Discover the differences between Jefferson’s Reserve vs Maker’s Mark in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!
|Nose||Vanilla, honey, cherry|
|Palate||Toasted oak, ripe fruit, apple, rye spice|
|Finish||Oak, tobacco, rye spice|
|Alcohol content||90 proof (45% ABV)|
|How to drink||Add water|
|Similar to||Woodford Reserve, Jefferson’s Ocean|
The nose is subtle, with notes of vanilla and honey and a touch of cherry.
On the palate, Jefferson’s feels slightly viscous almost velvety. Taste is smooth, with a good balance between fruity and spicy notes, followed by charred oak. There is a bit of heat to it but nothing terrible.
The finish has a good length, a bit warm, with a kick of spiciness and oak, but stays fairly smooth.
Adding water tunes down the heat and the rye spice making it more fruity while bringing a light roasted peanut note.
Overall, Jefferson’s Reserve is nice and well rounded. Is not memorable or earth shattering but it gets the job done delivering a satisfying bourbon.
There is bit of warmth to it but very manageable and can easily be tamed with a dash of water.
There are a few facts worth knowing about Jefferson’s Reserve:
- Jefferson’s is a blend of 4 bourbons with different age statements.
- Each batch is crafted from only 8 to 12 casks giving a real meaning to the term “Small Batch”.
- Mash bill is unknown but apparently made from 60% corn, 30% rye, 10% malted barley.
- Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
- Earned 94 points from the Beverage Testing Institute.
- Jefferson’s was first released in 1997 by Trey Zoeller and his dad Chet.
- The brand is currently owned by Pernod Ricard, from France, who also owns brands such as Chivas Regal, Glenlivet, Avion Tequila, among several others.
|Nose||Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, almond|
|Palate||Rye spice, caramel, dried fruit, nuts|
|Finish||Long, caramel, rye spice|
|Alcohol content||90 proof (45% ABV)|
|How to drink||Rocks, cocktails|
|Similar to||Evan Williams, Jim Beam, Four Roses|
There is nail polish on the nose at first that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it develop in the glass.
On the palate there is vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey providing a pleasant mouthfeel.
The finish has a moderate length, is sweet with very little heat and just a tad of 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 (Alternatives) is a well-rounded enjoyable bourbon without any bold flavors. It is one of the few bourbons, along Pappy, Weller, Old Elk, Larceny, that carry wheat in the mash as opposed to rye in the mash.
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.
Not the best mixer though, as its profile does not make cocktails interesting. You better use a cheap rye whiskey to make a tasty cocktail.
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 owns Jim Beam and is headquartered in Osaka, Japan.
Jefferson’s Reserve vs Maker’s Mark: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
Jefferson’s Reserve vs Maker’s Mark: Which is Better?
Jefferson’s Reserve is hardly better than Maker’s Mark
- Maker’s Mark is super basic, entry-level bourbon making a good option for new drinkers.
- Nothing stands out neither for good nor bad but makes an easy and enjoyable bourbon.
- The Jefferson’s is more tasty, a bit warmer, though, but drinks nicely nonetheless.
- Not very different from the Woodford Reserve which is substantially cheaper.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!