You’ll Need to Travel to Get This $50 Maker’s Mark 101 Proof Bourbon

Maker's Mark 101, the first Travel Retail Exclusive from Maker's Mark Bourbon.
Maker's Mark 101, the first Travel Retail Exclusive from Maker's Mark Bourbon.

Maker’s Mark Bourbon fans are going to have to get their passports ready, because the legendary bourbon distiller is releasing a new standard $50, one-liter bottling at a new proof exclusively for Global Travel Retail this month.

The new Maker’s Mark 101 is a fifth new core whiskey release (ever) and first for the brand: the first time they’ve done a travel retail exclusive in their decades of storied history.

The 101 proof bottling is a rare treat; though it has been bottled before, it was rarely if ever sold. Instead it was held in reserve at the Loretto, Kentucky distillery to be shared with special guests. The public bottle is still dipped in red wax, but the bottle is painted with gold lettering and presented in a carton.

Maker’s Mark says the whisky is “sweet on the nose with dark, bold spice… [and on the palate] rich and creamy with spicy fruit and caramel, with a mellow, creamy and lingering mid-palate finish.”

This is not Maker’s Mark’s highest proof whiskey–that title is held by Maker’s Cask Strength–but it does fit neatly between the classic and cask strength bottles. Maker’s Mark rarely releases new products: the entire portfolio consists of just four bottles, including the classic, Private Select, 46, and Cask Strength. Other special editions are often classic Maker’s Mark whiskey in a special bottle, with unique wax colors.

Proof has been a topic of contention for Maker’s Mark in the past: the brand once infamously tried to meet rising demand by reducing the proof of its core whisky before immediately reversing course amid protests from fans. The next year they followed up with the launch of Cask Strength. It never made sense to us, but that bottle is so good… who can complain.

Maker’s Mark 101 will be available in Global Travel Retail shops for about $50 U.S. for a one liter bottle, starting this month.

G. Clay Whittaker
Clay is Editor at Large of The Bourbon Review. He has written about whiskey, food, drink, and culture for Esquire, Playboy, Men's Journal, Popular Science, Southern Living, Maxim, among others.