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Maker’s Mark vs Maker’s Mark 46: Head to Head!

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

Maker’s Mark

NoseCaramel, vanilla, fruity notes
PalateSweet, nutty, baking spice, bread-like flavor
FinishHoneyed, smooth and a bit of spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water, rocks
Similar toWoodford Reserve, Larceny, Bulleit

There is nail polish on the nose at first that fades into vanilla and cherry as you let it breathe.

On the palate you get vanilla, caramel, cherry and honey with a pleasant moutheel.

The finish is moderate and sweet with very little heat and a dash of black pepper.

Adding a drop of water releases a Tootsie Pop flavor, tunes-down the spicy note making it easier to sip.

Maker’s Mark is a well-rounded easy bourbon without any bold flavors.

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

This is one of the few bourbons along Pappy Van WinkleWeller and Larceny that use wheat in the mash bill as secondary grain behind corn and you can tell by the bread-like hints. 

It makes a good entry-level bottle to those curious about bourbon or a nice “everyday whisky” for those looking for a non-challenging sipper.

This is a versatile bourbon that you can sip neat, drink on the rocks or make homemade cocktails with it, although I’m not fond of using wheated bourbons as mixers as they lack the punch to deliver 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. 
  • Maker’s Mark uses wheat as secondary grain as opposed to rye making it sweeter, less spicy and hence easier to drink.
  • 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.

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 toWoodford Reserve Double Oaked

Maker’s Mark 46 has many of the flavors of the classic Maker’s Mark which should not come as a surprise as they are the same bourbon.

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 vs Maker’s 46: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Maker’s Mark$32
Maker’s Mark 46$42

Maker’s Mark vs Maker’s Mark 46: Which is better?

46 is a step-up worth the upcharge

  • Maker’s Mark is an upgrade over the regular Maker’s Mark. The additional aging in French oak staves provided not only a rich oaky note, but also a more refined and tasty version.
  • We can summarize by saying, you get pretty much the same flavors but better.
  • The price gap between the two is not an issue as the 46 is sufficiently better to justify the surcharge.

Consider further options by reading my post: Discover the Best Maker’s Mark bottle where I rank every release!

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