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20160730_114101I was almost afraid to write this review. Almost.

I received a plentiful haul of encouragement from Maker’s Mark disciples that I should reconsider my previous remarks concerning the standard release of their lord and savior.

Did I say “encouragement”? I meant harassment. Some came by email. Others were offered as comments on the blog, most of which I deleted because they didn’t meet the guidelines for posting. Oh yeah, and because they were crass and insulting.

So, as I said, I was a bit nervous as I wrote this review, and yet, here it is. I must be brave, right? Or stupid. I’m sure some of you will be more than happy to decide which is most accurate.

Whichever you decide, it shan’t affect the result of the tasting. And so if you’ll at least allow, I’ll explain my findings in the following way.

Maker’s Mark folks see their brand of whisky as this…

SteedSome are even mystically starry-eyed to see it as this…20160329_105546

And yet, I’m pretty sure that it’s really more along the lines of this…lamehorse

Still, even as I type these words and sip the “46,” I can say that I’m willing to give the distillery a little bit of leeway for designing something worth consuming. This stuff isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s pretty good.

The nose is really rather pleasant, giving over an incredibly full aura of vanilla frosting and what seemed like the warmed sugar glaze used on freshly baked doughnuts. There’s a hint of oak, but barely.

The palate is a vanilla-laden bite of fresh bread and aged oak, and as if that wasn’t enough, there’s the hint of a cinnamon-honey dip.

The finish is good, but not exceptional. There’s a little bit of nip from a receding spice, and yet even as it departs, the vanilla sweetness remains through to a medium departure.

Now, before you accuse me of throwing the disciples a bone for fear of finding myself in the reticule of the crazies’ negative commentary, look to the photos above and understand. The standard release – the most popular of Maker’s Mark whiskies – is viscerally undrinkable. I would not spend another dollar on it even if Bill Samuels, Jr. showed up at my door with a baseball bat and a case of the “46.” Unfortunately, there’s no way to explain away its lesser quality in comparison to so many other Bourbons and maintain the veracity of my efforts.

So, with that, feel free to accost me. Or don’t. Either way, we can still toast with a dram of Maker’s Mark. Of course, I’ll choose the “46” and you’ll drink your stuff. Yes, you’ll drink your stuff and I’ll drink mine. And your stuff will be crappier than mine.