Barrel-proof Maker's!?

Talk about rare, export, annual release and other types of similar bottlings here.

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Unread postby cowdery » Fri Jan 28, 2005 7:38 pm

I don't think anyone at MM is philosophically opposed to alternative expressions. Dave has even told me he wishes he could "show off" a little with some specialty bottlings. Their problem is a genuine limit to how much they can produce. It's a nice problem to have, but they are producing as much as they can and selling everything they produce.

The only distillery that can say the same is Woodford for its pot-distilled component.
- Chuck Cowdery

Author of Bourbon, Straight
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Thanks Chuck

Unread postby NeoTexan » Mon Jan 31, 2005 8:57 am

Thank you Chuck for your insight.

As perhaps the only person on this forum (or others) that enjoys MM as a daily pour I get fustrated at the lack of respect MM gets.

Popular complaints:
1. Costs to much for what I get. (I find that it is in line [or below] with what I would consider equals.)

2. Markets itself as a premium when its not. (Your right, marketing should say "We are just average so buy our product". You would keep your job as a marketing person for about 2 seconds at any distillery with that as your proposal to mgmt.)

3. Not enough expressions (If I did my math correct, and Chuck please correct me if I am wrong, JD makes in 6 days what MM makes in a year. By increasing the proof for just a small portion of their product they would lose a lot of regular red bottles)

I know I will not convince those of you out there that (as in the wine community) have declared yourselves the experts in what a bourbon should taste like (there are a few of you who's opinion I do respect [Chuck being one]) but at least I got this off my chest. For those out there that have not tried MM because of these "experts", I invite you to try some with an open mind. Everyone's taste is different and what you drink should not be infuenced by individuals who are self appointed authorities on the subject.

Sorry for the rant.

Dale
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Unread postby OneCubeOnly » Mon Jan 31, 2005 10:31 am

Dale, I really don't follow your train of thought here. You do a spectacular job of summarizing the problems many enthusiasts have with MM, yet your final rebuttal is about its taste. I don't recall many people saying MM tastes bad, in fact it's a rather tasty pour.

In my opinion, Maker's is very good, but a victim of its own excellent marketing. They don't need to 'win over' the enthusiasts, and quite possibly any effort to do so will undermine their success.
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Unread postby Oregone » Mon Jan 31, 2005 12:20 pm

Yesterday, I stumbled on a letter I got a few years back from Bill Samuels(?), which he clearly typed and signed personally and which was clearly written directly in response to a fan letter I sent him. I had been inspired to write him to thank him for the work the distillery does and for how much I appreciate their attention to a delicious, beautifully-made whisky.

My opinion hasn't changed over the years, although I tend to enjoy more rye-based whiskey these days.

My only complaint is that I really wish I had access to some of the other expressions of the whisky, which they clearly produce but which they don't market in the US. And I don't get why, in today's market, they continue to ship those overseas rather than sell them here. Presumably, a distillery would do that because they don't think the US market for the whisky exists. I have to disagree.

For the humor-impaired, my previous comment about this being "unAmerican" was a joke.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:19 pm

I don't think that they think there is no market in the United States for the specialty bottlings of Maker's Mark, Instead i think it has more to do with profit margins. They charge a lot more for their product overseas than in the U.S. and the specialty bottings reflect that price.

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MM

Unread postby NeoTexan » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:23 pm

OneCubeOnly: Sorry for the disjointed post. The draft I wrote in MS Word was a little long and I edited it to post. I should have been more careful as to what I cut and left in. In the Word version I go into tastings and wheat vs rye etc. and makes more sense in reference to my conclusion. (That's why I leave the writing to those who know what they are doing)

Mark: I too would like to see the Japanese version available here. I do not know why it is not. I have some ideas but am not going to speculate. I am to see Dave very soon and I will try to nail down a more difinitive answer to the question.

I am sorry if I offend anyone in this matter but I am used to seeing posts (mainly on another site) from folks who love to put it down and I just had to speak up.
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Unread postby Brewer » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:36 pm

Dale,

I doubt that you offended anyone. We all have our opinions of all the bourbons out there regarding taste, flavor, availability, etc. All that matters is what each of us as individuals like/dislike. We've got our reasons for these opinions, but it doesn't mean one is right, one is wrong. They're just opinions. I think its interesting to read what others opinions are and why. Regarding MM, I agree that its a good bourbon, but overpriced, IMO. I wish that the different bottlings that they send overseas was available here. I had the good fortune of tasting a fairly old bottling during the 2003 Bourbon Fest, courtesy of Mike V. That was a nice alternative to the regular red wax variety IMO. Maybe Mike would remind us of what that bottling was.
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Unread postby Oregone » Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:39 pm

bourbonv wrote:I don't think that they think there is no market in the United States for the specialty bottlings of Maker's Mark, Instead i think it has more to do with profit margins. They charge a lot more for their product overseas than in the U.S. and the specialty bottings reflect that price.

