Round 1 of Kentucky Bourbons. Strictly made in Kentucky just to keep things simple but I think I’ll mix up the price ranges from low to high just to get an idea of what’s good out there.
1) Maker’s 46 – 47% ABV – 750ml, (Loretto, KY, USA), $60 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores
- made with corn, red winter wheat, barley malt.
- patented wax sealed top
- why the name 46? This is the 46th variation of 125 recipes attempted to create something new.
- 10 toasted French oak staves are added to the barrel and aged for 2-3 months to impart a spicier, more intense caramel and vanilla flavour profile while maintaining their signature “tip the of tongue” finish.
- my dated review of Maker’s Mark original here (C+)
2) Buffalo Trace – 45% ABV – 750ml, (Franklin County, KY, USA), $40 CAD @ Aristocrat Liq 82nd (Edm)
- made with corn, rye, barley malt.
- claims to be the oldest continuously operating distillery in the USA.
- Whiskey Distiller of the Year 2014″ by Whisky Magazine’s “Icons of Whisky America.” (wiki)
Nose: Starting with Maker’s 46, I immediately get toasted oak, burnt rubber, thick caramel with a touch of honey, vanilla, and a medium level of alcohol detection, though not much nasal burn. Buffalo trace seems more “watered down” in comparison; perhaps it’s the lighter colour that’s throwing me off. In any case, BT has kind of a orange-marmalade citrus-caramel going on, but not as much caramel intensity, and a noticeably more nasal burn. Maker’s = caramel candy, BT = fruity caramel, kinda soapy. My preference is Maker’s 46.
Taste & Texture: Maker’s has boatloads of sweetness up front, mainly caramel, toasted oak, bold vanilla, lots of alcohol heat and nasal warmth, licorice numbness, followed by hot spiciness at the finish. BT feels less thicker, but a gradual build up of apple-pie fruity yet cinnamon/nutmeg-spiced, mild sourness, huge licorice/nutmeg numbness, light-medium heat, somewhat drier finish than 46. Maker’s = bold caramel + heat/length, BT = fruity-floral +numbness. It really depends on what you like in a bourbon, but I like Maker’s 46 more.
- Maker’s 46 is more expensive than Buffalo Trace ($60 vs $40, which are both OVERPRICED anyways here in BC…)
- Maker’s has bolder flavours, and longer length, but more burn and heat.
- Buffalo Trace is slightly smoother when sipping, and exhibits more composure,
- Bottom line: Maker’s 46 will definitely hold up better when diluted as a mixer. Both are decent sippers, but Maker’s will stay on your palate longer.
WINNER = Maker’s 46 (Round 1 Champ)