I purposely set my expectations low because I really didn't have any prior experience with Makers Mark other than the normal red wax offering. Normal Makers Mark is a fairly uneventful bourbon. I'm not saying it's bad but for me, I like a little more pop to my bourbon. Enter Makers 46.
I had checked the Virginia ABC website and they listed it but the stores were a little slow in getting it on the shelves. About 2 weeks ago I walked into an ABC store and thankfully, they had just put it on display that morning priced at $34 a 750ml. Because this bourbon is finished with French oak staves as a flavoring component, it cannot be called Straight Bourbon Whiskey, just Bourbon Whiskey. Like all Makers Mark bourbon, this one is a wheated bourbon also.
The packaging is very attractive with a new shaped bottle for this release but of course, the red wax dripping down the side is still present. Overall, a good choice of bottle
The color is of moderate amber with shades of orange when held up to the light
The nose is quite a bit better than normal MM with loads of caramel and wood notes. There's a sweetness that comes through on the nose that's reminiscent of candy apple.
The entry was surprising with a pop of spice on the tongue. The spice isn't a rye type spice but more like a baking spice; cloves and cinnamon which I suspect comes from the oak staves but I can't say with any degree of certainty. Mid palate the bourbon takes on a nice candied sweetness and then begins to diminish a little too soon and finishes up slightly dry.
For a new product from Makers Mark, this is really great start. I'm not sure I'll keep this as a regular open bar item but that's only because of the price which I think is a little steep. I really hope this product sells well so it encourages Makers Mark to continue experimentation on different bourbon offerings. If you like a regular Makers or wheated bourbons in general, you should like this one as well.