Maker’s 46 Review

Maker's Mark 46
Maker's 46

When a ‘one product company’ releases their first new product after 52 years, the stakes are pretty high. Maker’s Mark, a huge contributor to the recent boom in bourbon consumption, makes a massive bet with their new product, Maker’s 46.

To put this into perspective, this move is as big a deal as when Coca Cola reformulated their product to make ‘New Coke’. The difference here is that Maker’s 46 isn’t designed to replace the standard Maker’s Mark, it’s meant to expand their offerings into a new space.  Sticking with the soda analogy one moment longer, Maker’s 46 is the equivalent of Coca Cola launching Dr. Pepper.  While the experience will remind you of drinking a soda, it’s a unique beverage experience in its own right.

The folks in Loretto, Kentucky can breath a sigh of relief, because unlike ‘New Coke’, Maker’s 46 is actually a marked improvement over the standard Maker’s Mark, and a move that will surely win over new fans of the brand and expand their market.

For reference, our tasting panel revisited the classic Maker’s Mark and tasted it side by side with Maker’s 46. Here’s how they fared:

Maker’s Mark Bourbon (90 Proof) –  Doing a tasting of something like Maker’s takes a lot of work. You get so used to drinking something that it becomes overly familiar and you stop picking apart the tastes. It was a delight to revisit Maker’s Mark in a tasting environment. With a nice orange red / amber color, Maker’s Mark has a soft nose with notes of cinnamon, vanilla extract, oak, cedar and tobacco. The taste of Maker’s Mark is sweet caramel, vanilla, and wheat grain with undertones of cinnamon and oak. Maker’s Mark has a pretty quick finish that leaves your mouth clean and cool (a sign of great distillation). Maker’s Mark has won over a lot of new bourbon drinkers because it’s simply delicious and easy to drink.

Maker’s Mark Rating:
Highly Recommended – With its wide availability and easy drinking, Maker’s Mark is often one of the best options you can order on the rocks at a bar that you know doesn’t do cocktails well.

Maker’s 46 (94 proof) – More yellow brown / amber in color than Maker’s Mark, Maker’s 46 looks different in the glass. The nose is infinitely more complex with notes of butterscotch, vanilla bean, baked apple, bran cereal and huge maple syrup. The entry is very smooth with a fantastic mouth feel.  The taste is huge cinnamon with confectioner’s sugar, bran cereal, maple and undertones of caramel, cardboard, and sweet oak. The finish is longer and much sweeter than Maker’s Mark and cleans up leaving your mouth very cool.  While Maker’s 46 is unique, it still has parity of taste with Maker’s Mark as they’ve retained many of the qualities that have made Maker’s Mark so successful.  Maker’s 46 builds on the excellent foundation of Maker’s Mark and represents a big step forward.  We absolutely enjoyed Maker’s 46  even more than Maker’s Mark and expect it to do great things in the marketplace.

Maker’s 46 Rating:
Very Highly Recommended – Maker’s took a risk and it has paid off big time with a more complex, spicy and enjoyable spirit. We actually like Maker’s 46 even better than the original and expect it to be a huge hit in the marketplace.

  • I tried it a while ago and was really impressed. Wonder how it will affect the branding of the original Makers Mark… But I agree, mighty tasty.

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  • I have never been a fan of Makers, there are plenty of really good bourbons out there at this price. I get a lot of flack from friends who live in bourbon county who love the stuff. I thought I owed it to myself to give the new Makers a shot and I’m glad I did. It is much better than the ORG. A lot more complex and more mellow flavor. It still won’t break the top five I keep on hand but not a bad product! I must say I rather enjoyed it.

  • Robob

    I drink Makers Mark once in a while. It is ok, have no real complaints about it. I will try the new 46. Right now, my two favorites are Evan Williams 10 year old Single Barrel and Knob Creek. If I want something relaxing and easy to drink, the Evan Williams is excellent and only 23 bucks for a bottle. If I want “high test”, Knob Creek is the one for me. For a change of pace, try Basil Hayden. Expensive, but good.

