It’s been a few years since I’ve done a Kentucky Bourbon battle so let’s get to it! The winner of the previous round was Maker’s 46 and now it’s up against Jefferson’s Reserve.
1) Jefferson’s Reserve (Challenger) (Hand numbered 1800/2400 bottles, batch #90) – 45.1% ABV – 750ml, (Louisville, KY, USA), $73 CAD (5/2011) @ BCLiquor Stores
- a blend of 4 bourbons of differing ages
- the real wood bottle stopper and rubber cork came apart after the 1st opening, 5 years after I purchased the bottle…
2) Maker’s 46 – 47% ABV – 750ml, (Loretto, KY, USA), $60 CAD @ BC Liquor Stores
- made with corn, red winter wheat, barley malt.
- patented hand-dipped wax sealed top
- 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.
Nose: Jefferson’s Reserve (JR) has a subdued nasal tingliness with gentle toffee-caramel and rubbing alcohol. Only mildly offensive. Maker’s 46 (M46) is about 2 levels more aggressive in both nasal attack and aromatics. JR is definitely more approachable whilst you could argue that M46 has more character. Verdict = JR edges it out, the caramelness is more appealing.
Taste & Texture: One sip of JR, and then a sip of M46 – wow the difference is like night and day. JR comes off as a thin-but-smooth with toasted light caramel-oak, sweet honey, cinnamon, mild vanilla, lacking length and punch. M46 is thicker on the palate, has a bigger caramel profile whilst being more numbing and carrying more heat. JR clearly has more sippable subtle complexity while M46 comes across as bold and harsh, more suitable in a cocktail. Verdict = JR comes across as more refined and palatable
- Jefferson’s Reserve has a sweet & SMOOTH, toasted light oak, caramel, honey, sippable quality
- Maker’s 46 has a straightforward throat-burning, tongue numbing, oak, vanilla, spicy, off-dry, and harsh alcohol.
- Jefferson’s Reserve to sip, Maker’s 46 in a cocktail
WINNER = Jefferson’s Reserve