Maker’s Mark® today announced the latest entry in the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series with the launch of the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01. Hitting shelves in limited quantities in March, this special bottling is the first of two complementary bourbons, and 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 the acclaimed Wood Finishing Series, the 2021 bourbons are inspired by the purposeful choices Maker’s Mark makes during production – namely, never chill-filtering its whisky – in order to retain its signature character and depth of flavor. Using the distillery’s pioneering wood stave-finishing technique, the 2021 Limited Releases celebrate and amplify characteristics that stem from that choice, including dark, dried fruit and woody notes and a rich, full-bodied texture.
“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 that is seared on one side and left raw on the other to amplify some of the signature dried fruit and oak flavors that Maker’s Mark is known for. The classic Maker’s Mark® Bourbon derives these tasting notes from naturally retained elements of barrel char and organic compounds called fatty acid esters (FAEs), 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 charred side offers dark leathery tobacco notes, and the raw side yields fresh fruit, the two of which come together to create intense barrel-aged fruitiness. While 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01 focuses on drawing out specific flavors, 2021 Limited Release: FAE-02, arriving later this year, will be defined by its 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.”
Like existing Wood Finishing Series offerings Maker’s Mark 46 and Maker’s Mark® Private Selection, both FAE-01 and FAE-02 are purposefully crafted by finishing fully-matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark in secondary barrels containing the proprietary wood staves. The barrels are rested in Maker’s Mark’s limestone cellar, where the cask strength bourbon interacts with the staves to develop the expressions’ unique taste profiles.
Bottled between 110.3 and 110.6 proof, each 750mL bottle of the Maker’s Mark 2021 Limited Release: FAE-01 will retail for a suggested $59.99 and will be available nationwide beginning March 1, while supplies last. FAE-02 will carry the same SRP, hitting shelves in Fall 2021.