Maker’s Mark Announces Third Release of Wood Finishing Series

Maker's Mark Wood Finishing Series 2021. Courtesy Photo.

Maker’s Mark has announced the first release in the 2021 Limited Edition Wood Finishing Series FAE-01 – with a fall release to follow.

The Wood Finishing Series launched in 2019 as an outlet for creative, limited edition bourbons that experiment with Maker’s Mark famous wheated bourbon finished with a variety of charred and toasted oak staves. They introduced the series with Maker’s Mark RC-6 and followed last year in 2020 with Maker’s Mark SE4xPR5, getting fans into a comfortable pattern of annual releases. This year, though, the distillery tells us that the spring release of FAE-01 will be followed with a fall release FAE-02.

The expressions take their name from the “fatty acid esters” that give the bourbon their unique flavor. “Non-chill-filtering allows long-chain fatty acid esters (FAEs) to remain in the liquid, which contributes to the creamier mouthfeel and helps preserve and elevate the fruit notes,” says a press release from the distillery.

“For 2021, we leaned into our column stills and non-chill-filtering process, which, simply put, helps us retain the texture and a higher viscosity of the whisky,” says Jane Bowie, Maker’s Mark Director of Innovation, in a press release. “What we got is an expression that highlights the fruit‑forward taste profile in an unexpected and much welcomed way. It tastes just like a barrel warehouse smells.”

Action shots provided by the distillery show each bottle getting their signature dripping red wax.

This is the first time Maker’s has used a stave that has raw (uncharred or toasted) wood. “The American oak staves are cooked on one side only in order to maximize the flavors pulled from the staves — the infrared side for heavier wood extractives and the raw side to allow more fruit-forward elements,” says a press release from the brand.

“So for this one, we’re really going for some of those confectionary notes, tobacco, things that can exist or are created, whether it’s through the entire distillation process or through the fact that we don’t chill filter,” says Master Distiller Denny Potter. “On the nose, you’re gonna get a lot of those deep sugars, and on the taste profile you will get hints of tobacco, oak, and dried fruit.” 

The distillery tells us to expect notes of “heavy wood, dark fruit and tobacco ” with a palate that’s full of “deep and dried dark fruits, big midpalate with strong tobacco and barrel extractives.” As for the finish, we’re told it’s “creamy, lingering, and round.”

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series FAE-01 is bottled at cask strength (ranging from 110.3 to 110.6) and will be hitting shelves March 1st at a suggested retail price of around $60.