This year’s Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series release uses the same stave profile as last year’s, using toasted American Oak. However, this years has two batches, BRT-01 and BRT-02. I picked up the BRT-01. The difference between the two batches is based on the times the barrels stayed at various parts of the warehouse. BRT-01 is said to focus on the time the whiskey spent in the hottest part of the warehouse. Given its 109 proof, it actually lost a little alcohol while ageing.
On the nose, there is a lot of caramel and oak notes. On the swirl is a big thick film and legs. On the palate, there is a lot of caramel and oak, along with wonderful bready notes along with some cinnamon notes that are typical for long aged wheated bourbon. Really nice mouthfeel on this whiskey; I can’t emphasize this point enough. Really luscious. On the finish is a really wonderful combination of cinnamon and oak; and the finish really lingers.
The virgin oak staves along with some aging in the hottest part of the warehouse early on for this whiskey has really added some great barrel influence that makes this bourbon reminiscent of the Van Winkle bourbons. Even the mouthfeel is there. Now, I realize adding wood staves is kind of “cheating” by accelerating the aging process. But for some reason my palate just doesn’t care.