Whisky Advocate

The new Maker’s Mark “46”: New video of Bill Samuels and Kevin Smith discussing the bourbon.

April 1st, 2010

Here’s a new video of Bill Samuels, Jr., Maker’s Mark bourbon President, and Kevin Smith, Maker’s Mark bourbon Master Distiller, describing the new Maker’s Mark expression and how it was created. Have a look:

This video expains, in their words, why they created what they did–and how. As you know, I was fortunate enough to taste several “work in progress” samples with Kevin, which I wrote about here and several times earlier, but I don’t know what the final product is going to taste like (although I have a pretty good idea).

Stay tuned…

24 Responses to “The new Maker’s Mark “46”: New video of Bill Samuels and Kevin Smith discussing the bourbon.”

  1. Bob Siddoway says:

    I’m ready to try it NOW! Sounds like it will be quite an interesting experiment and I’m willing to bet I will enjoy it more than regular MM.

    Now if i could only get my hands on some barrel proof MM… 😉

  2. Red_Arremer says:

    Ok so it’s the more intense “cousin”– not the brother or son. I get it. Sounds fun though 🙂

  3. Seth Nadel says:

    I’m not a huge Makers Mark drinker, but I’m looking forward to trying it.

  4. BourbonMan says:

    I’m sorry…I just am not buying what they are selling in this video.

    A few things stand out in what these Gentlemen are saying….

    They talk about advancing the the state of the art…..but they do nothing different when making the original juice. Well, what art are they referring to? Cause adding staves to a finished product is not art…it’s called a ‘FINISH’.

    They talk about trying different proofs and ages…..and say that they didn’t want to do that because it had already been done and wasn’t new. But, they have not distributed them widely in many years. Also, changing the proof and age is the traditional way to offer different flavors without having to act like you did something special. We are not asking for Makers to reinvent the wheel….just to offer a range of products like others do. Like an 80, 90, and 100 proof bottlings.

    They say….that this is not an improvement over original Makers. I sure hope it doesn’t cost more. Since, as they say…IT’s Not Better.

    They say it’s spicier. But, wheated juice isn’t supposed to be spicey….that’s why people who like it….drink it. Rye whiskey is spicey…if that’s what you seek…go that direction.

    There are many ways to get new flavors out of your juice. I would hope that they would be interested in trying them at some point. Lower proof off the still….lower barrel proof….use a different yeast….add more barley to the mashbill….increase the char in the barrel….toast the barrel….don’t filter the whiskey as much….and so on.

    In conclusion, this is not an impressive stride for Makers Mark…especially if they try to charge extra for this offering. If it sells for less than regular Makers…then I will change my opinion.

    • Kevin says:

      I work for a major retailer and from what I hear its going to be $5 to $10 above regular Maker’s. I’m still hoping for the best and will definitely buy at least one bottle.

    • Vince says:

      I agree with the BourbanMan 100%. I couldnt have said it better. To Chuck’s point, lets see how it tastes. I will probably buy a dram in a bar rather than spend on a bottle. I am not a big makers fan since , in my opinion, it is like “Bourbon Lite”. I would love to see them offer a 100 proof product . The standard makers cannot touch OWA 107 (again, only my opinion).

  5. Because Maker’s Mark is Maker’s Mark, everything they do generates push-back. I’d like to modify the plane of the discussion a little bit. Assume for the sake of argument that the new Maker’s Mark 46 is really, really good. Maybe one of the best things you’ve ever tasted. Then how would you feel about it?

  6. […] 46.  A sample bottle was there.  I tried it (apparently even before John Hansell!).  By that point my palate was not as resilient as I would have liked, but I remember it being […]

  7. DukeB says:

    Maker’s Mark is not going to see something with their name on it that isn’t up to their specs or quality. I am so excited to own this new expression!

    • Red_Arremer says:

      “… so excited to ‘own’ it,” Duke? Just because of the perfectly reasonable quality of MM’s one and only ordinary offering?

      Personally, I’m more looking forward to “tasting” it– We’ll see how excited I become about “owning” it. It is an interesting product, though.

  8. BourbonMan says:

    if MM has such high standards as you say…then why are they using this weak attempt at adding flavor to an already finished product?

    Why not hold Makers Mark up to the high standards that we would expect…and request that they change something of significance.

    What they are essentially doing is waving a magic wand over the barrel and saying that it is Now, worth asking more money for.

    Hold Makers Mark up to the high standards to which they are already charging you. Require that they make a significant change…not just some trick that they didn’t even see fit to use durring the whole aging process…not just the last three months.

    Also, ask yourself why MM is so much more expensive than it’s almost identical twin…Weller 7yr 90 proof.

    Also, ask yourself why MM doesn’t offer various ages and proofs like almost all other bourbons do.

    What we don’t need as a country….is producers charging more while not giving us more. It appears that MM is leading the way in this catagory. My issues revolve around quality to price ratio…and MM is never in the green on that scale. I have a hard time understanding why folks choose to give their money to a company that doesn’t offer value in their product.

