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Maker’s Mark vs Templeton Rye: Which is Better?

Discover the differences between Maker’s Mark vs Templeton Rye in this in-depth comparison and decide which 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 toBulleit Bourbon, Jim Beam

Maker’s Mark is one of the best-selling whiskeys and one of the few carrying wheat on the mash as secondary grain behind instead of rye.

This is the type of bourbon known as “wheated” and tends to be smoother and sweeter than the classic bourbon.

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. 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 classic rye whiskey for an Old Fashioned.

I have compiled a list of alternatives to the Maker’s Mark that you should consider if you want to explore further options.

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.

Templeton Rye

NoseHoney, vanilla, blueberry
PalateRye spice, vanilla, oak, oak spice
FinishCharred oak, oak spice, caramel
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toBulleit Rye, Woodford Rye

The nose is quite smooth and sweet with a pleasing honey aroma, followed by a note of vanilla and blueberry.

On the palate, the Templeton Rye feels thin as it has been watered-down to 80 proof. Flavor hits with a bit of heat at first, that gives way to rye spice, vanilla, oak with a light bitter note coming from the oak spice.

The finish is short, with a warming note to it as it burns a bit on the way down, with notes of oak char, oak spice and a tad of caramel.

Adding water makes it a bit better as it releases caramel and oak while tuning down the heat.

Not the most interesting whiskey but nothing wrong about it. It’s a bit warmer than what the low proof suggests and lacks in body as it feels watery but becomes handy for those looking to make whiskey cocktails on a budget.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Templeton Rye:

  • The mash bill is comprised of 95% rye and 5% malted barley.
  • Aged for 4 years in charred new American oak casks.
  • Won Double Gold at the SIP Awards and a Gold Medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2020.

What’s the difference between Maker’s Mark and Templeton Rye?

Maker’s Mark is a bourbon and Templeton a Rye Whiskey

Bourbons have to be produced from a mash made with at least 51% corn while Rye Whiskey has to be crafted from a mash containing at least 51% rye.

In general, corn provides a sweet note to spirits while Rye is known for its peppery bite. This note can be off-putting for newbies but once you get acquainted it becomes quite satisfying.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Maker’s Mark$23
Templeton Rye$28

Maker’s Mark vs Templeton Rye: Which is better?

Maker’s Mark is an easier drinker

WhiskeyMaker’s MarkTempleton Rye
  • Maker’s Mark is sweeter and smoother, without any troubling note. Is not the most complex or memorable bourbon but makes an easy sipper that you can use as an “everyday whisky”.
  • The Templeton Rye is a good choice when looking for a mixer as its peppery notes tend to make cocktails bolder and more tasty.

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