Choose Your Own Adventure with Maker's Mark Private Select Program

In an interview with Jane Conner, the director of Maker’s Mark Private Select program, learned additional information around the recently announced program. Maker’s Mark is getting ready to roll out a program where whisky lovers can, literally, choose their own adventure. In this case, there will be a total of 1,001 unique outcomes, and program members will have a preview of some of these different taste profiles.

Inspired by the technique behind Maker’s 46, participants in the Private Select Program will be given the opportunity choose between 10 different types of oak staves with which to finish their fully-matured Maker’s Mark. This same method was used when Bill Samuels was selecting the recipe that eventually became Maker’s Mark 46. Jane Connor remarked that this is Maker’s Mark way of entering the very popular arena of single- and private-barrel programs, while still maintaining Maker’s Mark consistency.

There are, according to Connor, 1,001 potential combinations of 10 staves and seasoning levels, which will be added to a single barrel for 9 weeks of additional maturation. The wood and cook of the staves were carefully chosen by Maker’s Mark in order to amplify flavours already found in their bourbon. Participants will choose a combination of Baked American Pure 2, Seared French Cuvee, Maker’s 46, Roasted French Mocha, and Toasted French Spice staves to create “their perfect version of Maker’s Mark”.

Participants in this program can expect to be taken through the ins and outs of barrels, maturation, wood types, charring and toasting at the distillery with Connor herself. From there, they will build their own barrel, insert their staves and fill it with Maker’s Mark. After the 9 additional weeks of maturation, Maker’s Mark will bottle it at cask strength, label it and ship it. Each barrel will be fully filled with Maker’s Mark whisky when aged for 9 months, so expect about 240-260 bottles per Private Select release.

According to Connor, Maker’s Mark will be laying down the first barrel in November and while they are keeping the program local to Kentucky for the time being, a wider rollout is expected in 2016. No word on price just yet.

Catch the full interview in this week’s episode of The Whisky Topic, to be released on October 28th.