Maker’s Mark ’46’!? Yes. The New ’46’.

About ten thousand years ago, Bill Samuel Jr.’s mother made some bread, this bread turned into the recipe for the mash, which then became the beer which then went into the still which finally resulted in the Maker’s Mark whisky that we know today.  Since then, Maker’s swore to never make another bourbon since they got the first one so perfect…

Well…that’s the legend…

Bill's Back Yard

Late last summer, a few of us were invited by the nice Maker’s Mark folks  to come out to Kentucky and see Maker’s from the mash to the bottling, from the basement to the attic and the distillation to the wax…  And, on this beautiful late-summer afternoon as we were sitting in Bill Samuel Jr.’s back yard sipping his bourbon and partaking in the Samuel’s family genuine Southern hospitality, Bill told us a tale…one of many…about how they would NEVER make another Maker’s because Maker’s; after all, as Bill says…Maker’s is perfect…

Imagine my surprise as Cody the Maker’s Mark Wonder Rep tells me that there’s a new Maker’s Mark coming out soon…  Wait…  What happened to ‘perfection’?  Well, it appears that perfection can in fact be improved upon…

Maker's Mark '46'

We all like Maker’s.  It’s a sweet, balanced, quality sipping whisky.  Not too hot, just the right amount of heat.  In most bars, Maker’s is pretty much the high-end bourbon.  Most bars won’t have a Pappy…perish the thought that they ever have heard of Blanton’s or Willett.  Parker’s?  Forgetaboutit.  So, for most of America, Maker’s is bourbon.

This new Maker’s though…?  This is a whole new Maker’s, born Riply-like out of  regular ol’ Red Wax Maker’s Mark, which is at 90proof – that’s 45% alcohol, the rest being good ol’ Kentucky water, distilling effluent and oak impression.  Running straight from the still, the white dog goes into the barrel at 115proof and is around 125proof when it’s at it’s full age, which is between a minimum of 5, to ~7 years and bottled from nine barrel batches.  So, that means that Bill Samuel’s and his head distiller Kevin D. Smith taste all the barrels and when they are just right, nine barrels are take for the slaughter…taken out of their safe resting place in the rickhouse, dumped, married together, filtered and watered down, packaged and taken to it’s new house – yours.

Maker's Mark Black

And, except for a brief experiment with Maker’s Mark Black, which was a black labeled and black waxed, 95proof bottling long since extinct for the most part.  Additionally, of course there was the odd Maker’s Mark Mint Julip, green waxed release – there has not been any other Maker’s whisky put in a bottle and sold to the masses for thirty-odd years as far as I know.

Now…there is – named Maker’s Mark ’46’.

’46’?  Why is it called ’46’?

There’s another difference besides the higher proof – and this difference is why this new Maker’s is called ’46’, because ’46’ is a descriptor of this new Maker’s other differentiating factor: French Oak staves, No. 46 French Oak, to be exact.  What happens is that the whisky is taken out of the barrel, and one-inch charred staves are loosely attached to the inside of the barrel, at which time the whisky is put back in for an additional five to eleven weeks.

The result?  Well, I’ll tell ya’, it’s delicious.  It’s a 94 proof, stave-aged Maker’s Mark – with a body matured like Sophia Loren in her late-30’s, a lasting flavor, still full of the expected sweetness typical of Maker’s Mark, but with a surprising weighted lingering oak finish which I have to say – is very satisfying.

Maker’s ’46’ is meant to be mixed – this may be the new Manhattan Cocktail standard for many bars, and as the cocktail craze that you and I are already living starts to affect the fly-overs, this new whisky is perfectly positioned to take over an industry.  Maker’s already has the name, and now ’46’ has a new whole road ahead of it.  And, you know…I believe that it’ll be a good trip.

29 Responses to “Maker’s Mark ’46’!? Yes. The New ’46’.”

  1. Peter Evans Says:


    Where can I buy Makers Mark 46 in the UK? I absolutely love Makers Mark and have to try this.



    • alcohology Says:

      Hey there, Pete.

      I’m afraid that at first, ’46’ will be sold only in the ‘States.

      They will only be releasing 10K cases I think? I’ll have to check, but they will be selling their first year’s stock here, and then later overseas.

      Are you yet a Maker’s Ambassador? Check out that link, and you’ll be the first to know about it when they get to the UK market. Hey – you guys have I.W. Harper, Blanton’s Barrel Strength… We can’t even get that here!

