Whisky Advocate

Some pics from my visit to Maker’s Mark Distillery

September 26th, 2009

I was there last night to do a live webcast with distillery managers John Campbell (Laphroaig) and Kevin Smith (Maker’s Mark). Before the webcast, I took some pics with my Blackberry, tweeted them, and then downloaded them to my laptop today. They’re not the clearest pictures in the world, but I thought you might enjoy seeing them.

Incidentally, did anyone watch the webcast? Your thoughts?

11 Responses to “Some pics from my visit to Maker’s Mark Distillery”

  1. Tanguy says:

    Yes I did and it was a great idea. I am just sorry that it did not last longer to allow an audience participation and more questions coming from the viewers. A full hour have been perfect.

  2. John Hansell says:

    Yes, Kevin Smith and I both agreed an hour would have been great. We were having fun.

  3. Armin says:

    John, I’ve written up my thoughts here: My Experience of Laphroaig Live (assuming html is allowed here…)

  4. WHISKYhost says:

    I’d like your opinion on something that always bothers me, John. If a whisky lover is going to take the time to watch this specialist broadcast online (and folks in the UK were watching during the middle of the night) shouldn’t the producers assume the audience is knowledgeable enough to bypass the usual framing comments. When they had you explain the difference between single malt and bourbon I knew we were going to have another ho-hum production (and you explained the differences articulately). The time spent sniffing barrels also took time away from substantive discussion among the three experts. I said this to Armin on Twitter yesterday but what do knowledgeable whisky lovers have to do to get an event to blow their socks off?

    Thanks, as always, for your time and willingness to respond to these direct questions.

  5. John Hansell says:

    I think they were going for a more novice audience. They covered so many topics (bourbon, scotch, cocktails, cooking with whisky), there really wasn’t enough time to go into detail on anything.I had no say in the content, but that’s my guess.

    And, with the exception of the first question, I didn’t even know what questions were going to be asked. I DO wish we had more time to answer questions. (and having the show earlier in the day would have been kind to all of you across the pond.)

    Still I thought it was an enjoyable show, if perhaps not geared towards the more serious whisky enthusiast.

  6. Mike says:

    I enjoyed the webcast very much- thank you for your time and effort John! Like the other commenters, I would have enjoyed a longer Q&A session. I also still don’t understand why Maker’s Mark doesn’t experiment with limited (yearly) edition longer-age, higher-proof, non-chill-filtered product. Perhaps now that they’re at higher overall production, they’ll consider it. I really didn’t buy Kevin Smith’s statement along the lines of “We don’t do other stuff because we might screw it up.” Maker’s hit it’s branding stride long ago and I think the other U.S. distilleries have proven that offering premium bottlings can be both profitable and further expanding your core market. For instance, fans of Buffalo Trace or Heaven Hill’s limited edition stuff (who probably see themselves as “beyond” Maker’s Mark these days) still buy new cars, new clothes, and new pure-bred hunting dogs. All of these things could be scaled back a bit for these same people to add special edition Maker’s to the bunker alongside offerings from Buffalo Trace, Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, etc. (who all have no problems continuing to sell their “production line” bourbons).

  7. John Hansell says:

    Mike, as much as I enjoy Maker’s, I would like to seem more Maker’s Mark expressions too. And I let Kevin know this.

  8. Michael Shoshani says:

    “Mike, as much as I enjoy Maker’s, I would like to seem more Maker’s Mark expressions too. And I let Kevin know this.”

    100 percent! I see no reason why they can’t re-introduce a 101 proof expression. I’d buy a case of it just to ensure a supply in case they remove it from the market. Again.

  9. Louis says:

    Mike,

    Afew years ago, I attended the Makers Mark Seminar at Whiskyfest (it was either 2004 or 2005, and I don’t remember whom the presenter was). We were told that Makers Mark does not benefit from additional aging, and had a chance to find out. Among the samples we were poured were the standard six year old and also a one aged for nine years. It was fairly obvious that they were right, the nine year was not as good. But I’ll second your request for higher proof and no chill filtering.

    Slainte.

    Louis

  10. Michael Shoshani says:

    We were told that Makers Mark does not benefit from additional aging, and had a chance to find out. Among the samples we were poured were the standard six year old and also a one aged for nine years. It was fairly obvious that they were right, the nine year was not as good.

    You know, it just occurred to me….dastardly as it sounds, what if they deliberately grabbed a barrel that wasn’t so tasty, to slant their point?

    We all know that barrels age differently. We also know that Maker’s really isn’t invested in older/stronger expressions. With a single-barrel bottling you grab the very best-tasting barrel of the target age that you can, but what if – to “prove” that their whiskey doesn’t age as well as others – they grabbed a nine year old barrel that was past its prime, perhaps not grabbing one that was spectacular?

    Just a curiosity. :)

  11. John Hansell says:

    Michael, you’re catching on, my friend. You don’t think they would actually pull an older barrel that was as good or (gasp!) better than the standard Maker’s do you? I have a bottle of the Black Label Select 95 proof and have worked my way through two previous bottles. It’s only maybe a year older than the standard Maker’s but I like it as much if not better.

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