    I will say….that the 12yr Weller is a much better value and flavor than Makers or their new #46 Makers will ever be. If you havn’t tried Weller 12….give it a shot. Your pocket book and taste buds will thank you.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      I’m not going to question your Weller comparisons BourbonBreath, but if you haven’t tried the 46 how do you know how good it “will ever be”? Also I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand just because the new wood element doesn’t spend as long in contact with the spirit as the cask does. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with finishes. Perhaps they are sometimes used to generate novelty and variety at the expense of more fundamental values and improvements, but I wouldn’t assume such out of hand. You’ve got to taste the whisky– But yeah, Maker’s is definitely a bit overpriced.

      • BourbonMan says:

        Excellent points, Red.

        I’m not trying to dismiss the product on it’s own rights. Just trying to find equilibrium between an already overpriced product and another reason for increasing the price. When there are other courses of action that wouldn’t relate to an increase in price…such as not filtering the product so much.

        In a time when Americans are hurting for money…the Beam/Makers Mark family is finding another way to ask for more of our cash. And not really giving us a great reason to do it, in my opinion. If I saw them doing something extraordinary…I would be happy to say so.

        When I reach for a wheated bourbon…I always look to Old Fitzgerald and Weller. MM is never in my price range. I guess I just can’t afford the wax?

  9. […] history on it here. And there’s a video of Kevin Smith and Bill Samuels talking about it here.) You may also remember that I felt that the first sample he sent me did just cross the line […]

  10. Arnold says:


    What you and others are ignoring when considering the price is the process by which Makers is made. It is handcrafted and production is carried out much the same way it was 5 decades ago. Even the dipping of the red wax seal is done by hand to ensure that every bottle has a unique pattern. They charge more because it cost them more to produce the bourbon. If you would rather drink something else due to price then go ahead, but let’s not assume the producers are charging more just to scam the customers.

    As far as 46 goes, Makers prides themselves on making just one product and doing it the same way they did back when Bill Samuels Sr. perfected his recipe. 46 was not an attempt to create something entirely new. That was never their intention. What they wanted to do was create a Makers that had some variation, but still felt and tasted like Makers. If you want more variation than this then there are plenty of options, but who are we to tell the company how to carry out their business. They seem to know what they are doing thus far.

  11. pimmy says:

    I don,t like it. if want something spicey i will drink captain morgan

  12. gary beckefeld says:

    very good had some new years eve and enjoyed it . makers mark is quality!!!

  13. Gargoyle says:

    Wow I want another bottle, smooth rich, received a bottle at Christmas, had a sipor two each evening, made my day. Lasted till Jan5 had the last shot on my 64th birthday. Would share this w/ Good friends, and will. One promised to a good friend when we get together this next spring. Thanks bill and Kevin

  14. Mark Hernandez says:

    As a regular,and long time fan of MM I saw,bought and tried the 46 without knowing anything about it.The extra cost peeked my interest figuring it was a better version of the original,they call me Markie Mark because of my love for the nectar and was very pleased by what I tasted.Im not a whiskey connoiseur,just a whiskey sewer,but I do know what I like,and I do like this.Good job boys!!!! If you can’t afford it,work harder!!!

  15. I got my first bottle of 46. Not sure about it. I’m such an MM man that any deviation from the original makes me skeptical of followups. Here’s what I am disappointed about: The sale of MM to some corporate vulture who will wind up destroying the original rpoduct for the sake of pur eprofit. Forget the quality and make the dollar for the stockholders who have no real interest in maintaining what has been a top fixture in the bourbon field. MM was not boke so why fix it? I’ll stay with MM until I sense another change in direction of the ivory tower board room genuises

  16. Dave Patterson says:

    Well fellas, if you all are really so critically particular about product quiality, grains, age, finish, etc. I suggest you get off your critical butts the way any true American would and try your hand at making your own. You would be surprised what a gentleman who is determined, willing to do minimum research, and expend a few bucks and a little labor can achieve. As long as you keep the exsistence of your results to yourself, and for god’s sakes don’t try to sell anything, you should have few if any problems and may develop the world’s next fine whiskey..

  17. Bourbon boy says:

    I have been a fan of MM for Years!
    Now though I see a pattern with spots on TV and even this video that they say nothing about being a BOURBON, only a whiskey. I was under that notion that the Kentucky guys like the distinction of being a BOURBON,it sets them apart!

  18. Dr. Larry R. Cassaw says:

    I do Not condone drinking adult beverages Unless they are made by you! Yes for many years I have been drinking Makers Mark and now “46”. It is very smooth and yet hardy if that makes sense. I am on my third round at the moment so this may not come out with any sense of understanding. My computer speakers on not functioning so I’ll have to watch the video later. I have introduced “46” to many friends and a few restaurants that I ask to carry. The nearest package store was not caring it, but does now with some modicum of success. My wife and friends drove the RV down from a trip to Chicago and toured your facility. Thank you for your new product. I should send you one of our new products since we opened a new business here in Atlanta. It would compliment your products considerable. Anyway, tks again and congratulations on such a fine Bourbon….lrc Oh WOW, I just read some of the comments above. Even though everyone has a favorite it is hardly fair to compare your product with some of the junk they drink. TOTALLY a different Bourbon. A “One of a kind original” One cannot compare the excellent quality of 46 to their favorite choice. I do not find it spicy and why make an 80, 90 etc just because others produce in that manner? You have produced an excellent product and are different than the common distiller. Your unique system of producing what you decide is best and that is what drives your company. Why be “the same” as others? Continue to be different as that is what makes your company “above the average” and successful. So pooh on the nay sayers and GOD speed…..lrc

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