View Full Version : 9yr Old Maker's Mark Tasting

01-27-2004, 10:55
Last night I attended the American Diabetes Assoc. benefit sponsored by Jonathan's at Gratz Park in Lexington and Maker's Mark. Dave Pickerell, "Master Distiller", presented four samples of Maker's, white dog, 2yr old, fully matured and 9YO (overaged). He took the group through a guided tasting commenting on the flavor profiles, color development, bouquet, texture etc. I loved the 9YO. It was a bigger whiskey in every aspect, darker color, more sweetness, increased wood and tannin and some dark fruit, not usually associated with everyday Maker's. When asked why they don't bottle and sell it, Dave responded that it doesn't match the taste profile of their consumer base. I guess "we" don't fit into their consumer base and they're not interested in pursuing us. I offered to take the nasty overage whiskey off their hands, but they claim to use in mingling with other whiskeys to balance the flavors to match the Makers profile currently in use.
BTW, the food was great. Barrel smoked salmon, KY Bison filet, Expresso dusted seared scallops and a chocolate soufle with bourbon that was outrageous. I also picked up some items at the silent auction including a Tubby Smith bottle dipped in Blue and White wax. Overall, a fantastic evening.

01-27-2004, 11:42
I find it interesting that they picked the "9 years old" age bourbon. Of all the years I have worked at Heaven Hill I have not seen a bourbon labeled 9 years old. I have asked that question a time or two. The response was, I don't think so and no one could recall seeing that age statement.

Has anyone seen another bourbon "labeled" 9 years old?

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01-27-2004, 11:47
Only one I can think of off hand Bettye Jo is Knob Creek... Aged 9 years right on the label.

01-27-2004, 11:48
11 is another age you won't find. Not saying it isn't but I have not seen it yet. Some have said that there's a market for 10 and 12 so 11 gets skipped.

Knob Creek is a 9 year old Bourbon

01-27-2004, 12:03
Yeah, now that I think about it, there's no 11, and 13. I can understand the 13 but there is probably a reason, for the other two.

I can understand the lack of numbers over the age of 15, but that nine was a definite skip.

Hey, a good gimmick would be a bottle of "Better Times #13" a gift for someone having bad luck and needed a little boost in "Spirit" http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif

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01-27-2004, 12:41
Sounds like a nice time and worthwhile event. This is good news / bad news to me. Maker's would benifit from a little more time asleep in the wood/ we're not going to sell you any. Can't win them all!

01-27-2004, 14:22
No 13 year olds...you mean at Heaven Hill or anywhere? OFBB is 13, as is Old Charter Proprietor's Reserve:



01-27-2004, 15:37
Hi Bettye Jo,

The hardest age to find is 11 yrs old. There were some bottled around Prohibition and I think Julian's dad bottled an 11 once, but it's the rarest age out there.


01-27-2004, 16:14
Good to hear from you, Omar.

I think this 9 year old MM sounds great. I heard through the grapevine that MM may release some well-aged bourbon soon - perhaps this was a trial balloon?


01-27-2004, 17:36
Although the EWSB's from 1986 through 1991 are not labeled as 9 year olds, many, if not most, of the barrels have, in fact, been bottled at nine years of age.

Beginning with the 1992 vintage, both the barreling AND the bottling dates were noted on the labels, so the age can be calculated with certainty. My 1992 is a 10 year old (Barrel 342, 7-17-92, 9-25-02), but my 1993 is a 9 year old (Barrel 53, 11-17-93,1-8-03).

My EWSB Millennium jugs are also 9 year olds (Barrel 51, 8-22-90, 10-22-99; Barrel 85, 9-19-90, 11-15-99).

Check your jugs of Millennium and bottles 1992, 1993, and 1994 EWSB. I'll bet most of you find some 9 year old EWSB in your bunker, too!

