G-LO promised it was coming and today it finally arrived. Its been a few months since G-LO nominated me for acceptance into the ranks of the few, the proud, the Maker’s Mark Ambassadors. For the past six-eight years, bourbons have been my go-to elixir. I first started drinking whiskey in 1996 while in France on my honeymoon. Mrs. ROK and I enjoy cycling so we took a Backroad’s trip to the Loire Valley. There we met another couple on the same trip. We struck up a friendship and I noticed each night the husband would end the day with a Jack Daniel’s. One night, I joined him for a drink and Jack Daniel’s on ice became my goto drink.
When I first started drinking Jack, it was bottled at 90 proof. A few years later, Brown-Forman, the company that owns the Jack Daniel’s brand, lowered the alcohol content to 86 proof. I adjusted to this change without much trouble, but in 2004, Brown-Foreman again lowered the alcohol content in Jack Daniels. This time to 80 proof. According to Roger Brashears who has worked at Jack Daniel’s since the 1960’s, “We were just doing what we think most of our friends and customers wanted.” That may be true, but to me, the lower proof also sacrficed the chewy caramel flavor that I had come to enjoy. I was going to have to find a new drink.
I really didn’t know very much about whiskey at the time so I hit the Internet to see what others in my situation were doing. I found many were finding relief in Maker’s Mark so I headed to my favorite local liquor store and picked up a bottle. From the first pour, I knew I had found a very suitable replacement. Over the years, my tastes have broadened, but I still keep some Maker’s Mark on hand for those occasions when nothing else will do.
If you ever find yourself in Kentucky, you should check to see how far you are from Loretto. If you find yourself in that neck of the woods, you definitely want to head out to the distillery and take part in their very excellent tour. The guides are extremely knowledgeable and walk you through each part of the distilling and aging process. At the end, there is an opportunity to taste the rewards of the hard work the highly skilled folks at Maker’s Mark produce for all of our enjoyment. Also, while you’re there, don’t miss the opportunity to hand-dip your very own bottle.
I’m looking forward to exercising all of the rights and privileges of being a Maker’s Mark Ambassardor.