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As many of you may know, as part of the signing of the Easter Sunday Accords, IRON agreed to several forms of reparations that have nothing to do with the mechanics of our nations but have everything to do with a fun, adult Saturday night. One of those items was a bourbon review, and today it is my pleasure to offer a review of my favorite bourbon: Maker’s Mark.


[*]This portion of our reparations has nothing to do with any other portions and does not signal the beginning of any other payments due per the Easter Sunday Accords.
[*]Please make sure you are of legal drinking age if you choose to sample this product after reading my review. I wouldn’t want to endorse anything else, regardless of those photos of me during my college years that Shan likes to circulate! :)



Now first of all, I feel as though I must define what bourbon actually is since to many it’s just Whiskey. The following list of what makes bourbon, well bourbon, has been taken from the Wikipedia article on bourbon and verified from independent sources:


[*]Bourbon must be made of a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn.
[*]Bourbon must be distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume).
[*]Neither coloring nor flavoring may be added.
[*]Bourbon must be aged in new, charred oak barrels.
[*]Bourbon must be entered into the barrel at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).
[*]Bourbon, like other whiskeys, may not be bottled at less than 80 proof (40% alcohol by volume.)
[*]Bourbon which meets the above requirements and has been aged for a minimum of two years, may (but is not required to) be called Straight Bourbon.
[*]Straight Bourbon aged for a period less than four years must be labeled with the duration of its aging.
[*]If an age is stated on the label, it must be the age of the youngest whiskey in the bottle.

Now that you know what bourbon actually is, it’s time to turn our attention to the focus of my review. I was first introduced to Maker’s Mark approximately 8 years ago and have not since found bourbon that I prefer over it. The first thing to notice about the bottle is the distinctive red wax in which the end is dipped to provide a seal after bottling. It’s the type of small thing that really catches the eye and sets Maker’s Mark apart from other bourbons before the bottle is even opened. As for the product itself, one must cover the following items in order to fully explore the quality of the bourbon:



[size="4"][u][b]Why does color matter?[/b][/u][/size]


From the tasting notes of the Maker’s Mark official website, the ideal color is, “Rich and brilliant – see-through amber, but with a flame orange glint that tells of the warmth to come.” Now I know marketing people are paid a lot of money to come up with flowery language to describe the product and if you are like me, I read that and think, “Uhhhhh, ok.” I’ll try to come up with something a little more our speed. As long as the bourbon doesn’t look pale, and my bottle surely did not, everything should be good. To be honest, the color is important, but it was the least of my concerns.

[size="4"][u][b]Flowers anyone?[/b][/u][/size]


First impressions are important and although the color comes first, the bouquet is more important. I liken it to seeing a picture of a beautiful woman, she may look great, but a picture is outweighed by that first face to face meeting with her. Nothing can mean more than the true first impression where you get to not only see her in person, but also catch that first scent of perfume. If it’s meant to be, you may already know at this point. To me, the first scent received from a bourbon functions in much the same (but hopefully not romantic, if so seek help) way. Once I break the seal and open the bottle, I can’t help but notice the aroma that hints at good things to come. It’s the type of smell that would cause most children to turn away in search of something else (which is a good thing) but to a more mature nose it screams, come on in! From the tasting notes, the ideal aroma is, “Full, yet delicate; well-rounded; possessing a distinctive caramel aroma of the charred oak with a hint of vanilla; pleasant and inviting.” That’s a bit hoity-toity for me, but I suppose I can see it.

[size="4"][u][b]Not that Flavor Flav![/b][/u][/size]


Honestly, is there anything more important than this? I certainly don’t think so. The tasting notes have a lot to say on the matter. They state, “It would be presumptuous on our part to suggest what the ideal flavor should be, even though you can be sure we at Maker’s Mark have a rather strongly held opinion on the subject. On the other hand, we all agree that truly great bourbon must be:


[*]Rich in flavor, yet soft on the palate.
[*]Distinctive and complex, yet possess the refinement and balance found in a finely crafted malt or cognac.
[*]Refreshing and pleasant.
[*]And the enjoyment is always an experience of the total.

Am I the only one that finds that description too vague? It feels a bit too much like a wine tasting party for my style. Anyway, the first sip of Maker’s Mark (which MUST be served alone or at the most on-the-rocks) has the sharp bite that makes the mouth water a bit and leaves you wanting more. This is an important feature of bourbon for me. It can’t be watered down or overpowering; it must be somewhere delightfully in the middle. Maker’s Mark always seems to get better as you go, I just don’t suggest going too far toward the bottom of the bottle in one night; let that to the 21 year olds trying to prove something.

[size="4"][u][b]The Finish Line[/b][/u][/size]


Now that we’ve reached the last characteristic upon which bourbons are evaluated, I must mention that Maker’s Mark doesn’t leave me with that “mouth-rot” feeling that other whiskey products so often do. Sure your breath may not be as fresh as a summer’s day, but I don’t think that’s on the list of objectives when breaking that trademark red wax seal.

Though there may be more expensive or more popular bourbons on the market, I’ve never been a frontrunner chasing the cool kids as can be evidenced by my 4+ years in one and only one alliance. Loyalty to one’s brothers and sisters is not something that changes on a whim so why should one’s allegiance to his favorite bourbon be any different? I may one day find something else that suits me better, but for now, a great Saturday night starts with a Maker’s Mark on the rocks. Thank you.

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Fantastic pick for the review, easily one of my favorite bourbons. My friend works at a liquor store so we often end up with very cheap bottles of maker's or bulleit, and I find both to be absolutely fantastic. I'd easily take bourbon over pretty much every other liquor made.

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[quote name='Matt Miller' date='31 May 2010 - 08:39 PM' timestamp='1275356343' post='2318409']
It's worth it.
Can't say bourbon is my favorite drink these days, that honor generally goes to good vodkas, but Maker's Mark is a damn fine drink. Good review Matt ^_^

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