They did produce a 101 proof as their top of the line for quite some time then quietly eased it out of the way for the lower proof expression.
Didn't lower the price though.
I hope this is out before Sampler. If so, I am going to conduct a blind tasting among iterations for everyone to participate in. I think it would be interesting to see the results. Maybe, throw in an unknown, too.
I was introduced to the 101 by Bill Samuels Jr. at a tasting he hosted for a group of us in the late 70s. I noticed it was gradually being replaced about a decade later in the mid to late 80s. Didn't really pay it much attention, just an observation. Makers was one of those I kept around but didn't really use, my preference being for rye recipe Bourbons.
More like Watermark.
For the most part I think consumers equate a lack of alcohol burn with smoothness and view that as a sign of quality. That was also a hallmark of Old Fitzgerald which Makers set out to copy (literally) from the beginning. When Makers was sold to a National company (1984 I think) the brand got the advertizing it needed to take off. Makers was and still is good whisky and for the market it seeks I'm surprised they haven't gone to 80 proof before now.
1) It's only a decrease of 3% ABV
2) As others have said, they very well could have lowered it to 80°, but they didn't.
3) Their core market isn't going to care or even notice
4) They claim that they are not lowering the age of what is going in. If that's true and stays true, then that's good.
5) I forgot what 5 was going to be.