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justataste
04-08-2013, 16:03
I've been studying the Whiskey Tree and puzzling over mashbills etc.

One thing I have not been able to discern is if Makers Mark is a wheater? Similar to Weller's?

I would appreciate any thoughts on characteristics of MM or tasting notes also. Thanks fo any help.

cowdery
04-08-2013, 16:10
I've been studying the Whiskey Tree and puzzling over mashbills etc.

One thing I have not been able to discern is if Makers Mark is a wheater? Similar to Weller's?

I would appreciate any thoughts on characteristics of MM or tasting notes also. Thanks fo any help.

Although Maker's Mark is not the only wheated bourbon, nor was it the first, it probably is the best known wheated bourbon and known primarily for that, i.e., that's always been they're most publicized point-of-difference. Maker's Mark emphasizes no bitterness, no harsh hot flavors, just sweetness and, if not light, then candy, spice, and fruit flavors.

Rye adds spice and earthiness to a bourbon, so the main thing about wheaters isn't the presence of wheat so much as it is the absence of rye.

Alden
04-08-2013, 16:28
To me they taste remarkably similar.

I doubt I could tell them apart in a blind taste test.

Bootlegger1929
04-08-2013, 16:30
And just to add to what chuck said above in reference to S-W I believe the MM recipe is derived from the original wHeated recipe used by S-W or maybe just one of their recipes. I don't know the specifics or how true that is so maybe someone more knowledgable can fill in the blacks.

WAINWRIGHT
04-08-2013, 16:51
MM is the softest and most inviting to someone less antiquated with wheated bourbons even more so than the WSR.I find MM to be quite sweet,soft and almost buttery in nature not much char or barrel influence you would get versus Lot B,W12 or any of the PVW's,mainly due to it being around 6yrs. of age.All in all not a bad bourbon but for my money,OWA or W12 is a more suitable choice.

TheNovaMan
04-08-2013, 16:52
Rye adds spice and earthiness to a bourbon, so the main thing about wheaters isn't the presence of wheat so much as it is the absence of rye. That's what I thought, and that's why I don't understand why they bother with the wheat at all. There's no law that says bourbon has to have three grains (AFAIK).

justataste
04-08-2013, 17:40
Thanks folks. I appreciate your gracious replies and the good info.

I think I am beginning to realize a trend for me in liking bourbons with higher rye percentage in the mashbill.

Although all this mashbill stuff is new to me. Still learning.

Flyfish
04-08-2013, 17:50
That's what I thought, and that's why I don't understand why they bother with the wheat at all. There's no law that says bourbon has to have three grains (AFAIK).
Using the customary bread analogy, plain white wheat bread has a delicate texture and flavor. Rye bread is more robust and has more in-your-face (so to speak) flavor. Just because wheat flavors are not as intense doesn't mean there are no flavors. Lots of us believe there is more than enough flavors in wheaters. Try a bottle of anything that says Weller on the label and see for yourself.
If you deleted both wheat and rye as flavoring options, you're left with corn whiskey. Some SBers are fond of MellowCorn--but, by definition, it isn't bourbon.

BigBoldBully
04-08-2013, 18:02
If you deleted both wheat and rye as flavoring options, you're left with corn whiskey. Some SBers are fond of MellowCorn--but, by definition, it isn't bourbon.

Wouldn't you still have barley, so a mix of corn and barley? I could be mistaken, but my undertanding of the standards of identity is that that could lead to bourbon. (And that unless the corn % is at least 80, it cannot be called corn whiskey.) Seems I also read something about a corn and barley product coming out from MGP, and I was assuming that would be called bourbon.

Alden
04-08-2013, 18:06
I like both wheaters and high rye.

Just depends on what I'm in the mood for.

Weller 12 is excellent, and MM is very good too. Between the two, like I said, I would have a hard time choosing, but Weller would probably win out.

justataste
04-08-2013, 18:22
Alden, is 4R SmB high rye enough?

TheNovaMan
04-08-2013, 21:48
If you deleted both wheat and rye as flavoring options, you're left with corn whiskey. Some SBers are fond of MellowCorn--but, by definition, it isn't bourbon. Very true, and I'm one of them... but it isn't a bourbon because it's aged in new toasted oak barrels and used charred oak barrels. If they aged it entirely in new, charred oak barrels, it could be legally considered a bourbon.

