Maker’s Mark has unveiled the latest entry in the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series, the 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01.
Hitting shelves in limited quantities this March, this bottling is the first of two complementary bourbons. It will be followed by a second expression, 2021 Limited Release: FAE-02, in the fall of this year.
Marking the third year of limited releases from Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series, the 2021 bourbons take inspiration from the choices Maker’s Mark makes during production — namely, not chill-filtering — in order to retain character and depth of flavor, the company says. The 2021 release aims to emphasize characteristics that stem from that choice — including dark, dried fruit and woody notes and a full-bodied texture — by using the distillery’s wood stave-finishing technique.
“Every whisky in our Wood Finishing Series is meant to have a strong point of view; it should tell a story about what we do at the distillery,” says Jane Bowie, director of innovation at Maker’s Mark. “For 2021 we wanted to use wood to draw out those underlying bold qualities of classic Maker’s that we get from non-chill filtration — heavy oakiness, earthy fig and that creamy, palate-coating mouthfeel. The more we experimented with different stave types, the more we realized one bourbon wouldn’t even scratch the surface of big flavor and texture, so we’re excited to share a pair of releases that tell two sides of a complete story.”
The first 2021 Limited Release, FAE-01, uses an American oak stave seared on one side, and left raw on the other, to amplify dried fruit and oak flavors. Maker’s Mark derives these tasting notes from naturally retained elements of barrel char and organic compounds called fatty acid esters (FAEs), the company says, which are responsible for both fruity tones and texture variations.
Each side of the FAE-01 stave draws out different characteristics of these two flavor components, the company says. The charred side offers dark leathery tobacco notes, while the raw side yields fresh fruit.
The 2021 Limited Release: FAE-02, arriving later this year, focuses more on a rich, weighty texture.
“This first release tastes just like a Kentucky barrel warehouse smells,” says Bowie. “If you’ve ever walked through a rick house and taken a deep breath, you can almost taste the bourbon in the air, and that’s the experience we’ve created with FAE-01. There’s tons of pleasantly dank wood and tobacco on the nose, and rich, warm raisin and fig on the tongue — it’s literally like sipping on angel’s share.”
As with other Wood Finishing Series offerings, both FAE-01 and FAE-02 come from finishing fully matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark in secondary barrels containing proprietary wood staves. The barrels rest in Maker’s Mark’s limestone cellar, where the cask strength bourbon interacts with the staves.
Bottled between 110.3 and 110.6 proof, Maker’s Mark 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01 retails for a suggested price of $59.99 per 750-ml. bottle.
FAE-02 will carry the the same SRP when it reaches retailers nationwide later this fall.