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Maker's Mark Wood Series 2021 "FAE-01" Bourbon

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The Maker's Wood Finishing Series was inspired by the success of Maker’s Mark 46 - which takes the classic, and classically consistent bourbon, and ages it with 10 French oak staves added directly into the barrel. Over many wood-finishing experiments with the Independent Stave Company, the son of the Maker's Mark founders, Bill Samuels Jr, identified a perfectly toasted French Oak stave that enhanced the essential components of Maker's, creating a rounder bourbon with bolder caramel, butterscotch, and stone fruit flavors. "Stave Profile No. 46." became a Maker's exclusive and lent its name to the final product.

For the Wood Finishing Series, Maker's creates limited releases, incorporating new and unique staves, and bottling un-chill filtered at cask strength. The Maker's wheated mash bill of 70% Corn, 16% Wheat, and 14% Malted Barley remains the same. The third release in the series, FAE-01, uses an American oak stave that is seared on one side and left raw on the other to amplify some of the signature dried fruit and oak flavors. Bourbon derives these tasting notes from naturally retained elements of barrel char and organic compounds called fatty acid esters (FAEs), which are responsible for both fruity tones and texture variations. Each side of the FAE-01 stave draws out different characteristics of these two flavor components – the charred side offers dark leathery tobacco notes, and the raw side yields fresh fruit, the two of which come together to create intense barrel-aged fruitiness.

FAE-01 is another win for Maker’s Finishing Series. It doesn’t venture into the double oaked category, instead enhancing Maker’s Mark Bourbons existing strengths. This comes in the form of more potent dark and dried fruits, but also wide ranging scents and flavors in the form of burnt butter on the nose, blackberries on the palate, and hazelnut on the finish.

“Every whisky in our Wood Finishing Series is meant to have a strong point of view; it should tell a story about what we do at the distillery,” says Jane Bowie, director of innovation at Maker’s Mark. “For 2021 we wanted to use wood to draw out those underlying bold qualities of classic Maker’s that we get from non-chill filtration - heavy oakiness, earthy fig and that creamy, palate-coating mouthfeel... This release tastes just like a Kentucky barrel warehouse smells,” says Bowie. “If you’ve ever walked through a rick house and taken a deep breath, you can almost taste the bourbon in the air, and that’s the experience we’ve created with FAE-01. There’s tons of pleasantly dank wood and tobacco on the nose, and rich, warm raisin and fig on the tongue — it’s literally like sipping on angel’s share.”