Iconic whiskey brand Maker’s Mark is about to release its oldest expression ever, the Cellar Aged Bourbon.
In a statement from Maker’s Mark, officials noted that the Cellar Aged Bourbon will be a limited, annual expression that features a blend of 11 and 12-year-old bourbon.
The new release was born out of a question from the distillers, “what if age isn’t just about time, but instead about how you use that time to evolve, develop and mature?”
The prepared statement from Maker’s Mark explained that since the brand’s founding in 1953, they’ve aged their whisky to taste, not to time, to get that smooth, soft and creamy bourbon taste and texture.
And for this release, Maker’s Mark Cellar Aged achieves a richer, deeper and more complex older bourbon that’s free from the harsher tannic effects one might find in longer aged American whiskies.
Their maturation process starts in traditional Kentucky warehouses, then finishes in the distillery’s unique limestone whisky cellar.
“For more than 65 years, aging our whisky for a decade-plus wasn’t something we did,” said Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark’s eighth generation whisky maker. “It’s not that we didn’t believe in it; we simply hadn’t found a way to do it that didn’t compromise on our taste vision – until now.”
He said that Cellar Aged embodies an older whisky that’s distinctly Maker’s Mark, one that delivers new flavor experiences from the environment that surrounds them, and builds on a taste vision that’s been generations in the making.
He explained the process, as barrels of the distillery’s classic distillate first spend about six years aging in traditional bourbon warehouses, where they go through the Kentucky climate and its seasonal temperature swings.
Once mature, the barrels head to the whisky cellar for an additional five to six years of aging before being blended to taste and bottled.
The cellar itself is built into the natural limestone shelf of the Kentucky hills, and its consistently cool environment slows down the tannic effect that happens during maturation.
Way back when, Maker’s Mark Founders Bill and Margie Samuels challenged whiskey industry norms when they changed up their 170-year-old family recipe, choosing to use red winter wheat instead of rye in their mash bill for a softer, smoother bourbon.
And fast forward to today, Cellar Aged will be available in select markets around the world. The distiller noted that the unique maturation approach of Cellar Aged will be consistent every year, but the specific blend of aged bourbon will vary based on which barrels are ready, by taste.
This inaugural Cellar Aged features the blend of 12-year-old and 11-year-old whisky, 87% and 13%, respectively, and it’s bottled at a cask strength of 115.7 proof. It has a suggested retail price of $150. You can find it in the U.S. this September, and in London, Munich and select Global Travel Retail accounts in October. It hits Tokyo and Singapore in early 2024.
For more information, check out www.makersmark.com.