Maker's Mark began with the Samuels family. In 1783, Robert Samuels began to distil whiskey for personal consumption. The operations continued down the generations until a commercial distillery was eventually established. This was sold by T W Samuels during the mid twentieth century. He then founded a smaller distillery in Loretto, Kentucky and focussed on creating an artisan product, distilling far less, but with a greatly increased quality.
It was decided that a new mashbill was required, rather than going through the costly and time consuming process of distilling varying recipes, Samuels chose to bake loaves of bread with differing proportions of grain. The finest tasting loaf was chosen; a loaf with a high barley and red winter wheat content and no rye. It was Bill Samuels Sr who destroyed the ancient family recipe and in 1958, the first bottles of Marker's Mark were sold.
There are no age statements on the wax dipped bottles, for Maker's Mark is not bottled by age, but by taste, when the Master Distiller deems it ready for general consumption. Each bottle is emblazoned with the letters SIV, the "S" stands for Samuels and "IV" is four in Roman numerals, honouring the creator, in the fourth generation of the family. There is also a star on the logo, a reference to Star Hill, the location of the distillery.
Nose: Fruity and rich. There are lovely notes of spiced honey and mixed peels, a little malmsey, hazelnut and a touch of cut fruit with toasty oak providing a backbone.
Palate: Rich and full. There are notes of rye and spice, barley malt, a little nut oil with butterscotch and vanilla.
Finish: Quite sweet with butterscotch and dry oak spice.