LORETTO, Ky. — It seemed like any other day at the Maker's Mark Distillery, as workers dunked tops of whiskey bottles into tubs of red wax. Only this time, the bottles were different — and so was the bourbon.
Since the late 1950s, the quaint distillery tucked into the Kentucky hills has churned out just one product — Maker's Mark. That's changing with next month's introduction of Maker's 46, a close cousin of the original but with a different aging method in the final weeks to give the whiskey a distinctive taste.
While the world of expensive spirits is rife with offshoots, Maker's was steadfast in clinging to a single product until now.
"This is our first creation in 52 years, and it really is a creation," Maker's Mark President Bill Samuels Jr. said. "It's not like it's Maker's with a couple of more years age on it."
To create the product, master distiller Kevin Smith started with Maker's and dabbled for more than a year before hitting on the recipe.
Whiskey barrels storing Maker's are emptied so workers can insert oak planks inside each. The barrels are refilled and aged two to three months longer than traditional Maker's, which ages six to seven years. As Maker's 46 mingles with the wood, it takes on stronger hints of caramel, spice and vanilla, Smith said.
Oh, and of course there's the fact that women can't drive.