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Elijah Craig vs Maker’s Mark: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Elijah Craig vs Maker’s Mark in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Elijah Craig Small Batch

NoseWood, chocolate, cinnamon, clove
PalateChocolate, wood, butterscotch, citrus
FinishOak spice, cinnamon, clove, black pepper, vanilla
Alcohol content94 proof (47% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toEvan Williams, Four Roses, Eagle Rare

Nose offers wood scent at first, followed by a hint of chocolate, cinnamon and clove.

On the palate, you get oak spice up-front, with a hint of bitter chocolate, butterscotch, vanilla and a tad of citrus.

The finish feels a bit warm as you get a hit of ethanol and a spicy bite rich in cinnamon, black pepper and clove with some butterscotch sweetness coming late to the party.

Elijah Craig has a nice nose, a good taste but it lets you down on the finish as it feels warm and spicy.

It becomes better when adding a drop of water as it becomes sweeter and loses some of the heat along the peppery bite.

Is not a bad bourbon by any means, barely making it to the sipper category but definitely needs more persistence than the average bourbon in this price range.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Elijah Craig:

  • Elijah Craig is credited as the first distiller to use heavily charred casks to age bourbon.
  • It is made from a mash bill comprised of 78% corn, 10% rye and 12% malted barley. 
  • It is bottled by blending no less than 200 casks of maturing bourbon, each of which was rested in a Kentucky rickhouse for a minimum of 8 years.
  • This whiskey previously had an age statement of 12 years but in 2016 the age statement was removed to extend its availability.
  • The distiller also increased the maximum number of barrels used per batch from 100 to 200.
  • Elijah Craig is produced by Heaven Hill, a private, American family-owned and headquartered in Bardstown, Kentucky.

Maker’s Mark

NoseCinnamon, clove, nutmeg, almond
PalateRye spice, caramel, dried fruit, nuts
FinishLong, caramel, rye spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toMaker’s Mark 46, Knob Creek

The nose has a nail polish note that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it develop in the glass.

On the palate Maker’s Mark delivers vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey providing a pleasant mouthfeel.

The finish has a moderate length, is sweet with very little warmth and just a dash of black pepper.

Adding a drop of water makes it taste like a Tootsie Pop, while tuning down the spicy note making it easier to sip.

Maker’s Mark is a well-rounded and enjoyable bourbon without any bold flavors. It is one of the few bourbons, along Van Winkle, Weller Bourbon, Old Elk, Larceny, that carry wheat in the mash as opposed to rye.

This makes the Maker’s Mark a bit sweeter and smoother while providing a bready flavor.

Nothing stands-out but there are no off-putting notes as it is nicely balanced, yet with enough body.

It makes a good entry-level bottle to those new to bourbon or liquors in general or a nice “everyday whisky” for those looking for a non-challenging sipper.

I’m not fond of using wheated bourbons as mixers as I feel they lack the punch to deliver tasty cocktails making me prefer a rye whiskey for an Old Fashioned.

There are few facts about Maker’s Mark worth knowing:

  • Maker’s Mark is made from 70% corn, 16% red wheat, and 14% malted barley. 
  • While most whiskeys age for a set amount of time, Maker’s is bottled when the tasters call it to be ready; that is between 6 and 7 years.
  • This one of the few whiskey brands in the United States that uses “whisky” instead of “whiskey” in its name due to the founders Scottish heritage.
  • Maker’s bottles stand out from the rest due to the red wax seal that is still made by hand nowadays.
  • Maker’s Mark is owned by Beam Suntory, a Japanese drinks giant who also holds Jim Beam, although they are crafted at different distilleries.

Elijah Craig vs Maker’s Mark: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Elijah Craig$34
Maker’s Mark$32

Elijah Craig vs Maker’s Mark: Which is better?

Maker’s Mark is an easier and smoother bourbon than Elijah Craig

WhiskeyElijah CraigMaker’s Mark
  • Maker’s Mark is sweeter and smoother than the Elijah Craig making the easiest drinker of the two. This a smooth everyday whiskey that goes down easy with no challenging notes, hence its popularity.
  • Elijah Craig is warmer and spicier, not a bad bourbon, but better suited when in the mood for a tasty Old Fashioned or for those who want something more punchy.

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