Alden
04-09-2013, 03:56
Alden, is 4R SmB high rye enough?

Yes, I think it is.

cowdery
04-09-2013, 08:33
There is no requirement that any small grains be used for bourbon. Legally, bourbon can be 100% corn, but it probably wouldn't taste like bourbon.

tanstaafl2
04-09-2013, 10:16
There also isn't a requirement that it be rye or wheat (or both in the same mashbill) for the flavoring grain. It need only be made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. The BT Experimental Collection not long ago had two bourbons with rice and oat as the flavoring grain. Of course there is generally a reason why other grains aren't used that much. Neither was particularly good but both were bourbon.

Has there ever been a bourbon that uses barley as the primary "flavoring grain" (above and beyond the malt used in most bourbons)? I know Stanahan's is/was an all malt barley whiskey but don't know if a bourbon using barley as the flavoring grain has ever existed. Or if it would even be practical/possible/drinkable.

But it seems like it would be a natural option given the use of barley in other types of whiskeys. Pot still Irish whiskey certainly has a fair amount of unmalted barley in it although I can't find the exact percentage at the moment! Maybe 60% or so?

Tucker
04-09-2013, 10:43
Has there ever been a bourbon that uses barley as the primary "flavoring grain" (above and beyond the malt used in most bourbons)?

Town Branch has a mash bill of 51% corn and 49% malted barley.

tanstaafl2
04-09-2013, 11:06
Town Branch has a mash bill of 51% corn and 49% malted barley.

Interesting. I have seen differing reports on the mashbill for that one such as this interview (http://whiskeyreviewer.com/2013/01/interview-with-town-branch-distillery-of-lexington-kentucky/) and review (http://whiskeyreviewer.com/2013/01/town-branch-bourbon-review/) from the same website. Perhaps it has changed over time? Or this blog could certainly be wrong.

That and some less than favorable reviews in a thread (http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/showthread.php?16571-Town-Branch-Bourbon) you started a couple years ago make me a bit leery!

rndenks
04-09-2013, 12:14
MM is the softest and most inviting to someone less antiquated with wheated bourbons even more so than the WSR.I find MM to be quite sweet,soft and almost buttery in nature not much char or barrel influence you would get versus Lot B,W12 or any of the PVW's,mainly due to it being around 6yrs. of age.All in all not a bad bourbon but for my money,OWA or W12 is a more suitable choice.

You nailed the description of a wheater that I was trying to capture all weekend..."soft". It has the mouth fell of drinking "soft water".

I was enjoy my first full pour of W12, and while tasty, there was a distinctness that separated it from other bourbons. It was that "softness", and now I remember having that same "feel" from my MM tasting. The flavors, to me, run similar to other bourbons, but it is that softness that is the impactful difference.

justataste
04-09-2013, 14:02
Thanks to all of you for these great comments. I'm going to put W12 on my list.

fishnbowljoe
04-09-2013, 15:15
Even though I don't drink MM regularly anymore, I'll always have a bottle on the shelf. I have a bit of a soft spot for it because it was my "gateway" bourbon.

I can't remember if it was me, or another member that I was talking with one time that said, "It is, what it is." In an odd sort of way, that pretty much sums up MM. It's far from being a bad bourbon. It's also not a great bourbon. If anything, MM is consistent. I've never had a bottle that really stood out, or conversely, was "off" in any sort of way. You pretty much can expect one bottle of MM to taste like the next one no matter what.

I like what Ryan said.


MM is the softest and most inviting to someone less antiquated with wheated bourbons even more so than the WSR.I find MM to be quite sweet,soft and almost buttery in nature not much char or barrel influence you would get versus Lot B,W12 or any of the PVW's,mainly due to it being around 6yrs. of age.All in all not a bad bourbon but for my money,OWA or W12 is a more suitable choice.

It's an easy drinker, that's for sure. If you want a no brainer wheated bourbon, MM ain't really that bad of a call. If only it were $4 or $5 cheaper a bottle. :grin:

Cheers! Joe

squire
04-09-2013, 17:23
It also makes a useful gift for non Bourbon drinkers.

Alden
04-10-2013, 04:13
It also makes a useful gift for non Bourbon drinkers.

People like the melted red wax on the top. Looks like a hand-made Christmas gift.