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Enoch
09-24-2011, 14:37
Among other things I mention in Collectables below. I picked up 2 bottles of Maker's Mark pre-upc today (around 1980). It is clearly darker than my current bottle but I was wondering if anyone knows if Maker's has changed anything over the last 30 years. I'm not going to open them yet because I have too much open right now but the guy had several more bottles and I was trying to decide whether to get the rest of them.

Thanks,
Enoch

Gillman
09-24-2011, 15:51
My suggestion would be to buy a current bottle and offer comparative taste notes. To my knowledge, nothing has changed in production over the years, but some have suggested the product was richer-tasting 30 years ago, which could perhaps indicate it was aged longer then. A comparative taste test would seem the only way really to know.

Sometimes memories are faulty and perhaps there is no real difference.

Gary

Enoch
09-24-2011, 17:14
My suggestion would be to buy a current bottle and offer comparative taste notes. To my knowledge, nothing has changed in production over the years, but some have suggested the product was richer-tasting 30 years ago, which could perhaps indicate it was aged longer then. A comparative taste test would seem the only way really to know.

Sometimes memories are faulty and perhaps there is no real difference.

Gary
Shall do. I'm also going to bring a bottle to the sampler in April. Already have my reservations.

Gillman
09-24-2011, 18:09
Thanks for this on both counts.

Let me say that Maker's of that era is something not really nailed down on this board, because it's been hard to find any. (Ditto Jack Daniels from the 1970's or before).

Good find and just your own taste notes here would be helpful to try to understand if there has been some change.

Gary

tmckenzie
09-25-2011, 02:05
I know one thing for sure. I first drank Makers in the mid 90's. it was good stuff up until around 2000. Something changed. I have a book that Gary Regan did in the mid nineties as well. There is a picture of Steve Nally standing by a fermenter at Makers with a jar. At least it looks like him, but anyway, the mash is for sure darker than mashes I have seen in person the last time I was there which was a few years ago. Darker in color meaning it was not as yellow. Meaning to me the mash used to have more wheat in it. The change in taste I noticed was it became not nearly as drinkable and had a hot taste to it. I have not drank much of it since.

I have had JD from the late 70's it is a horse of a different color as well. Almost rum like.

Gillman
09-25-2011, 08:08
Interesting, I did greatly enjoy those two in the 70's and have always wondered if it is just nostalgia or something changing. With Maker's, one would think the information should be available simply by asking Bill Samuels. Personally I would doubt they changed the mash bill in this way, but who knows?

I did have a small taste once (i.e., in the last few years) of Maker's Mark from the 70's courtesy a member of this board and it was excellent, rich and darker seemingly than today's. But I'd like to repeat the experience to confirm...

Gary

T Comp
09-25-2011, 08:40
II have had JD from the late 70's it is a horse of a different color as well. Almost rum like.

Very interesting about the late 70's JD being rum like. Same thing with the Brown-Forman made Old Forester of that time. I had an '81 OF BIB that was rummy enough to have been thought as one in a fun blind tasting among friends one night. An '83 I now have open continues with it too.

tmckenzie
09-25-2011, 08:59
Mash change or no, and the idea behind the rummy whiskies of jd and bf of old just indicates to me that the creeping up of proof off the still and in the barrel has caused the biggest changes to the flavors of whiskey.

Gillman
09-25-2011, 10:11
That seems the most logical explanation.

MacinJosh
09-25-2011, 10:37
Dale (NeoTexan) would be the one to ask on this subject. I'll shoot him a note.


Josh

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Gillman
09-25-2011, 10:47
There was a discussion earlier this year on the board on these questions, and a member mentioned this extract from Waymack & Harris's book:

http://books.google.com/books?id=93geJgMWt0IC&pg=PA137&dq=maker%27s+mark+charcoal&hl=en&ei=JCZETezzDYT7lwfBvODrDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAA#

This mentions a fairly low entry proof of 109-110 and the distilling-out proof is a not-high-at-all 130. It seems hard to think entry proof was lower in previous years (the book mentioned goes back about 10 years), and ditto for distilling out proof, but who knows?

The other thing I've wondered is, assuming no key production drivers have changed viz. the distillate, whether the whiskey glut of 30-40 years ago would have resulted in the average age of the product being older than, say in the 60's and 50's, or now.

Gary

tmckenzie
09-26-2011, 03:33
I am sure there was older stuff going into standard bottlings then, but I think it dpes not play that big of a role in the flavor of whiskey changing that much. You have to take into account a lot of factors besides distillation and barrel proofs. The grain has changed over the years, the ages of the trees used to make barrels, and I have read somewhere they used to use thicker staves. I wonder what things could have changed at the cooperages that we do not know about. One thing that I think has played a big part in the change of B-F products is I read they toast the barrels and then char them. This I beleive would have a major impact.

tmckenzie
09-26-2011, 03:36
It also states in that book you linked to I think, that at makers they saw a pail of black and white powder that they had not seen at other distilleries. They asked what it was and were told it was mostly charcoal that got thrown into the white dog before it was barreled. I wonder if they stopped that practice?

