Maker’s 46

Maker’s 46 via Maker’s Mark Website

First, a quick admin note: I’ve decided to focus on bourbons that I can get in the smaller bottles, so I don’t have to polish off an entire 750ml bottle before getting to try the next new flavor. That said… Maker’s was the first of those tried via the smaller, 375ml bottle.

Maker’s 46 takes its position on the list at #4, just ahead of Gentry Bourbon and very close third behind Four Roses Yellow Label. I’m thinking I’ll have to put 46 and the Yellow Label head to head at a later date.

I think I’m leaning toward the wood-finished bourbons. Maker’s 46, being the first in the distillers wood-finished bourbons is a version of the cask strength with some wood stave finishing on the back-end. This drinks easy, and I’d say this is probably something I could drink straight, but is doing very well in the Simple recipe.

It sort of blends in with the mid $30 pricing, which tells me I need to make an effort to look more at bourbons in the $20 and sub $20 price range, to really test the taste/price theory. I mean, why not? $16 Jim Beam is holding solid in the #2 spot.

Gentry Bourbon – Reserve Batch

I still have a backlog of the already ranked bourbons – but here’s to a new tasting of Gentry Bourbon – Reserve Batch.

Seems right for a BBQ and heated patio on a cool evening.

So, I bought this one sort of ‘blind’ as I browsed the bourbon isle of the Total Wine & More in South San Jose. I hadn’t read any reviews. When I got home – I got nervous after seeing it being bashed on a few places. But, I still gave it a shot.

First – I have learned that “drinking” and “tasting” are different. Well – since my intent is to see what bourbons I like in an Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail, I’m not concerned about formally ‘tasting’. To get to the point – the Gentry is pretty good. I’m going to rank it 4th out of the current 6.

The smokey flavor is more comparable to the Jim Beam Black that I have ranked at #2. Though, the smokey flavor is much more subtle in comparison. The sort of alcohol-y flavor/sensation is a bit higher than the Four Roses (Single Barrel or Yellow). This was almost a tie with Buffalo Trace, but I’m keeping the rule of no ties.

The controversy: It seems there are two reasons this bourbon carries some stigma.
1 – it’s distilled in Kentucky and Indiana before being rapidly aged (some sort of method) in Charleston, SC – thus baring the Charleston/Holy City geo-tag in its branding.
2 – The bourbon is apparently tied to a Bravo series, Southern Charm. I didn’t know the show existed until I was reading reviews and saw criticism about a reality start not being equipped to make bourbon.

Eh – I hold no bias on the matter and it’s a bourbon I’d buy again. At the same price point as Woodford Reserve, it has Woodford beat by a long-shot. Key stats:

  • Distilled: Kentucky & Indiana
  • Aged: Charleston, SC
  • Proof: 90
  • Single or Blended: Blended
  • Age: Not sure, but the website boasts some hyper-aging process that mimics lengthy aging in shorter time.


Four Roses Single Barrel

Four Roses
Single Barrel

Four Roses Single Barrel is what started this adventure… and it started it off strong. The first old fashioned I had while traveling was made with Makers Mark… the second was Four Roses Single Barrel. It was so good, that I figured if I couldn’t make an Old Fashioned with it – then I knew it was my inability and not the bourbon that was to blame.

There was some interesting history behind Four Roses as a company… in fact, it’s one of the oldest bourbons in the United States. It’s absence was due to being bought by Seagram’s and heading into WWII, pulled from the shelves in the United States to accommodate the demand and growth in Europe and Asia (interesting considering the timing and participants in WWII… maybe they really WERE still on the shelves in the U.S. – only being offered retail a little closer to where the U.S. service members were?)

From 1943 to 2002, Four Roses Bourbon was absent from the shelves of liquor stores in the United States. Lucky for me, the bourbon made it back to the U.S. just a few years before I could buy it legally and in plenty of time to kick off my Bourbon journey – and kick it off strong! Not only did it start (and as of 2/4/2019 remains) at #1 ranked bourbon on my list, it’s a bold, yet smooth, 100 proof!