Way back in February of 2013, all hell broke loose in the Bourbon world when Maker’s Mark announced that they would be dropping the ABV on their standard-issue Bourbon from 45% ABV to 42% ABV. The backlash was so powerful that they quickly changed their minds and went back to the original bottling strength (if you want to more about this short-lived debacle, click here to read all about it in a Washington Post article).
Things sure have changed. 8 years ago we were talking about lower ABV, meanwhile, on today’s episode of A Tasting at The Murder Table, we’re reviewing a Maker’s Mark limited release that clocks in at a hefty 55.3% ABV (for those keeping score, that’s a whiskey with two 5s in it!). They call this one FAE 01.
Here’s what they have to say about it:
The first 2021 Limited Release, FAE-01, uses an American oak stave that is seared on one side and left raw on the other to amplify some of the signature dried fruit and oak flavors that Maker’s Mark is known for. The classic Maker’s Mark® Bourbon derives these tasting notes from naturally retained elements of barrel char and organic compounds called fatty acid esters (FAEs), which are responsible for both fruity tones and texture variations. Each side of the FAE-01 stave draws out different characteristics of these two flavor components – the charred side offers dark leathery tobacco notes, and the raw side yields fresh fruit, the two of which come together to create intense barrel-aged fruitiness. While 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01 focuses on drawing out specific flavors, 2021 Limited Release: FAE-02, arriving later this year, will be defined by its rich, weighty texture.
“This first release tastes just like a Kentucky barrel warehouse smells,” says Bowie. “If you’ve ever walked through a rick house and taken a deep breath, you can almost taste the bourbon in the air, and that’s the experience we’ve created with FAE-01. There’s tons of pleasantly dank wood and tobacco on the nose, and rich, warm raisin and fig on the tongue – it’s literally like sipping on angel’s share.”
This isn’t our first go-around with the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series. We reviewed the 2020 Wood Finishing Series SE4 x PR5 release back in October 2020 and really really liked it, so we were more than a little bit excited to try this FAE-01 release. Click the play button on the following video to find out if this lived up to our expectations:
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