The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 100

52  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 WOMEN IN WHISKY Samuels, Sr. in the 1950s; Victoria MacRae-Samuels, who serves as Vice President of Operations at Maker's Mark; and Jane Bowie, who created a custom barrel-making program for the brand known as Maker's Mark Private Select. The Mother of Maker's Mark Despite some progress in recent years, the presence of strong female leaders in the male-dominated whisky industry has traditionally been rare—but not so for Maker's Mark. Back in the 1950s, after Bill Samuels, Sr. had returned from military service, his wife, Margie, demanded he find a hobby. After Bill finalized his mash bill by baking bread to experiment with grain percentage, Margie asked him what the bottle for the finished product would look like. He answered that he'd envisioned a standard bottle with square shoulders and the Samuels' family name written simply on the label, but as Breier tells the story, Margie's response was a resolute "no." Considering that Maker's Mark is known today for its iconic packag- ing—the instantly recognizable label style, the crest-like emblem, and the red wax that drip-dries in tendrils—one can surmise that Margie's insistence on originality makes her the mastermind behind it all. Her love of calligraphy also prompted her to create the award- winning label font. One of the most lasting elements of Margie's legacy, however, can be found in the brand's name itself. A collec- tor of English pewter, she loved the personalized "touch marks" often left as an artist's signature by pewterers and felt their family bourbon should carry the same level of artistry. This idea led Margie to both the name "Maker's Mark" and its accompanying emblem. As Breier explained to the bartend- ers, the "S," "IV," and star emblazoned on each bottle stand for "Samuels," the Roman numeral four—the number of generations of family distillers—and the Samuels' former home of Starhill Farms, respectively. The family later discovered that their distilling heritage actually went back six generations from that time, but as Breier says with a laugh, "We can't let the truth get in the way of a good logo!" Pictured from left to right, bar industry professionals Cindy Liu, Danielle Taylor, Jillian Joy, Tim Froehlig, Karlo Pentic, Natalie Galatzer, and Justyn Meyers learn about the history of Maker's Mark before tasting through the brand's expressions. Banter & Bliss Candle Co. Founder Sheena Tahilramani and Beam Suntory West Coast American Whiskey Ambassador Megan Breier honor Margie Samuels' place in Maker's Mark history with a day of education, celebration, and wax-working. Alicia Walton crafts her cocktail tribute to Margie Samuels.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - June 2018