moderately long – Cinnamon Red Hots, classic syrup, peppery tea
Overall: What Maker’s Mark Cask Strength lacks in maturity and complexity, it more than makes up for in character. It’s Maker’s DNA in near-pure form. Considering it’s likely 5-year KSBW (or thereabouts), there’s a lot more to love here than loathe.
Rating: It’s good.