the maker’s 46 story
Over the years, whenever Bill Samuels, Jr., was out spreading the word about Maker’s Mark®, fans of the brand would ask him when he was going to introduce something new. Not being a big believer in “line extensions,” Bill pretty much ignored them for a good while. But about six years ago, he and our then-Master Distiller Kevin Smith decided to give it a try. To give them the best chance at success, they called in Brad Boswell of Independent Stave, the cooperage that has been making oak barrels to the specifications of Bill Samuels, Sr., since 1953. After more than a few false starts and outright disasters, all three agreed that whatever “it” might be, it had to start with regular Maker’s Mark®. So Brad started monkeying around with a special barrel and experimenting with different wood varieties and levels of char. The magic combination – which just happened to be trial #46 – consisted of 10 “seared” French oak staves inserted into the barrel to lend natural flavors of caramel, vanilla and spice. Finished Maker’s Mark was then added to the modified barrel and returned to the coolest part of the warehouse. About 10 weeks later, well, voila – we had something noticeably bigger and bolder, but with the smoothness and drinkability that have always set Maker’s Mark apart from its peers. We called it Maker’s 46®, in recognition of the winning recipe. Today, Maker’s 46 is finished year round in our distillery’s latest addition, The Cellar. The result, however, is the same – a bold, complex bourbon, but just as approachable and easy to drink as you’d expect from Maker’s Mark.