The founder of Maker’s Mark, William Bill Samuels Sr., bought Kentucky’s ‘Burks’ Distillery’ back in the 1950’s. Back then, Bill sought a flavor that would help to differentiate his bourbon from other whiskies in the market. Therefore, Maker’s Mark utilizes soft-type red winter wheat for making the American whiskey. Maker’s Mark’s product is famous for its sweetness at the front portion of palette.
The wheat is an extremely significant ingredient, but it constitutes just 16% of Maker’s mash bill. These materials also comprise 14% malted barley and 70% corn. Both the corn and the aforementioned-type wheat are locally sourced by Maker’s Mark.
The brand has access to topnotch water for producing quality American bourbon whiskies, including Makers Cask. They own America’s lone distillery that has its own source of water and watershed. Rich in magnesium and calcium, the water around Maker’s Mark’s manufacturing place makes for an improved sour mash. Besides, the local limestone removes iron content from water. Iron in a bourbon whiskey makes it unpleasant, but Maker’s Mark has the limestone to thank for their product’s taste.
Another factor in its distinctiveness is that the yeast Maker’s Mark uses is more than 150 years older compared to the brand. Interestingly, the brand has been utilizing the same family-owned strain of yeast for fermentation for all these years. Each Maker’s Mark spirit bottle has the distinct complexity and flavor impacted by the yeast. The brand takes pride in this, which is evident from their statement shared below.
“Would it have been easier to switch to cheaper stock yeast when everyone else was? Sure. But it wouldn’t be better. And, it wouldn’t be Maker’s Mark.”
They use the same tanks to ferment it as the ones from the original Kentucky-based distillery, which Bill had purchased all those years ago. Maker’s Mark distillery uses cypress wood fermenting tanks, despite the wood of the necessary size being scarce. Cypress does not affect Maker’s Mark’s whiskey’s flavor, which is quite something.
A different factor that helps the branded whiskey to stand out is that it is aged to improve the taste, instead of just packaging it following a predetermined period. Maker’s Mark’s tasting panel and master distiller decide when the whiskey is in a suitable state to be moved into a cooler place, preventing the product from maturing excessively fast.