01-27-2004, 19:42
Bettye Jo, isn't Knob Creek labeled as 9 years old? I don't have a bottle on hand, but I think that is correct.


01-27-2004, 19:53
Yes, it is... (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=26128&page=0&view=col lapsed&sb=5&o=14&vc=1)

01-28-2004, 00:28
I know about the dates and adding it up. I was referring to the "acutal statement". 9 years old on the label or 13 years old on the label.

None of those have a "actual" age statement printed on label, because of that very point you have made.

I know all the labels "We have" and the age statements on them, with exception of the "earlier days". I don't have a answer for that time.

There is a "pallet" of old labels sitting in a small warehouse upstaris. I would love to go through them, but that is not allowed.

I don't know about "other" brands of bourbon. Mark and Tim said, that Knob Creek has it written on the front label http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Any other brands with 9 or 13 years old printed on the label?

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01-28-2004, 04:59
Any other brands with 9 or 13 years old printed on the label?

Here (http://www.straightbourbon.com/ubbthreads/showthreaded.php?Cat=&Number=19269&page=4&view=col lapsed&sb=5&o=&vc=1) is a pic showing a 13 year age statement.

Another very common label with a "13" is Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye...it has a 13 printed on it as well.


01-28-2004, 12:55

I think this 9 year old MM sounds great. I heard through the grapevine that MM may release some well-aged bourbon soon - perhaps this was a trial balloon?

I certainly hope you're right!
I'm am a wheat fan. But IMHO, wheat really needs time & wood to make it interesting. Otherwise, it's just a decent mixer.
While I admire MM's marketing campaign and consistant product, that's what it is...a mixer.
I'd love to see new expressions from MM. Maybe they've decided to run with the big boys... http://www.bourbonrecipes.com/emoticons/applause.gif

01-28-2004, 13:01
Not to burst any bubbles, but I believe the reason for having 9YO on the table was to show how "bad" bourbon becomes if its over-aged. Most in the group gave expressions of displeasure and agreed with Dave that it was "too" everything. I don't think we'll see this released anytime soon. The glasses were all neatly poured when we entered the dining room, so I'm sure there are no "bottles" of 9YO bourbon around. This was a special thiefing.

01-28-2004, 13:20
Well, it is well known that traditionally Makers Mark felt it hit on an optimal recipe and age for bourbon whiskey, so it would not surprise me if, as was stated in the first post on this subject, the 9 year old MM was set out as a foil to the regular issue. However I was speaking to a food and wine writer at a tasting recently and he said he understood MM was going to release a premium version of the bourbon. He did not say it would be 9 years old, and I am only speculating that setting out some bourbon aged twice as long as usual for MM might be some kind of trial balloon. If however the oldie was put out as you say strictly to show why such older whiskey is not ideal it would seem unlikely any new whiskey released by MM will be a 9 year old. On the other hand, maybe MM is planning to release something else that is new: maybe something 6-7 years old, maybe a mingling of older and younger, I don't know.

Based on my historical reading about bourbon and of course what people say they like on these boards, bourbons upwards of 10 years old have always been considered prime, not overaged. There is discussion in the literature that whiskey from 10-15 years old might be too tannic and should be reserved for blending, but it seems hard to think that whiskey 8-10 years old could be viewed as too old. Then too, every producer focuses on his preferred area and hence we get overall a large range.

I am a fan of older bourbons if they are handled well. I have had some older whiskey that tastes "dull" due to excess woodiness. But many great whiskeys are distinguished by long age, and the Van Winkle range shows this to perfection. Oddly perhaps, Julian's best whiskeys never taste too woody, the wood/charcoal/smoke is an accent amongst others and the effect generally is of great complexity. (The proof can make a difference too). Certainly if MM did release an older whiskey it would offer consumers additional choice, that would be a good thing. Probably to date they haven't done it because they reckoned the anticipated margins don't justify it. If we take at face value what Bill Samuels has always said, it seems he is convinced whiskey older than what he sells is too old for most of the market anyway. Only time will tell whether MM may depart from this philosophy at some point..


