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Maker’s Mark distillery, famous for their red winter wheated whiskey, announced this morning that for the first time since their founding more than six decades ago, they’ll be releasing bourbon whiskey made with a second, rye mashbill.
Maker’s Mark Rye Bourbon breaks a precedent of more than half a century, and the new bottling, aged the same way as the wheat recipe, will be distinguishable only by the green wax atop the bottle.
“All these years we’ve been so focused on wheat—the whole time there was a whole other grain out there for flavoring bourbon,” explained Bill Samuels, patriarch of the brand. “We started playing with it about a decade ago, and after it aged for a few years, I said, well there might be something here.”
In contrast with the smooth, slightly crisp profile of the wheated Maker’s Mark bourbon, Maker’s Mark Rye Bourbon will be a sharp, spicy bourbon meant to hurt a little on the palate.
“I like that kick you get. It’s definitely different than what we’ve ever done before.”
The distillery has apparently done secretive market tests to examine whether the bartending world is ready for a rye bourbon, and according to Samuels, they see a huge opportunity. “We’re already looking at cutting back on this easy-drinking stuff and turning out some of this punchier, more aggressive recipe for the next few years,” explained Samuels.
Maker’s Mark Rye is available today, April 1, on limited shelves for $49.99.