Mike Veach


That might be the logic. Four Roses sells their yellow and black labels in Europe cheap, though, so that isn't necessarily the rationale. And my point is that in today's market, a distillery can sell premium bourbon at a premium price in this country -- look at the sales of the Jim Beam high-end line, and all the other fairly expensive bourbons that are doing pretty well.

It's no longer a cheapskate market.

:D
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jan 31, 2005 2:52 pm

I actually had two bottles of Maker's Mark from either 1979 or 80. I know this because it had the fluid ounce and metric sizes on the bottle and those were the transition years. I brought the gold wax to Bardstown that one year for sampling.

The taste of these old Maker's was far superior to what is being sold today. It had more caramel and vanilla flavors with a hint of oak. I wish I had some more, but those bottles are empty. The gold wax bottle was left empty at Howie's house last September.

These bottles show that Maker's deserved its reputation at one time as a superior bourbon, but has fallen, in my opinion, during the last 20 years. It is now a good bourbon, but not exceptional.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jan 31, 2005 2:57 pm

The market in the U.S. is growing for more expensive bourbon, but I don't think people would support an $80.00 bottle of Maker's Mark. Depending upon the exchange rate, that is about what they can get in Japan for a specialty bottle of Maker's.

The profit margin is what makes many of these companies send there best bourbon overseas, but not the only reason. They want to make sure that these new markets get the good products to enhance their sales of the normal product. This strategy seems to be working as overseas sales increase.

Mike Veach
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Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:08 pm

Mike, do you think the whisky may have improved in the bottle over that time? Even small amounts of evaporation might accentuate the oak taste, for example. And possibly certain of the "harsher" tasting compounds might mellow out through exposure to air. I was reading a book written in the late 1960's called Drinks and Drinking by Frederic Martin, a Briton who seemed in his later years when it was written and had worked in the wine and spirits trade in England. In the book he says while the accepted explanation is that spirits do not improve in the bottle, recent research has suggested the opposite may be the case and bottled spirits may be "layed down" to improve over time like port would. As I am writing this I realise, too, that port contains brandy, so would that component not change over time just as the wine part would? Or can one say only the wine component changes (assuming one could even separate the two for this purpose)?

Anyway, Martin adds (you can picture the way an elderly Briton of a certain time might say this), "pity I can't wait". :)

Thus, with respect to a comparative exercise like this, I guess while we can draw inferences in favor of the older product, as I did recently regarding Beam White of 1980 and Beam White of today for example, how do we really know the older product tasted like it does now when first released?

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Unread postby bourbonv » Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:17 pm

Gary,
I don't think so because those bottles tasted the way I remember Maker's tasting in those days. If they changed any at all it was probably a little oxidation. As a whole, they were great whiskeys. I am on the lookout for more. I know Howie really wants me to find another gold wax 101 proof Maker's. If I find one, I will have to open it with him. (I think he might even fly to Louisville just for the occasion, he liked it so much.)

Mike Veach
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Unread postby gillmang » Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:23 pm

Well, that's a good point, if it tastes like you remember it that would favor the idea that it didn't change (or not very much).

If I could get a hold of Old Overholt or Old Grandad from, say, the early 1980's I think I could tell if they changed in the bottle because I can recall (I think) how they tasted back then. I still like what is put out today under those names (especially Grandad 86 proof) but I feel they were better than.

Gary
Last edited by gillmang on Mon Jan 31, 2005 4:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Unread postby Oregone » Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:28 pm

gillmang wrote:
Thus, with respect to a comparative exercise like this, I guess while we can draw inferences in favor of the older product, as I did recently regarding Beam White of 1980 and Beam White of today for example, how do we really know the older product tasted like it does now when first released?

Gary



A couple of years ago, I bought a truly hideous decanter of Michter's on EBay because it was "unopened". As it turned out, there were some cork problems and definitely some evaporation although it was technically "unopened." The whiskey was surprisingly good, but it was pretty obviously not what had originally gone into the bottle. At least, I hope not. There were flavors present (and are, come to think of it, I never finished the bottle) that I just don't think were part of the plan.

In this case, then, not an improvement but definitely a change.
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Unread postby bunghole » Mon Jan 31, 2005 3:38 pm

bourbonv wrote:Gary,
I don't think so because those bottles tasted the way I remember Maker's tasting in those days. If they changed any at all it was probably a little oxidation. As a whole, they were great whiskeys. I am on the lookout for more. I know Howie really wants me to find another gold wax 101 proof Maker's. If I find one, I will have to open it with him. (I think he might even fly to Louisville just for the occasion, he liked it so much.)

Mike Veach


Hey Mike! Not only Howie, but I also liked the 101 proof 'gold wax' expression :!: You read it here first, folks!

I'd rather have Pappy 20, but "I'd really like a little Maker's Mark (Gold Wax 101 proof) Please!"

:arrow: ima :shock:
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