Maker’s Mark has become the latest distillery to offer private bottlings with the enactment of their new program, Maker’s Mark Private Select. But there is a twist on the new program, as it will allow retail customers to “make their own Maker’s” by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of oak staves. The program will kick off in limited release in November 2015, with bottled product available for sale by retail participants beginning March 2016.
Retailers who participate in Maker’s Mark Private Select will have the opportunity to spend an immersive and educational day at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, KY, where they will dabble in the process used by Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels, Jr. when he created Maker’s 46 in 2010.
“This innovative process of creating a personal expression of Maker’s Mark allows the customer to create a bourbon that wanders in some intriguing ways from our traditional taste profile, while still being distinctively Maker’s Mark,” stated COO Maker’s Mark Distillery, Rob Samuels. “We’ve never before given anyone this kind of access or opportunity to create their favorite version of Maker’s™, but we’re excited to see what folks come up with and how they like to make their Maker’s when given the chance.”
As with Maker’s 46, Maker’s Mark Private Select will start with fully-matured Maker’s Mark bourbon, straight out of the barrel. Participants will receive an in-depth immersion that illustrates the essential role that wood plays in the taste of bourbon, and will select their preferred combination of five types of wood staves with which to finish their custom Maker’s expression. This collection of oak staves, each accentuating different flavors found in fully-matured Maker’s Mark, includes Baked American Pure 2, Seared French Cuvee, Maker’s 46, Roasted French Mocha, and Toasted French Spice. With 1,001 possible stave combinations, participants can create a customized finish and taste profile that is uniquely their own.
After aging for nine additional weeks in a single barrel with the participants’ custom stave combination, the Maker’s Mark Private Select bourbon will be bottled, corked and dipped at cask strength with details such as proof and stave combinations handwritten on the label.
Initially the Maker’s Mark Private Select Program will be available to Kentucky- and Illinois- based retailers in its first year and will then be expanded to additional markets during 2016.