Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series 2020 Limited Release (SE4 x PR5) Review

About – “Like existing Wood Finishing Series offerings Maker’s Mark 46 and Maker’s Mark Private Selection®, the 2020 Limited Release was purposefully crafted by finishing fully-matured, cask strength Maker’s Mark in secondary barrels containing the proprietary wood staves. The barrels were then rested in the Maker’s Mark limestone bourbon cellar where the cask strength bourbon interacts with the staves, before being mingled together to develop the expression’s unique flavor. This year’s limited offering differs from its 2019 predecessor by utilizing two stave styles – one drawing on vanilla, the other on caramel – that when married together yield a rich Maker’s Mark reminiscent of butter pecan. The multi-stave approach was the result of more than twelve months of experimentation with Maker’s Mark barrel producer Independent Stave Company. The first stave in the 2020 Limited Release, SE4, is made from Virgin French Oak, convection cooked at medium heat with a short toast period and responsible for much of the caramel flavor. The second stave, PR5, is made from Virgin American Oak and convection cooked at low heat very slowly over time to bring out vanilla.” Bottled at 110.8 proof, each 750mL bottle of the Maker’s Mark 2020 Limited Release will retail for a suggested $59.99 and will be available nationwide beginning in September, while supplies last.

Nose – A nice toasty baking spice right out of the gate that puts me in an Autumn state of mind. Behind that is a really rich vanilla and bright caramel that really round things out nicely.

Palate – Rich toffee jumps out along with the rich vanilla from the nose. It has a borderline creamy mouthfeel. The toasted staves show up on the middle palate as a bit of that baking spice from the nose starts to come in as well. The spice leads into the finish, but doesn’t hang around long. The medium length finish really lets the toasted oak shine along with a touch of cherry.

Score – A-

Verdict – Accentuating the vanilla and caramel was the goal here and they achieved that in spades. The nose gives me that great Autumn feeling, the rich toffee and vanilla on the palate are extremely pleasant, and the finish does a surprisingly good job at accentuating the toasted oak staves. The only thing lacking for me is a touch of complexity. This is a great release and highly recommend it buying one if you have the opportunity.

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