  • rg

    What does the “46” represent?

    • From what I understand from Kevin Smith at Maker’s Mark, the 46 in Maker’s 46 is the 46th recipe they tried when they were exploring the new product.

      • Juan Carlos

        46 stands for the ABV of the bourbon that equals 92 proof.

        • Actually it doesn’t. 46 is the 46th recipe they tired for the new Maker’s Mark and no the ABV.

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  • @Geoff K

    It has to do with the oak staves.

    Brad Boswell, President of the Independent Stave Company invented a technique in which he lightly seared French oak staves on both sides. The staves were seared just enough so that caramel and vanilla flavors were released, while only a small amount of tannin came out of the wood. The Maker’s 46 name comes from the profile number Boswell assigned to the special seared staves.

  • GREAT!! I drink Makers Mark once in a while. It is ok, have no real complaints about it. I will try the new 46. Right now, my two favorites are Evan Williams 10 year old Single Barrel and Knob Creek. If I want something relaxing and easy to drink, the Evan Williams is excellent and only 23 bucks for a bottle. If I want “high test”, Knob Creek is the one for me. For a change of pace, try Basil Hayden. Expensive, but good.

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  • J.Albert

    Received a bottle for Christmas.I’ve been drinking Maker’s for years.The 46 is really outstanding.I enjoy it with a good cigar…kudos.

  • thanks for this post. realy good.

  • tibsy

    Not sure I can appreciate the bran flakes or cardboard aspects but its a sweeter/milder makers mark that would mix well with coke. reminds me a a sophisticated Jack Daniels.

    • Bob the Builder

      It is not, my friend, a “sophisticated Jack Daniels”. Not even close. Jack Daniels is ghetto juice. This is, by far, much much better.

  • Johann

    I have recently been exploring finer liquors. I have enjoyed several bottles of regular Maker’s Mark, and really like it over crushed ice. I am almost done with my first bottle of Booker’s, and love that with ice and a little water.

    After reading this page, I just went out and bought two bottles of MM 46 over my lunch break. I can’t wait to try some tonight. It is below zero here in Minnesota, and it will be fantastic to enjoy a little MM-46 sitting by the fire tonight.

    • Katskigolf

      Hi Johann
      FYI….You can purchase Whiskey “Rocks” or Stones…that you keep in the Fridge…..keeps your whiskey Cold !,,,,and you can add a couple of drops of H2O without dilluting your Precious Liquid….Buy on-line…Someone gave to me as a Gift……I can’t refer to u but they are a Godsend ! Kathy.

  • Johann

    Had my first tasting last night: a couple shots poured over crushed ice.

    I LIKE IT!!! Sorry I am not eloquent enough to post a real review…

    I have only seen it at one liquor store, so I’m glad I went out on a limb and purchased two bottles.

    • Jeffrey

      I know you didn’t just say “poured over crushed ice,” right?

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  • Tonya

    Five stars! Gr8 bourbon whisky. Kentucky’s finest NO DOUBT.

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  • Kevin

    Dr. Pepper came out before Coca-Cola.

    • Vanessa

      OH SNAP!

  • KC

    Tibsy, do you not like bourbon? I can’t imagine anyone admitting to mixing bourbon with anything but a splash of water?! Maker’s definitely is a wonderful everyday bourbon….can’t wait to try this one.

  • Mr.Lucky

    I prefer regular Makers in my Manhattans and 46 neat.

  • JAG

    I am a big fan of Maker’s Mark, and this new 46 revision takes just bad. It tastes like it’s blended a nasty. A good Chef brings out the flavor in the food, not dumps spices on it so you can’t taste the food. This stuff is just gross. I can’t drink more than half a glass without thinking, what the hell.

    Maker’s Mark, the regular version, tastes very clean and you can drink it at your leisure. This 46 stuff tastes like orange peel and sugar water. I don’t like it. At all.

    I would recommend Maker’s Mark, the regular wheat kind. Macallan’s 15 year scotch whiskey(Easiest to drink). Teacher’s Origin I hear is decent(if you like peat) Whiskey. And that’s about it. Maybe appleton estate’s v/x or reserve for rum to spice up your life.

