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  1. #11
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    The Maker's Mark style has always been tongue-in-cheek overstatement. When they misstep, it's by taking themselves too seriously.

    However, Maker's Mark genuinely did change the bourbon industry's perception of itself and its product. Before Maker's Mark proved it could be done, you couldn't convince any bourbon marketer that there was a market for premium quality American whiskey.

    It's true. I know. I was there.

  2. #12
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    I have heard that same talk from Bill Samuel's son and had the same thoughts about many of the other excellent bourbons made before the 1950s. By following the logic of the presentation then since Jim Beam is made the same as it has been since 1795 and any bourbon before Maker's tasted bad, then Jim Beam tastes bad by Maker's Mark's logic. I wonder how that goes over in the Chicago Headquarters of Jim Beam.

    When Maker's Mark was family owned, they deserved every bit of their reputation. Maker's from the 1960s and 70s was every bit as good as anything that came out of Stitzel-Weller. I wish I had a case of the Gold Wax 101 from the late 1970s.

    Mike Veach

  3. #13
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbonv View Post
    I wish I had a case of the Gold Wax 101 from the late 1970s.
    Amen to that!!

    Scott
    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day" - Frank Sinatra

  4. #14
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by bourbonv View Post
    When Maker's Mark was family owned, they deserved every bit of their reputation. Maker's from the 1960s and 70s was every bit as good as anything that came out of Stitzel-Weller. I wish I had a case of the Gold Wax 101 from the late 1970s.

    Mike Veach
    Then why, in heaven's name, can they not do it again? If Julian and others can still produce a high quality product, why can a tradition-rich house such as MM not do the same? Do they plan to just ride off into the sunset and live forever on just the name & label as in the likes of JD (that coming from a Tennessean.....apologies to anyone who may be offended) and a few others out there? The VW line is living proof that a high quality product can be continued - and some would argue improved, as it has transitioned from ORVW to PVW and S-W to B-T through the years.

  5. #15
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    I think it's fair to say that Bill Samuels, whether he felt that way personally or not, perceived a truth: the rye content in bourbon is an acquired taste and puts off even many experienced imbibers. I know this because when I started drinking bourbon, I found the ones heavy on the rye undrinkable and ditto for rye whiskey. It took years to acquire the taste - even for someone interested in alcoholic drinks, their make-up and their history. I liked Makers and Old Fitz much more than any rye-recipe bourbon, but finally I changed because I could see that rye-recipe was more complex. I just "got" the taste at a certain point. This is something Maker's perceived and exploited and you can't blame them. It is not to say the traditional bourbon mash (or what became so by the post-Pro era) could not be marketed in as creative a way, but no one really tried, from what I can see. It was only by reading Michael Jackson in his World Guide to Whisky (1987) that I really understood what rye contributes to a mashbill of whiskey.

    Gary

  6. #16
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by Old Lamplighter View Post
    Then why, in heaven's name, can they not do it again? If Julian and others can still produce a high quality product, why can a tradition-rich house such as MM not do the same? Do they plan to just ride off into the sunset and live forever on just the name & label as in the likes of JD (that coming from a Tennessean.....apologies to anyone who may be offended) and a few others out there? The VW line is living proof that a high quality product can be continued - and some would argue improved, as it has transitioned from ORVW to PVW and S-W to B-T through the years.
    I'm sure they can do it again, but, and I'm making a few guesses here, why would they need to do it again or change what they are already doing when MM seems to be selling everything they can bottle. Granted, the new expression coming out may argue against that statement, but until I see it at retail at the same price point as regular MM, I'll stick by this thought, as I'm guessing the new expression is going to carry some sort of a premium with it. I'm also guessing that higher quality is going to be acheived with longer aging and higher proof which is going to lower the profit margin, reducing the incentive for MM to radically change what they are currently doing.

    Mike
    Never ask a man if he is from Virginia. If he is, he'll tell you. If he isn't, you don't want to embarass him.

  7. #17
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gillman View Post
    I think it's fair to say that Bill Samuels, whether he felt that way personally or not, perceived a truth: the rye content in bourbon is an acquired taste and puts off even many experienced imbibers. I know this because when I started drinking bourbon, I found the ones heavy on the rye undrinkable and ditto for rye whiskey. It took years to acquire the taste - even for someone interested in alcoholic drinks, their make-up and their history. I liked Makers and Old Fitz much more than any rye-recipe bourbon, but finally I changed because I could see that rye-recipe was more complex. I just "got" the taste at a certain point. This is something Maker's perceived and exploited and you can't blame them. It is not to say the traditional bourbon mash (or what became so by the post-Pro era) could not be marketed in as creative a way, but no one really tried, from what I can see. It was only by reading Michael Jackson in his World Guide to Whisky (1987) that I really understood what rye contributes to a mashbill of whiskey.

    Gary

    It's funny that you say that, as it reflects Maker's advertising style- wheat must taste better because wheat bread tastes better than rye bread? It's a bunch of crap. I was one of those people (whether or not it is a small number or not I'm not sure) that actually prefered rye based bourbon over wheat based bourbon. At the beginning of my bourbon-drinking career I actually couldn't find a single wheater I thought was worth a damn. one of the few that I actually do like now is Pappy Van Winkle 15 year.

    Maker's mark advertising tells people that they WILL like wheated bourbon better than rye-recipe bourbon. Is it anywhere within the realm of possibility, that this effects their actual taste of the stuff? I personally think it is.
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  8. #18
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    My view is based on my own experience, not Maker's Mark advertising, clearly yours is different, so that's valid for you. I didn't mention bread in my notes, I have no opinion on that. Anyone is entitled to market based on how they see things or what they perceive the market to like or not like. There is a rough analogy in my view with peated malt whisky...

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 02-25-2010 at 01:53.

  9. #19
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Gary, I probably came across as harsh last night when I typed that (as I enjoyed a pour of Weller 12, by the way.... ). I wasn't trying to say that you were full of crap, but that the advertising itself is full of crap. I actually had someone try to convince me that I should/would like maker's mark the best of all bourbons because of the "bread recipe" analogy that Maker's Mark uses. This particular person was like an avid Jack Daniel's fan- not clear that they had tried any other bourbon and they were completely convinced that Maker's was the pinnacle of the bourbon world.
    Quote Originally Posted by SMOWK View Post
    I like to save up the charred bits in the bottom of the unfiltered stuff. When I have enough, I pour milk on it and eat it.

  10. #20
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    Re: Before Makers' Mark, it was not OK for bourbon to taste good!

    Quote Originally Posted by ErichPryde View Post
    Gary, I probably came across as harsh last night when I typed that (as I enjoyed a pour of Weller 12, by the way.... ). I wasn't trying to say that you were full of crap, but that the advertising itself is full of crap. I actually had someone try to convince me that I should/would like maker's mark the best of all bourbons because of the "bread recipe" analogy that Maker's Mark uses. This particular person was like an avid Jack Daniel's fan- not clear that they had tried any other bourbon and they were completely convinced that Maker's was the pinnacle of the bourbon world.
    My uncle is one of these people. The sun rises and sets on MM. I tried to expose him to OWA last fall, figuring he'd enjoy a different wheater, but it was "too strong".

    I suggested that he could add a little water to bring the proof down and he told me that he hated adding water to bourbon. He couldn't quite understand the point that MM doesn't come straight out of the barrel and into a bottle at 90 proof, so what difference does it make when the water gets added...

    Oh well, I probably won't bother him with anything like a PVW, WLW, OGD114, etc. If he is truly content with only MM and has no desire to look beyond it, more power to him. I tried.

 

 

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