The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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Page 53 of 100

june 2018  /  the tasting panel  /  53 In 2014, Margie was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame, becoming the fifth woman ever to be granted the honor. Each Maker's Mark label is still applied by hand before the bottles are wax-dipped individually to make sure Margie's vision for the bottle design is preserved. The Wax Works The first bottles of Maker's were hand-dipped in their iconic red wax by Margie in her kitchen fryer, imparting an eye-catching packaging feature that showcased the family's groundbreaking product. To explore this facet of the brand's aesthetic, Breier was joined at the San Francisco event by candlemaker and Banter & Bliss Candle Co. Founder Sheena Tahilramani, who helped the bartend- ers understand some of the nuances of working with wax. With Tahilramani's guidance, the guests created their own set of four candles to deconstruct the aromas characteristic of Maker's: vanilla, caramel, and oak (the fourth candle combined the three into a bourbon scent). While the bartenders mixed their fragrances, poured their wax, and set their wicks, they sipped a Maker's Mark cocktail created by spirits superstar and local bar owner Alicia Walton. The Signed, Sealed, and Delivered served as Walton's tribute to Margie Samuels—the woman who designed the stamp, conceptualized the wax, and endowed the brand with an unrivaled legacy that persists today. After learning the history behind the dressing of the bottle, the bartenders tasted their way through classic Maker's Mark, Maker's 46, and the brand's cask-strength expression. Breier offers her take on each of the three expressions below. Maker's Mark: "Maker's is sometimes thought of as a 'classic bourbon,' but its mashbill actually makes it pretty unique. The wheat imparts extra sweetness and there's no rye in the bottle to add spice, so it's very smooth. For people who like red wine, Cognac, and sweet cocktails, this is a great whisky." Maker's 46: "The 46 starts life just like traditional Maker's, but after five to seven years of aging, ten virgin French oak staves are inserted into the 53-gallon American oak barrels and the whisky rests for an additional nine weeks. This helps highlight bolder flavors of Original Maker's with the extra nine weeks of extraction from the additional aging. I love the Maker's 46 after dinner with just a cube of ice because all the different vanillas and caramels smell like crème brûlée. As Maker's legend has it, Bill Samuels, Jr. created Maker's 46 after he had a nightmare that he walked upon his own gravesite and saw that his tombstone read, 'Bill Samuel's Jr.: He didn't [expletive] it up.' He said he interpreted this to mean that he had only ever carried on his dad's legacy and that it was time to rock the boat. A few months ago, I had dinner with Samuels, Jr. and asked about the story after hearing it and telling it so many times. He confessed that he knew if he showed up at the distillery and asked to create a new product he would get pushback, but thought if he could play on a hint of fragility—or the risk that he was in some way dying—his idea might be heard. So, that's how 46 came about from an absolute lie." Maker's Mark Cask Strength: "Another Maker's innovation isn't really an innovation—we just didn't add any water. For this expression, we take Maker's directly from the barrel after it's been patiently aged to taste: It's uncut and unfiltered. Since it can be anywhere from 108–114 proof, it does have a little heat. And since none of the Maker's expressions are chill-filtered, the oil is left in and the cask strength is really viscous. It gives a nice long Kentucky hug." Dressed to Express Signed, Sealed, and Delivered Created by Alicia Walton ◗ 2 oz. Maker's Mark ◗ ¾ oz. Vermut Lustau vermouth ◗ ½ oz. Mathilde Peche peach cordial ◗ 1 barspoon Leopold Bros. Aperitivo Stir all ingredients with ice. Serve up in a coupe with a lemon twist. Maker's Mark® Bourbon Whisky, 45% Alc./Vol. ©2018 Maker's Mark Distillery, Inc., Loretto, KY

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