Maker’s Mark 46 K&L Exclusive “Barrel #6” Private Select Kentucky Bourbon – American Whiskey News

A Gloriously Crafted K&L Exclusive Barrel
Maker’s Mark 46 K&L Exclusive “Barrel #6” Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($69.99)

An impressive follow up to the much-adored barrel #5, we have another immaculately crafted Maker’s 46 exclusive. Through an innovative program, our spirits buyers are given the opportunity to blend their own unique K&L bottling based on the addition of different wood stave types to a barrel of Maker’s 46. The barrel is then stored in a specially designed warehouse carved into the side of a hill that allows the perfect aging conditions. The results carry the trademark characteristics of Maker’s Mark yet possess their own distinctive stamps. Barrel #6 is the result of the combined efforts of the Maker’s Mark team and K&L’s very own Neal Fischer. To achieve an extra toasty flavor Neal used a high proportion of seared French cuvĂ©e staves and toasted French spice staves. The result is nothing short of transcendent. A mesmerizing blend of baking spice, vanilla, brown sugar, and, of course, toasty oak, it is a phenomenal bourbon that’s big on flavor. Made in the vein of Pappy Van Winkle and Old Fitzgerald, it is destined to become an instant hit with the wheater crowd. $70 is a terrific price for an exclusive bottling of this caliber. If you’ve enjoyed the previous Private Select releases, you simply have to try this singular expression.

Maker’s Mark 46 K&L Exclusive “Barrel #6” Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($69.99)

The unique blending process for the Maker’s Mark Private Select casks offers a seemingly endless array of possibilities (it’s actually 1,001 possible combinations, but it’ll take us a while to do them all). The basic premise of the program is this – Maker’s Mark selects and vats 30 casks of the regular cask strength Maker’s Mark together, they then refill the barrels from that vatting with the now small batch whisky and add in a 10 stave recipe. No more, no less. The “recipe” of which 10 staves are added are selected by the buyer of the barrel and can be in any combination from their 5 unique wood/toasting regimes. The only additional rule is that you cannot do 10 of the same stave. Our 6th Maker’s Private Select cask is hung with one baked American pure 2 stave, four seared French cuvee, two Maker’s 46 (for the Maker’s 46 bottling, they hang 10 of these), and three toasted French spice staves. This recipe was created by Neal Fischer, Redwood City Spirits Liaison. It’s all Maker’s Mark, with a big French oak twist—the higher toned aromatics are clear and the added spice comes through on the palate.

Andrew Whiteley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 12, 2019

Neal and I have a friendly rivalry going since we blended these casks side by side. While I may swear in good fun that “my” cask is better, the truth is they’re both excellent, but very, very different. Slightly darker in color and tone than cask #5, Neal’s cask #6 is more the bass, while #5 occupies an alto range of flavors. Much weightier on the palate, the heavier use of French oak creates a deep and varied array of chocolates, coffee, toffee, and hints of herbs that lay down the funky bass line for a Maker’s walk on the wild side. A perfect cigar bourbon if you will, or just a lovely sweet treat to cap off a glorious night.

Neal Fischer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 12, 2019

Ahhh, the austere and amazing Barrel 6 (a.k.a. The Neal Barrel)! This was such a fun project, and I’m glad that Maker’s Mark invited Andrew and I to blend not just one, but TWO batches of Private Select for K&L. It was amazing how different the bourbon can be with slight changes to the stave additions. So, it isn’t too much of a surprise that my barrel is vastly different from Andrew’s. This blend that I concocted makes use of a high proportion of seared French cuvĂ©e staves and toasted French spice staves. The extra toast and focus on French oak more than American gives this bottling a truly robust woody snap and a big, spicy bite. If Andrew’s batch is like classic Maker’s Mark, brilliantly intensified, then the Neal barrel is like Maker’s Mark’s edgier older cousin who got kicked out of school as a teenager. Cinnamon cooked in butter, baked clove, and fresh pepper hit the nose first. The scents get darker and spicier with more nosing with additions of powdered cocoa. On the palate, there’s molasses and burnt sugar, then tannic oak spice. Toward the finish, coffee and more savory elements emerge. This bourbon is bold and beautiful.

Jackson Lee | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: November 08, 2019

Trying our two barrels side by side was a fun experience and clearly highlights the effects different staves can have on the whiskey. While barrel #5 had fruitier esters, #6 has more oak influence and baking spices, raisin box, umeshu, peanut brittle and demerara sugar dominate the nose. The palate is ridiculously soft as notes of brown sugar, orange peel, and rice crispy treats mix with a sweet herbal note and a slow burn building up to the finish.

Jeffrey Jones | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 14, 2019

This barrel tastes better with a splash of water, which seems to open it up and to release the flavors and aromas that this barrel has to offer. The nose is sweet with a floral background. In the mouth it is a rich honey sweet with some subtle spice flavors. The finish is long and sweet.

Stefanie Juelsgaard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: October 08, 2019

While Barrel #5 may play into a more classic, true-to-form style of American bourbon, this Barrel #6 hits you with a lot more exotic spice and lifted character. Pretty, with fewer American oak notes, this is a fun break from the classic Maker’s Mark profile. This is a phenomenal example of how much flavor the combination of staves can add to a whisky. A true one-off, single barrel that won’t be back once it’s gone.

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