  2. One addition to the history lesson: Maker’s was sold in a gold wax, 101 proof version in the mid to late 80’s. While I was in college you would see it sitting side by side on the liquor store shelf with the red wax bottles. About 15 bucks for a 5th. It was awesome and we drank the heck out of it. Wish I had been sober enough to save a couple of bottles.

  3. Terry Trovato Says:

    The black wax/black label edition was called Maker’s Mark Select and was an export product to the far east and europe and was never sold domestically. It was discontinued circa 2001. The still also produced a gold wax/gold label edition titled Maker’s Mark Limited Edition 101 Proof which was sold domestically from about 1983 until 1993 and then sent exclusively to the far east. It was discontinued circa 2000. I have unopened bottles of each with their original packaging.

  4. A sample bottle of Maker’s Mark 46 (as shown in the picture above) just sold for about $250.00 on Ebay.

  5. How much can I expect to pay for this fine bourbon?

  6. They had it for sale at the Ambassador festivities at the distillery yesterday. It’s rather good. The bottles were plain-labeled and generic–not even waxed. I didn’t find out when it would be available through normal channels.

    Here’s a picture:

  7. I’ve heard it will go on sale to the public in June or July.

    • alcohology Says:

      Hey there, Ronnie.

      Yep, I heard something similar. That they were selling it this weekend at the ambassador party is good news.

  8. 46 sold for about $29.00 at the Ambassador’s open house Ahhhhh I just had a sip and it is verrrrry nice.

    • alcohology Says:

      Yes, it’s delicious, is it not? In fact, it’s such a great whisky that I wonder if the ‘old’ Maker’s will be affected?

  9. I had a rare privelage to be one of the first 50 people in the world to try makers 46. It is incredible. For those who know the Makers brand and most do…Makers 46 is a milestone that Bill Jr’s mother would have been proud to have thought of. Great start mom but things to evolve for the better at times. Can’t wait to grab some off the shelf if I can get to it in time.

  10. Why not come see where the key component to “46” comes from? Kentucky Cooperage, the bourbon barrel-making factory right on Main Street in Lebanon, Ky., gives free tours and Maker’s Mark is located just outside of Lebanon. Really ramps up the bourbon experience. Check it out. All the details are at

  11. When and where will this be sold in washington dc?

    • alcohology Says:

      As for “When”, it is purportedly going to be going for sale in June? As for where, it should be most stores where Maker’s is sold. There will be only a relatively small amount sold the first few years, so make sure to check in with your liquor store to know when it shows up, because it should sell out rather quickly. I’d suggest that you go to Maker’s Mark’s website and sign up for their Ambassadorship program and you will receive e’mail when it’s finally released.

  12. […] also the fine piece on this new Bourbon at var a2a_config = a2a_config || {}; a2a_config.linkname="6/2010 Maker’s Mark Releases New […]

  13. Brandon Says:

    I am really looking forward to trying this whiskey tonight. EXCITED!

  14. teamdailey Says:

    I just recieved a bottle of MM46 as a farewell gift from my boss. I am honored and surprised at such a great gift! I look forward to popping the top for the next promotion I get to the top enlisted rank. I know my brothers in Korean AF will be jealous about the MM they are MM lovers! Hooyah Maj B…..
    PILSUNG (Total Victory) Maj Kim and all my Korean Brothers!

    MM is a great gift for your military members promotion, retirement or transfer!

  15. hi, thanks for the comment on our blog, let us know if you hold a whiskey world cup, or should that be whiskey world series?

  16. I, too, “drank the heck” of the Makers Gold (that is what we called it) in college. I went to the store one day and the guy there told me that they didnt make it anymore and that he had 2 bottles left. I bought them both and still have them. I wonder what they are worth?

  17. The difference in this new bottle and the others including the mint julep and higher proofs is that all the others are the same whiskey, just bottled at different proofs. But they come from the same barells and are the same recipe. This new one is different.

  18. James C. Kirsch Says:

    I used to be a Knob Creek drinker, but for whatever reason my taste for it dwindled. I made the switch to Makers “SMOOTHLY” and soon after found ’46’. You say ’46’ is intended for mixed drinks, I say bite your tounge!! Why ruin the magic with mixers? Rocks glass, rocks, and cover. Repeat if necessary!!! Thank You for the opportunity to share. Pittsburgh, PA.

    • alcohology Says:

      I’m with you – keep in mind that it was Bill Samuels that said that the intended use is for cocktails, for which it’s perfect. But, I agree – I drink my whisk(e)y neat, and I think that ’46 is a great sipping whisky and in fact an improvement.

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