Tag Archives: non-chill filtered

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength – Review

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Background

Marker's Mark Cask Strength
Marker’s Mark Cask Strength

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is a full strength bottling of the classic Maker’s Mark. Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is uncut and non-chill filtered Bourbon that basically turns up the volume on the standard Maker’s Mark.

For decades Maker’s Mark basically only offered its iconic wax dipped bottle filled with Bill Samuels Sr’s family wheated Bourbon recipe. In 2010 his Bill Jr was thinking about his legacy, but they had a problem. They didn’t have capacity and perhaps too time to launch a new product. Maker’s 46 was the result of some creative thinking to utilize existing barrels but finish them with toasted oak staves. Now a few years later there’s a booming demand among Bourbon nerds for barrel strength bottling. Heaven Hill last year launched a barrel proof version of its Elijah Craig, which I’m a big fan. Seems a great idea for Maker’s Mark to do the same.
Maker’s Mark is bottled at 90-proof and the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength version here is a relatively low proof. Maker’s Mark is thought to have a lower barrel entry proof, and given it’s aged around 6-7 years, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength lower proof would seem to confirm that. This bottle is is batch 14-02, or the second batch. The initial batch was initially only available for retail at the Maker’s Mark gift shop, but distribution is widening. Batch 14-01 was bottled at 56.6%.


Bottled at 113.3-proof / 56.7%. No age statement. Wheated Bourbon. Paid $35 (375ml)


Old coffee grounds, lots of butterscotch, Werther’s originals. Charcoal. Floral with fruity berries. Cinnamon.


Surprisingly a little thin. Butterscotch, creamy vanilla. Cinnamon. Maple. Sawdust. Charcoal. Burnt sugars. Rich Dessert like. Some astringency and roasted corn in the finish. A little hot.


Maker’s Mark Cask Strength reminds me of breakfast. It’s a rich, sweet experience and I think I’m keying on a few things to bring up cinnamon french toast w/ strawberries. I enjoy this with just a little water. The proof isn’t extreme to require water, I think, but at least this batch just gets better knocked down slightly. This is a little disappointing because the proof is just 20% or so higher than the standard bottle, but the price is over 100% more. Adding water feels a little counterproductive.

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is distinctively Maker’s Mark, but at the same time pretty unique. I’m going to make the assumption this is the same age as regular Maker’s Mark, and if so, it might benefit from a bit more age. It’s a little rough, but has plenty of barrel character. Could stand to round out some edges, I think. With that said, this is a pretty interesting pour. A light splash of water improves the glass and helps with those rough edges I think. Brings out more of caramel and butterscotch. Good stuff.

I like regular Marker’s Mark, although it can be a little plain jane  at times. Cask Strength fixes that nicely by giving rich, sweet, charred flavors of Maker’s Mark, but then turns up the volume for more of fruity, caramel, and butterscotch.

The 375ml bottle on Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is a bit high, but the $60 or so 750ml is more reasonable for a something special than the standard these days.


Buy Again – 4.0/5.0 Rating
(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

I’ll compare this to other barrel-proof/high proof offerings around this price. Some good bottles to also consider include Colonel EH Taylor Jr Barrel Proof, Booker’s, Noah’s Mill, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel, and the already mentioned Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. Those are all near the price, although Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is unique in the group as the only barrel strength wheated Bourbon.

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Four Roses – High Rye Private Selections – Review


Four Roses Private Selection
Four Roses Private Selection

This is the second post in my look at Four Roses’ 10 different private barrels. I’d suggest checking that post on the lower 20% rye recipes for the background on this effort and how I stacked those 5 recipes.

In this post I’ll be looking at the even higher 35% rye recipes. It’s interesting to compare how the same yeast came across in the two recipes, although certainly barrel selection also plays a part.


As I did last time, I’ll rank the recipes towards my preference and put in some notes for each. My goal isn’t really to review these as I expect different batches will move the needle either way a bit. My intent is just to determine which recipes I think I like best so I can seek those out in the future.

Note: The recipes with more than one bottle listed are sampled from all those bottles.

Continue reading Four Roses – High Rye Private Selections – Review

Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition (2014) – Review

Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 Background

Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2014
Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition 2014

Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition/LE 2014 is the latest annual release of Four Roses’ special Small Batch. Each year Four Roses selects a special version of its Small Batch bourbon using a blend from 10 of their different recipes. The recipes are different from the standard Four Roses Small Batch, which is mixture of OBSO, OBSK, OESO, and OESK barrels. Also different is the Limited Edition is a barrel strength bottle where the standard Small Batch is at 90-proof.

This year’s Four Roses Small Batch LE 2014 is bottled at 55.9% / 111.8-proof. The selected barrels are OBSV @ 13 years, OESV @ 12 years, OBSF @ 11 years, and OBSK @ 9 years. So, technically this is a 9-year-old bottle, but consists of Bourbon of up to 13 years old.

Continue reading Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition (2014) – Review

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6 @140.2° – Review


Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch 6

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is back with a sixth batch. This time around it’s the biggest proof yet at 70.1% / 140.2-proof  (AKA: Hazmat batch). Judging from the web analytics there’s a lot of interest in these new Elijah Craig BP batches, so I’ll post some thoughts on my bottle of batch 6.