01-28-2004, 13:44

This was a special thiefing.

Shoot... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/banghead.gif I would have loved to had the chance to sample that horrible stuff... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif The older I get, the more I need

"too" everything

to really care (ouch)... http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif
Really...the group hated it?
I can't think of many wheat mashbills on the market that really develop before say...10 yrs. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/skep.gif. So, what was on the table for 'the good stuff'?

P.S. I really am sorry I missed this. I've been headed to Lexington for a couple of weeks now, and haven't made it.

01-28-2004, 16:24
Hi Gary,

Perhaps this rumored 'premium' Maker's release, if it comes to pass, may be a stronger proof version...i.e. the 95 pr black label export. Or maybe a domestic re-introduction of the limited edition 100 pr gold label, which I think is no longer shipped to Japan.

Extra aged? Higher proof? Since we're guessing, how about a Single Barrel or a Barrel Proof Makers?

It's about time MM stops playing with wax colors and start expanding its product profile. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/soapbox.gif


01-28-2004, 16:51
It's about time MM stops playing with wax colors and start expanding its product profile.

I agree as well Omar. I'd love to see their 95 or better yet old limited edition 100 proof product make its way to the US. After trying the 95 proof black wax Maker's during the 2003 festival, I was impressed at the noticable difference. Besides just having a higher proof, the bourbon that goes into those export bottles has to be from much better locations in their warehouses. It was a MM product that if available here, I can say would make it onto my daily pour list.

01-28-2004, 17:02
>...said he understood MM was going to release a premium version of the bourbon.

Well, I think that MM has decided that their regular issue stuff already
is a premium product! They certainly price it that way!

My vote on the rumor is that there is no way that MM will release a 9YO.
Perhaps just a higher proof version. The Bill Samuels' aesthetic vision
for bourbon is to reduce the impact of the barrel... there's no way
he'd ever consider "more barrel" as a premium product.

Tim Dellinger

01-28-2004, 17:15
Sorry, Mark. I saw your posting after I posted mine.


01-28-2004, 17:18
Well, it stands to reason. If you like Maker's Mark, you probably are not going to appreciate good bourbon. http://www.straightbourbon.com/forums/images/graemlins/lol.gif


01-28-2004, 18:26
Hirsch Selection Rye is another product labeled a 13 year old.

01-28-2004, 21:04
In Tennessee, at least, MM forced a $2 or so retail increase recently per 750ml for no other reason (according to our distribution salesman) than to place it in competitive pricing range of Jack Daniel's Black #7. Of course, JD is now bottling at 80 proof, without any reduction in price -- effectively a price increase -- so I guess MM will have to go up again.

01-29-2004, 10:05
About a year ago, a few disitilleries chose to make their 90 proof 86, without price change.

The 90 proof, is still available.

The change was made, a few noticed, but no one really raised a eyebrow to it. "Most" would not know that this happened. There are very few consumers, of this product, who can do a blind taste test (I talkin' ablsolute blind). Just put, a 86 and a 90 and ask this taster, to tell what is different? No other questions, just, "what is different". I really don't think that the "Average Joe" would know the difference.

So, thier decision was right. You can calculate, (for those of you who do numbers), what the profits were on that move. You do, what you have to do, to stay alive, without doing harm to the product. There are faithful, consumers of our EW on this board. It's their "everyday" pour. That change, has not affected thier preference, they make the same statements now, as they did a few years ago. I have not heard (or read) that the change that occured, made a difference.

Also note, that on "blend", the statement, that lets you know what's in that bottle has changed. Omission, of one word "bourbon". That gives way, to practically anything.*** A little clarification, I am not referring to blended whiskies. I am specifically referring to the 80-20, 70-30 stuff.

The statement used to say a % of bourbon whiskey, now it just says % whiskey.

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