This Maker’s Mark Private Select review was written by a member of the Bourbon Sippers Facebook Group, Mathew Sims. 

Bottle: Single Barrel Picks
Mash bill: Wheated mash bill (70 corn/16 wheat/14 malted barley)
Proof: Varies (Barrel Proof)
Price: $69.99 plus

Maker's Mark Private Select

Maker’s Mark is an iconic whisky that serves as a gateway to the wide variety of Kentucky bourbon available to enjoy. Countless people have told me Maker’s was their first whisky love.

That holds true for me as well. Maker’s was the first bourbon I ever drank neat. Prior to Maker’s, it was house whiskey’s mixed with sour. Something about that iconic bottle with the dipped wax seems to draw new whiskey drinkers like flies to BBQ on a hot southern summer day.

(You may have noticed the whisky missing the e in the first paragraph. It’s also the only Kentucky bourbon I know of that uses the Scottish spelling for its brand.)

For many years, Maker’s only offered one product — Maker’s Mark bottled at 90 proof. That’s changed in recent years although they still use their historic mash bill for their new products which include cask strength, 46, and what I’ll be reviewing, the Maker’s Mark Private Select.

What makes the Maker’s Mark Private Select program stand out is liquor stores and others with liquor licenses can visit the distillery and create their own unique Maker’s flavor profile with charred staves.

Each Private Select must have 10 staves with a mix of the options below and ages for nine weeks with the staves making full contact with the whisky:

  • Baked American Pure – A bold, oaky sweetness
  • Seared French Cuvee – Butterscotch, caramel, nuttiness, sweet vanilla with a full, fatty mouth feel
  • Maker’s 46 – Spicy vanilla, dry but balanced and rounded
  • Roasted French Mocha – Dark chocolate, roasted coffee, char, long, dry finish with a hint of sweetness
  • Toasted French Spice – Spicy fruitiness, cinnamon, smoky spices, astringent

 Makers Mark Private Select Bourbon Sippers

Also, because Maker’s Mark has one of the lowest barrel entry proofs (110) their barrel proof whisky is smooth and drinkable without killing your palate after one glass.


Color: Honey from summer berries to light amber for both picks

Green’s Pick Nose: Hints of caramel, wheat, bread pudding with brown sugar or cinnamon roll

WineXpress’s Pick Nose: Hints of sweetness in the form of light caramel and brown sugar but balanced with robust, rich dark chocolate.

Green’s Pick Palate: Banana bread, clove, and cinnamon. Drinking this reminds me of all the desserts we love in the Fall with those robust, hearty spices. You get a balanced spice in the back of the palate.

WineXpress’s Pick Palate: Light oakiness and wheat bread on the front of the palate then burnt butterscotch makes a brief appearance leading to dark chocolate soon taking over the show in the mid palate to finish but the baking spice joins the dark chocolate in the back of the palate.

Green’s Pick Finish: Medium finish with baked spices like cinnamon. A less spicy finish of Maker’s 46.

WineXpress’s Pick Finish: Longer finish where the dark chocolate and baking spice close up shop with hints of bitter, black coffee.

Conclusion: I really enjoyed both of these Private Selects although I favored the WineXpress’s pick for its chocolatey notes. For me those Roasted French Mocha staves do the trick. You still can tell it’s a Maker’s whisky but you’ve got that rich chocolate and coffee flavor as well as that lingering finish. If you can’t taste the Private Select ahead of time look at the Staves and flavor description for a good guess on what kind of flavor profile you’re likely to get. I’d pair these two Private Selects with any foods or cigars that have a robust flavors. They are heavy weight drinkers, so don’t be shy.

We loved the write-up that Mathew did on these two picks and are eager to see more guest reviews shared from fellow Bourbon Sippers! If you like reading these reviews, check out more on Slurred Speech.  If you would like to join our FB group, follow the button below.

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