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Whiskey Shots: A Blind Sampling of 3 Maker’s Mark Private Selections

A blind whiskey sampling is an event where participants taste and evaluate different types of whiskey without knowing the brand or any specific details about them. The whiskeys are usually served in identical glasses and are often identified only by a number or a code.

The purpose of a blind whiskey sampling is to eliminate any preconceived notions or biases that participants may have about certain brands, ages, or types of whiskey. This allows for a more objective evaluation based on the actual taste, aroma, and overall experience of the whiskey.

It's a fun and educational experience that can help participants discover new favorites and appreciate the wide range of flavors and styles that exist within the world of whiskey. It's also a great way to test and improve one's whiskey tasting skills.

For this blind, I used three samples provided by a friend. I did know that they were all from Maker’s Mark Private Selection series, but I didn’t know which was which while sampling them, because he numbered the samples and provided a sealed envelope with the key. I used three Glencairn glasses lined up on my home bar, with each numbered bottle beside the glass containing its sample.

Maker's Mark Private Selection series is a unique program that allows individuals or groups to create their own custom bourbon by choosing from a variety of wood staves to influence the flavor of the bourbon. The staves used in the process are American Oak, French Oak, and a variety of others that have been seasoned and toasted to different levels. The process involves selecting a combination of ten different staves, which are then inserted into a barrel of fully matured Maker's Mark. The barrel is then aged in the Maker's Mark limestone cellar for an additional nine weeks.

On to the blind!

All 3 samples were amber in color and clear.

On the nose, Sample 1 gave off aromas of caramel, vanilla, dried fruit, cinnamon spice, and a hint of smoke. Sample 2 gave off a butterscotch vibe. And Sample 3 had aromas of Dark Cherry, chocolate, and maple.

On the palate, Sample 1 had a viscous, oily mouthfeel and tasted of caramel covered raisins and peanuts. Sample 2 was a bit thin on the tongue and had an earthy taste, perhaps a little tobacco, followed with some orange. Sample 3 was also a bit thin, but tasted of chocolate-covered cherries with a bit of the maple I got on the nose.

The finish on Sample 1 was long and tasted of dry oak and roasted nuts. Sample 2 also had a long finish of peanuts and a similar oaky taste. Sample 3 also finished long with black pepper and maple sweetness.

How they ranked

After rating them each, I opened the envelope and found that:

*️⃣ Sample 1 was Maker's Mark Private Selection with a stave profile of 1-2-4-0-3.

*️⃣ Sample 2 was Maker's Mark Private Selection Fry’s Super Barrel 2023 with a stave profile of 0-2-6-2-0.

*️⃣ Sample 3 was Maker's Mark Private Selection Fry’s Pick - Fall 2023 with a stave profile of 2-1-1-3-3.

It was interesting how the different stave profiles each offered unique flavor profiles due to the different combinations of staves used. Because of this, I had a difficult time choosing my favorite.

In the end, I ranked them 3, 1, 2. I felt that sample 3 was the most balanced, which is reflected in its balanced 2-1-1-3-3 stave profile.

All and all, this was a great tasting experience! It highlighted to me how the different stave profiles completely changed the base bourbon. I appreciate my friend for giving me the opportunity to blind sample the three different Maker’s Mark Private Selections!

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