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beerSo I haven’t been on the blog in about a week and a half, and here’s why:

I went from working 20ish hours a week and preaching to working 40+ hours a week plus preaching.  I was worn the crap out last week, and I didn’t write a darn thing aside from my sermon.  So yes, there are two sermons in the barrel, ready to be edited and added to the podcast, but not tonight.

No, tonight is for something completely different.  Tonight, I drink…..err, I mean, I review bourbon.

Now I love bourbon.  If I just compare drinks, beer to bourbon, and forget about the community and the artistry, I love bourbon more.  Bourbon is just amazing, and it makes me happy.

The first bourbon I ever enjoyed was Maker’s Mark.  I had enjoyed whiskey liqueurs before, I had gotten into Jameson, but that first time I had a sip of Maker’s neat, I was enthralled.  The smokey, the sweet, and the bite all add up to an amazing, amazing amber liquid.  Even to today, having tried a line of bourbons, Maker’s still has a soft spot in my heart, and it’s a go to at bars because I can get it at most bars.

I love Maker’s Mark and I don’t foresee that changing any time soon.  So, if one loves Maker’s Mark like I do, Maker’s 46 has to be on the list of things they need to try.

I’ve been putting it off.  I had heard mixed reviews on it, some saying it’s way better than Maker’s Mark original with much better flavor, others saying it’s much harsher.  The guy who I associate with knowing his whiskey over at Family Liquor told me one that he thought Maker’s original was better than Maker’s 46 because Maker’s 46 was much harsher.  At $40/bottle, I didn’t want something I was going to be disappointed in.  I wanted to enjoy it.

But it was time.  It’s been staring at me for 3 years, I had the money and was, for sure, going to buy a bottle of bourbon, and it was there, asking me to try it just once.

Makers 46 1So I did.  It was time.

Maker’s 46

Appearance: Dark Amber, but oddly generic in color for me.  I guess I was just hopeful that it would look really awesome, maybe unique in some way.Makers 46 2

I see the tell-tail signs of oily swirls, pointing to a high proof.  I have learned throughout my drinking career, especially with whiskey, that appearance is only irrelevant to how good it is.

Scent: A hint of caramel, a hint of brown sugar, and a hint of sweet corn.  Until this moment I didn’t understand that description, but now that I smell it, I get it.  Bourbon is at least 51% corn mash; of course some of that should come through.  I’m a bit slow sometimes.

Taste Neat: I get the little bit of caramel, a hint of sweet, but them I’m slapped in the face with burn, and it only gets worse as I swallow.  I’m a whiskey drinker, I like Jack neat occasionally, but that is unnecessary harsh.  Old Grand Dad 114 is considerably smoother, and it comes it at 5% more alcohol.  I can get a bit of the flavors, but it’s stinking harsh.

Taste Over Rocks: The ice cube did mellow it out quite a bit – it didn’t slap me any more – but it also mellowed the flavors.  I’m getting a lot more of the smokiness that bourbon should have, but the sweet character is gone.  I’m not a huge fan of whiskey over the rocks, and this just reminds me of why not.  Oddly enough, if you were a Scotch drinker, I think this might appeal to you; I kind of get some scotch character to it.

Drinkability: Ignoring the mixing abilities, I could barely tolerate it neat (and ended up shooting the rest of my glass instead of sipping it).  Over a rock it was smooth enough but lost almost all character.  I’m just barely tolerating it.

Quality: I’m disappointed.  4 Roses Single Barrel costs identical amounts at my liquor store and Matt and I stopped talking when we tried it because of how much we enjoyed it.  Old Grand Dad 114 is delicious, smoother, cheaper, and 5% more alcohol.  Maker’s Mark is quite smooth, heavy on the smoke, and is over 30% cheaper.  It’s just not what it should be given it’s price and heritage.  Heck, Jack Daniels is smoother, and it has character.

Overall: Not a fan.  I’ll drink it (more on that after this) but I’m disappointed.  It almost makes me sad; Maker’s is so close to my heart and yet this is so…miserable on its own.

Maker’s Mark page for Maker’s 46

All of that said, I did do something that makes me happy.Makers 46 3Manhattans!  Now I now a Manhattan traditionally is rye, but I just don’t care.

Actually, I do, and here’s why: I can name what I made a Dirty Redneck Manhattan.  Dirty I’ll explain in the recipe, but the Redneck comes from it being made in Kentucky, not Iowa like my favorite rye.  God Bless Templeton, both the legal and especially the bootleg version.

Now I’m a huge fan of “Evaluative White Balance” on the camera but sometimes I’m just no good at it:Makers 46 4I changed nothing about this picture but the size.  Yes, no matter what I tried, I could get a white balance without letting the camera do it.

Makers 46 5But it didn’t do a horrible job getting the white balance.

Dirty Redneck Manhattan

Ingredients:
2 Shots Bourbon
1 Shot Sweet Vermouth
Multiple Dashes Bitters
Splash Maraschino Cherry Juice (something without HFCS)
Maraschino Cherry Garnish (something without HFCS)

Mix in shaker over ice.  Serve in Martini Glass

And it was good!  I tried the bourbon last night straight, but I forgot to get bitters so I had to wait until tonight for the Manhattan, and I was worried it was going to be bad.

It wasn’t.  It was good, it had character, and it went down smooth.  And what makes it dirty is the splash of cherry juice.  A dirty martini is sullied by the olive and olive brine, a dirty Manhattan has cherry juice in it.

Or so I decree right now!

I’m pretty delighted right now, though my delight may be a bit enhanced by the Manhattan and the whiskey over the rocks that I had while writing this up.  Either way, it’s good to finally get something done you’ve been meaning to do, even if it is a bit disappointing.

To bourbon, that delicious amber liquid that beats the crap out of Scotch every day of the week!

– Robby

P.S.: So I at the cherry as a cherry on top of this blog post….okay, lame, but anyway, it was stinking good.  Did not anticipate recommending Royal Harvest Maraschino Cherries, but it was really good enough to warrant a recommendation.

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