    Those are my preferences. Clean and simple. Not southern comfort orange sweet, wild turkey sugary crap, mixed with excessive alcohol to mask the flavor. No. Maker’s Mark 46 sucks balls. Sorry.

    • Jeffrey

      I’m relieved you find The 46 “gross.” More for me.

  • straight Kentucky

    Dark bold flavorful

  • Mary Perkins

    okay all you Marker Mark drinkers…..i had a drink once and loved it, but need the recipe. I think it was Marker Mark 45, pepper infused simple syrup, fresh strawberries, and fresh basil. Has anyone had this before? and is this everything in the recipe?

    • Katskigolf

      Hi Mary…
      I’m so glad you enjoyed a Maker’s Mark Strawberry Mojito…..Hopefully they didn’t use the 46 recipe,,,as it may have taken away from the smokiness of the Maker’s 46 characteristics….Maker’s Mark Bourbon is so versatile you can use Brown Spirits Like “Vodka” nowadays !!! Enjoy Autumn everyone !!! be safe !

  • Jack Bower

    Just got a bottle, and it seems to have an overpowering smoky flavor to me. Anyone else notice this? I’m not a bourbon aficionado or anything. However, I do enjoy Wild Turkey, Knob Creek, and Wild Turkey Rare Breed is like heaven for me 🙂 I did just quit smoking, so maybe it’s just my sense of taste coming back.

  • Bill

    Try a Maker’s Mark Manhattan straight Up, a little on the sweeter side, fantastic! Only way I drink Manhattan’s now.

  • Joel

    It is much better than makers mark. I just finished my second bottle and I and really enjoy the quality and smoothness. I am on the hunt for even better. i have been looking at Blantons single barrell, any advice?

    • Craig

      yes . get blanton’s any chance you get!

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  • quasi

    Please somebody make this available in Australia !
    Makers was the first bourbon I dubbed “nectar of the gods” but there’s been others since. Hoping Makers 46 can claim that title back 🙂

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  • Mikhail

    Dr. Pepper is a drink manufactured by Pepsi Co..
    I would change “Sticking with the soda analogy one moment longer, Maker’s 46 is the equivalent of Coca Cola launching Dr. Pepper.” soon before someone freaks out.

  • We are huge fans of the original Maker’s Mark but I have to admit… the 46 didn’t really seem to set a new bar. It was fantastic, no doubt, but not leaps and bounds above the regualr M’sM.

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  • Mark Baughman

    Just tried 46 and i find it really good on first taste. My favorite has been Russells Reserve for a while due to its lovely spice and orange peel flavor. A better Turkey!!
    Now will put 46 in rotation with Russell, Turkey, Woodford, Elijiah Craig, Bookers.

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  • Rody

    On my first ever bottle of the original MMark. Will definitely try the 46 if / when I see it here in the Philippines. This brandy drinker could shift to bourbon any time soon. It ‘s been said “sherry is for boys, port is for men; but he who wants to be a hero must drink brandy.” Enough said; but MMark is from the gods!

  • Richard

    Well…I’m not able to pick out all the distinct flavors and nuances everyone is commenting about. I do love a peaty scotch, though. I have had regular MMark in the past and enjoyed it quite a bit. I just bought a bottle of 46 and am now having it on the rocks. I must say it is VERY good, although I just can’t pick out the individual flavors. It’s just GOOD. While I’m sipping on this, I have water boiling for live Maine lobsters that we just picked up from a local fisherman. After the lobster…it’s down to the man cave with a huge fire in the fireplace…more 46 on the rocks…a quality cigar and either music to fit my mood or a movie. Now that’s living!

    • Snarl

      Well said Richard

  • Dennis Stan Szulinski

    I very much agree with your evaluation of Maker’s 46. A very nice polite Bourbon indeed

  • G Man

    Im not able to pick out distinct flavors and notes nut it way smoother than regular MM and it gets you drunk pretty quick. Thats good enough for me

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