Brisko
09-26-2011, 07:51
I've also wondered if corn hybrids have changed subtly over the years. A change in the starch to oil ratio (in either direction) would likely have an effect on flavor.

But still proof and entry proof are certainly big factors.

sailor22
09-26-2011, 08:23
So if I read correctly, looking and changes and non changes looks something like this;

The corn has changed
The barrel has changed
The wood itself has changed
The still is probably different
Entry proof may be different
Balance of older and younger juice has likely changed

Yeast is the same probably
Warehouses are the same
Ricks are the same
Weather on average is very close to the same

what have I forgotten?

It's amazing the product bears any resemblance to it's earliest iteration. It's a testament to the manufacturers that it does.

Enoch
09-26-2011, 08:59
I have really been surprised by this. I almost didn't pick up the two bottles I did because I haven't heard much about differences in Maker's Mark. Mainly got them because of the cap tape and no UPC as a novelty. I guess I better go back and get the rest of them.

sailor22
09-26-2011, 14:26
Taste the ones you got and if you like them then go get the rest.

Enoch
09-26-2011, 18:39
So I decided to try the old Maker's Mark. I am not good at the finer nuances of Bourbon tasting but I can say that there is a definite difference between the 1980 Maker's and that of today. To begin with, modern Maker's has a strong wheat taste that I would compare to Bernheim's. I don't really detect this in the older Maker's. It seems much sweeter and richer and I would compare to to modern VW lot B or the 10 year olds. I will try again tomorrow and write more. I will be going back to get the rest of it especially at $17 a bottle and will be bringing a bottle to the sampler if anyone is interested.

PS: Is the Admiral Nelson the best place to stay?

Gillman
09-26-2011, 20:01
The Best Western General Nelson. :) I assure you the bottle will be of interest to Gazebo-ites.

Thanks for these notes, keep them coming.

Gary

RachelFord
09-27-2011, 09:19
Interesting, I did greatly enjoy those two in the 70's and have always wondered if it is just nostalgia or something changing. With Maker's, one would think the information should be available simply by asking Bill Samuels. Personally I would doubt they changed the mash bill in this way, but who knows?

I did have a small taste once (i.e., in the last few years) of Maker's Mark from the 70's courtesy a member of this board and it was excellent, rich and darker seemingly than today's. But I'd like to repeat the experience to confirm...

Gary

Hi Gary and all. My name is Rachel and I work at Maker's Mark across the hall from Bill (though he is technically retired, he doesn't seem to know how to stop working) and I told him I would log on and respond for him.

He said that the mash bill is the same (wheat, corn, malt proportions) as when his parents created MM back in the 50's, and that it does continue to come off the beer still at 120˚ and off the doubler at 130˚. No changes there. We compare each batch to the original standard (we have maintained samples) prior to bottling. Neither human beings with many years of experience or the new fangled equipment we have (gas chromatograph) can detect any difference.

We would be very happy to have you visit us at Maker's on your next trip to the area and taste for yourself. As a fan of bourbon we think you might enjoy a first hand look behind the scene at how it all works. Email me at rachel@makersmark.com or bill at bill@makersmark.com to set something up.

Gillman
09-27-2011, 12:43
Thanks very much, Rachel, for this information. I will take you up on that kind offer one day, it is certainly appreciated. I buy both MM and now the 46 version regularly. It is good to know the company puts care into ensuring the original character of the bourbon.

Gary

Enoch
09-27-2011, 13:53
Rachel, I'm not making any statements about Maker's Mark except that the 30 year old bottles I have are darker and do taste different. I keep MM and M46 on my bar and in fact use one of your display barrels as my bourbon pouring table. I am becoming more and more convinced about OBE. While it is something that probably cannot be tested because there is no way to remember what a bottle tasted like when it was new and compare it 30 years later. What is your and MMs opinion on this.

Young Blacksmith
09-27-2011, 18:04
What does OBE stand for?

Enoch
09-27-2011, 18:37
What does OBE stand for?

Old bottle effect. Discussed alot with Scotch.

NeoTexan
09-27-2011, 20:50
Rachel, as someone who has drank MM for many years, I can tell you that the taste has changed over the years. If you can find a bottle of the old tax stamp Makers you wlll find a distinctive difference. Many say that those bottling were far superior to todays production. Perhaps it is just over the years the judging committee has slowly shifted it to what we have today.