I’m not going to compare this batch to previous bottles. I thought about it, but I highly doubt you’ll find yourself deciding which batch to buy. These bottles don’t seem to hang around shelves long enough to be an option. On the other hand, if you bought a previous batch all you want to know whether Batch 6 stacks up against the earlier bottles, the answer is yes.

Batch 1 – 67.1% / 134.2-Proof
Batch 2 – 68.5% / 137.0-Proof
Batch 3 – 66.6% / 133.2-Proof
Batch 4 – 66.2% / 132.4-Proof
Batch 5 – 67.4% / 134.8-Proof
Batch 6 – 70.1% / 140.2-Proof
Batch 7– 64.0% / 128.0-Proof
Batch 8 – 69.9% / 139.8-Proof
Batch 9 – 67.8% / 135.6-Proof


12 year age statement. Bottled at 70.1% / 140.2-proof. Uses Heaven Hill’s mash of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley. Paid $50


Woody and roasted. Dark caramel, raisins, vanilla, a bit perfumey. Wood polish. Cherries, mint.


Full and woody. Toffee-like and dark brown sugar. Coffee. Burnt popcorn. Has a punch, but even at 140-proof it’s still sippable. Sweetness is balanced out with the strong flavors, but it’s still there. Vanilla pokes out here and there. Residual alcohol burn, minty, and dry astringency finishes it out.


Except for a few clusters, all the leaves are off the trees here in Michigan. This weekend we lit our first fire of the season and football is on the TV. I’m also revisiting an old friend here in Elijah Craig Barrel Proof. As the weather get chilly, this is a quiet enjoyable sipper.

Elijah Craig BP is one of the better things happening in Bourbon now. It’s big, bold, and has an assertive woody flavor that may not appeal to everyone, but if you ask me it’s a pretty great pour. Stock up for winter.

Booker’s Small Batch Bourbon – Review

Booker’s Background

Booker's Bourbon
Booker’s Bourbon

Booker’s has a special place in my heart as not only one of my first upper shelf Bourbons, but also my first barrel proof Bourbon. I was enjoying Scotch and decided to try some Bourbons and this was one of them. I bought my first Booker’s at the airport in Las Vegas. I was standing waiting for my bags and noticed there was a liquor store right in the airport. Not a duty-free store, but an actual liquor store. This is ingenious! Vegas hotel bars can be hit and miss for decent whisk(e)y, but always expensive. So taking a bottle back to the room from the airport was a neat idea.

Booker’s launched in 1992 by and named after Jim Beam’s grandson and Beam master distiller Booker Noe. Booker’s originally was bottled up by Noe as gifts to friends and family and then was rolled out as a commercial release. Booker’s was noteworthy being “straight from the barrel” as unfiltered and barrel proof Bourbon. Booker’s was way ahead of its time as today unfiltered and barrel proof Bourbons are quite popular among enthusiasts. Booker’s is a part of Beam’s small batch Bourbon collection that includes Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, and Baker’s.

Booker’s isn’t particularly aged as far as premium Bourbons go at about 6-8 years old. So, one should expect a lively pour in addition to that unadulterated uncut goodness.


7 Years, Aged 3 Months Old. Batch C06-B-15, 63.55%. Mash bill of 73% corn, 13% rye, and 10% barley. MSRP – $59.99 (2016 Price)


Nutty, peanuts. Lots of caramel. Popcorn. Rich. Cedar wood. Distinctly Beam.


Burnt popcorn. Toffee. Nutty. Biscuity. Roasted flavors. Potent. Dark fruits like raisin and currents. Sticky sweet caramel. Jolly Rancher. Hot alcohols. A little woody tannins in the finish


Booker’s is beefy both in proof and flavor. A little water dials things down a bit and take the edge off the alcohol. Dominant flavors seem to be corn and burnt sugars. Plus that nuttiness I get from the Beam yeast.

Booker’s can be hit and miss with me. Sometimes I really enjoy it and sometimes the corn and Beam yeast flavors don’t fit my mood. It weird and changes day to day for me. I think Beam Bourbon in general can be a little polarizing, but Booker’s maybe a little more so. It’s an iconic Bourbon, however, so certainly worth a try.

Beam has gotten a little more savvy with batches of Booker’s and in 2013 they stared putting better date codes on bottles. Before it was a typical cryptic industrial code and now it’s simply year and batch number. This bottle I’m reviewing here is from 2012, so before they rolled out the new codes. The more consumer friendly code I think encourages people to collect the bottles, especially with the nifty round table batches that were/are choses by a group of Bourbon nerds. Last couple years I’ve been picking up a bottle just for the heck of it.

Booker’s is priced I think reasonable enough and has been stable over the years. For a big, uncut, unfiltered barrel proof release it’s a good value. I think it’s a must buy for every Bourbon drinker at least once. From there you can decide if you’re a fan of the flavor profile.


Buy Again- 4.0 out of 5.0 Rating

(My 5 point scale: Pass, Try a Glass, Buy a Bottle, Buy Again, Shut Up and Take My Money – Bottle price is taken into consideration for recommendations.)

Buying Options and Further Research

As described Booker’s is a big barrel-proof Bourbon, so we’ll look at similar types around its price. If you can find it, every batch I’ve had of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof has been great. Another strong recommendation would be a private bottling of a Four Roses barrel. You can also check out Noah’s Mill, Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel is also a high proof Bourbon, and Stagg Jr could also be something to look into in this price range.

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