Kentucky Bourbon at Its Finest
Maker’s Mark 46 “KL Exclusive Barrel #906″ Private Select Kentucky Bourbon (750ml) ($69.99)
“This may be the most exciting Maker’s barrel we’ve done to date.”
—David Othenin-Girard, KL SoCal Spirits Buyer
Traveling to Maker’s Mark to see their gorgeous distillery in Loretto is a rite of passage for any bourbon lover, so when we sent our SoCal Store Manager Resident Kentuckian to visit this historic distillery it was a very special occasion. Illya loves bourbon and he knows exactly what kind of bourbon he likes: big, rich, bold, and powerful. That’s why letting him loose in the Maker’s Mark creation lab was so exciting. We spent hours in there examining every combination and he ultimately developed what I believe to be our most successful Maker’s Private Barrel to date. Previously, we’ve avoided experimenting with more intense chars for fear that the bourbon, which spends 90-120 days soaking with staves, might end up unbalanced. Instead, we stuck to flavors that seemed to complement the already sweet, supple qualities of the Maker’s Cask Strength base.
How wrong we were! Illya, using his good sense and excellent palate, added a hefty dose of “Roasted French Mocha” staves to the two we typically use, American Pure and Seared French. The resulting bourbon is one of the most complex and opulent we’ve ever bottled. And Illya’s signature is on the back of every single bottle. We’ve had incredible success with the Maker’s Private Select program, but it’s clear we’re only scratching the surface of what this incredible, innovative barrel program is capable of.
The extremely popular Maker’s Private Select barrel program has become one of our favorite. Maker’s has always had some serious cache, but their consistency and commitment to their original product line might have hurt their clout with the cognoscenti. But over the last few years they’ve started to introduce new products many of which have become go-to products for our customers. This trend has culminated in the creation of the Private Select program, which offers accounts an opportunity to create their own finishes onto of the already delicious Maker’s Cask Strength flavor profile. They start with a small batch dump of cask strength (10 barrels). Used barrels are then popped open and filled with a special selection of 10 custom staves of various toast and char levels. In this case, LA manager Illya Haase determined the recipe. We’ve got 2 staves of Baked American Pure adding deep vanilla and sweet woodiness. 3 Seared French Cuvee staves offering bold cinnamon and a balancing tannin. And 5 Roasted French Mocha (a first for any KL Private Select) adding dense dark coffee, cocoa, and subtle licorice to the mix. All in all this is the most unique and intriguing Private Select we’ve done to date. Truly the total package, with an integration right out of the bottle that isn’t always evident in these barrels. I liked this one at cask strength with no water. Bravo Illya, bravo!
David Othenin-Girard | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 23, 2019
Another MONSTER from the Maker’s Mark Private Select line. This one was built and brought to you by our illustrious LA Manager Illya Haase. Illya happens to be from Northern Kentucky and he just happened to be on vacation with his family when I had planned to be at the Maker’s Mark distillery to select a barrel. So he did what any serious bourbon love would and raced to meet me in Louisville. Building your own bourbon at Maker’s Mark is not an opportunity anyone should pass up. And Illya has some very clear ideas about what he likes in bourbon. We spent a good 90 minutes tasting and blending the various staves in the lab at Maker’s. And while I’ve got my biases in the blending room, I have to say, Illya opened my eyes to some seriously exciting possibilities. Namely that the some of the staves we’ve avoided in the past because their character stood out in blending trials, could offer you an integrated bourbon once the actual process had been run. And while this cask falls well outside our normal recipe, it hits all the notes that Illya was looking for. Big bold spice, tempered by rich sweet vanilla. Dense textured sweet fruit balanced by an inviting sweet fruit. My fears of the Mocha staves turning bitter were completely unfounded. This may be the most exciting Maker’s barrel we’ve done to date and certainly offers an exceptional contrast to all the others we’ve done. Kind of proof of concept for our friends at Maker’s in my opinion. Top tier stuff.
Jeffrey Jones | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 08, 2019
Each Maker’s Mark Private Select Barrel is unique . This selection is rich and sweet with vanilla and spice undertones. It has mouth coating flavors but is not too heavy.It should be on the top of the list for anyone looking for a wheated Bourbon. Barrel 906 tasted much better after a touch of water, which opened it up and made it lively and delicious.
Will Blakely | KL Staff Member | Review Date: February 03, 2019
One of the most rich and dense barrels of Maker’s I’ve had the pleasure of tasting. First whiffs evoke mocha and spice with just a hint of vanilla and leather. The taste of rich, candied fruit is balanced nicely by rye spice and well curated heat. But that’s not all – there’s tons of vanilla, caramel and fudge throughout. The finish brings a buttery sweetness and warming cinnamon. I highly encourage you to pick one up before they’re gone.
Illya Haase | KL Staff Member | Review Date: January 29, 2019
Maker’s Mark 46 “KL Exclusive Barrel #906″ Private Select Kentucky Bourbon is finally here! Being a Kentuckian, I am proud to say, that it is one hell of a bottle!I was very lucky to taste this barrel and at the first whiff you are in for something special. Out of the gate, catch that big blast of mocha. Cinnamon, burnt brown sugar, sweet corn vanilla and dried fruit are a few others that rise out of the glass. First sip, note the candied Red Hots, then on to the baked pear and butterscotch. A little dash of water punches up the spice component. For a completely different glass of bourbon, the finish is pure heaven, captivating; with just the right amount of burn and bite that feels like a warm blanket that coats every inch of you.