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Maker’s Mark 46 vs Four Roses Small Batch: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Maker’s Mark 46 vs Four Roses Small Batch in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!

Maker’s Mark 46

NoseOak, cherry, vanilla, fruity notes
PalateOak, cherry, vanilla, caramel
FinishMedium-length, oak, cherry, spice
Alcohol content94 proof (47% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toWeller Special Reserve, Knob Creek

Maker’s Mark (Best Bourbon) is one of the few bourbons made from a mash using wheat as secondary grain behind corn as opposed to rye.

In general, wheated bourbons tend to be smoother and sweeter.

Maker’s Mark 46 is the same bourbon as the regular Maker’s Mark but better tasting as the 46 is made by taking fully aged traditional Maker’s Mark at cask strength and inserting specially seared French oak staves into the barrels.

This process added a notorious oaky hint to the bourbon that goes from the nose to the finish, while adding more vanilla and a more refined and tasty version of the old good Maker’s Mark.

The bourbon finishes aging for around 6 months before bottling.

Nose of oak, caramel, vanilla and subtle fruity notes.

Taste is rich in oak at first but the vanilla comes in quick and delivers a really nice taste to it. It stays creamy and moves into a cherry flavor with some caramel.

The finish is long with very little warmth, with oaky notes, cherry and a tad of spice.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Maker’s Mark 46:

  • Aged for around 6 and a half years.
  • Made using the traditional Maker’s Mark corn, red winter wheat and barley mash bill.
  • 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.

Four Roses Small Batch

NoseVanilla, cherry, oak
PalateVanilla, oak, baking spice
FinishLong, burnt caramel
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toWoodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace

While Maker’s Mark is a bourbon made from a wheated mash, the Four Roses (Best Bourbon) has a fair amount of rye grain in its mash, making it spicy.

Don’t expect to be as spicy as a Rye Whiskey but similar to Bulleit Bourbon just that more refined and polished.

The nose is mainly sweet with hints of vanilla, cherry and oak.

On the palate, the Four Roses displays a good creamy body, is rich in vanilla, caramel and rye spice with a faint oaky note.

The finish is long, with very little burn with a nice hint of burnt caramel.

The Four Roses Small Batch (Substitutes) nicely balances sweet and spicy flavors and is packed with enjoyable hints. 

Creamy and smooth with just the right amount of spice making a great sipper. There is no need to add ice or a drop of water to tune it down as it goes down easy with no harshness.

If you have already tried the Four Roses Yellow Label you will find the Small Batch to be a vast improvement.

It is more tasty and smoother while still providing great value for the money and a satisfying daily drinker.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Four Roses:

  • Made from a blend of four different Kentucky bourbons. Two of the bourbons are made from of a mash of 60% corn, 35% rye and 5% malted barley, while the other two bourbons are comprised of a mash of 75% corn, 20% rye and 5% malted barley.
  • Each of the bourbons is fermented with a unique, proprietary yeast culture providing a different flavor to the whiskeys in the blend.
  • Each bourbon is aged for a minimum of 4 years at a one-story rickhouse.
  • Only 4 casks are used in the construction of each release.
  • Four Roses is owned by the Kirin Brewery Company.

Difference between Maker’s Mark 46 and Four Roses Small Batch

The difference lies in the mash

Maker’s Mark 46701614
4R Small Batch*70255
*Approximate values

Maker’s Mark 46 vs Four Roses Small Batch: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Maker’s Mark 46$29
Four Roses Small Batch$36

Maker’s Mark 46 vs Four Roses Small Batch: Which is better?

Depends if you like it spicy or not

WhiskeyMaker’s Mark 46Four Roses
  • If you are fond of a spicy bourbon, similar to Bulleit but more refined, that can also be used for tasty highballs the Four Roses is the better choice.
  • These bourbons are not mutually exclusive, meaning there’s a place for both in a well-stocked cabinet, but if you have to make a choice, choose your warrior based on preference towards rye spice.