Dale

cowdery
09-28-2011, 16:10
In spite of what companies say, it would be almost impossible for there not to be something that has changed in 30 years. What the distiller and other technical people do all day is tweak and tinker to counteract the effects of any changes that may have occurred to make sure the product continues to taste the same.

Taste memory is useless because we change. "I remember it tasted _____ 30-years-ago," Well, no, you don't. You don't remember that any better than you remember what really happened on prom night. Worse. Memories of tastes and smells are notoriously faulty.

Distillers keep samples of everything. They can, and do, have their tasting panels compare current production to, yes, even 30-year-old samples. Not old bottles somebody found in a basement, but distillery samples. They may not be identical. No two batches in the same year are truly identical. But you don't get the extreme differences people claim.

Whiskey is a natural product so it's bound to change. Would we want it otherwise?

I don't usually waste my breath, or my presently-limited dexterity, on this because it's the kind of thing people just believe in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

JimJamKC
10-03-2011, 19:26
MM is my favorite bourbon, and I would love to obtain a bottle of this. By chance is there any more that you can get, and if so, how much is it? Please PM me with information....

THank you,

James

cowdery
10-04-2011, 10:36
As if on cue ...

Enoch
10-04-2011, 15:39
MM is my favorite bourbon, and I would love to obtain a bottle of this. By chance is there any more that you can get, and if so, how much is it? Please PM me with information....

THank you,

James

I only bought two of the bottles. He had more but not sure how many. Plan on going back in a couple of weeks because I have to go to DFW next week. I'll check then.

Enoch
10-04-2011, 15:41
In spite of what companies say, it would be almost impossible for there not to be something that has changed in 30 years. What the distiller and other technical people do all day is tweak and tinker to counteract the effects of any changes that may have occurred to make sure the product continues to taste the same.

Taste memory is useless because we change. "I remember it tasted _____ 30-years-ago," Well, no, you don't. You don't remember that any better than you remember what really happened on prom night. Worse. Memories of tastes and smells are notoriously faulty.

Distillers keep samples of everything. They can, and do, have their tasting panels compare current production to, yes, even 30-year-old samples. Not old bottles somebody found in a basement, but distillery samples. They may not be identical. No two batches in the same year are truly identical. But you don't get the extreme differences people claim.

Whiskey is a natural product so it's bound to change. Would we want it otherwise?

I don't usually waste my breath, or my presently-limited dexterity, on this because it's the kind of thing people just believe in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

This makes sense. My brother-in-law is a taster for a winery in CA. He explains that while they try to be consistent there are always variables that can affect taste. I would guess the same here.

BBQ+Bourbon
10-06-2011, 09:26
Interesting, I did greatly enjoy those two in the 70's and have always wondered if it is just nostalgia or something changing. With Maker's, one would think the information should be available simply by asking Bill Samuels. Personally I would doubt they changed the mash bill in this way, but who knows?

I did have a small taste once (i.e., in the last few years) of Maker's Mark from the 70's courtesy a member of this board and it was excellent, rich and darker seemingly than today's. But I'd like to repeat the experience to confirm...

Gary

Last weekend my dad and I opened a quart bottle of Jack Daniels from the early 70s. I can't compare it to current JD because I haven't had any in years, but it was nothing special. The flavor was boring with no heat and no finish. It was a real let down and I didn't feel bad watching my dad drown it in Diet Coke.

At the same time, we opened a bottle of Crown Royal with a Canadian 1974 tax strip. The Crown had a bit of caramel sweetness and a pleasant flavor, again with no heat and no finish. Of the two, the Crown was by far my favorite.

I'd still like to try older Makers but I wouldn't work too hard for it.

Gillman
10-06-2011, 12:19
Interesting. The fact of no heat might be viewed as a plus by some, but it sounds like the flavour didn't strike you as special. I'd still like to try it, especially side by side with the current one.

Gary

BBQ+Bourbon
10-07-2011, 09:29
Interesting. The fact of no heat might be viewed as a plus by some, but it sounds like the flavour didn't strike you as special. I'd still like to try it, especially side by side with the current one.

Gary

You're in luck, Gary. I'm headed to my hometown to see my brand new nephew and there is an empty sample bottle with your name on it. PM your address and I'll get this out your way.

Gillman
10-07-2011, 12:57
That's very kind of you! But residing in Canada you can't ship anything here, our Customs just sends it back.

My suggestion is to reserve some of it for the Gazebo crowd in Bardstown if you can make it for April 28 Sampler, I'll be there for sure . Thanks again for the offer, much appreciated.

Gary

Buffalo Bill
10-11-2011, 23:23
If I had some old Maker's from the 80's or early-mid 90's I wouldn't be sitting on it, I'd be drinking it! The difference between then and now is like great to mediocre. The Maker's of today has no body and legs in comparison. Old Maker's drinks like honey.