The largest and most active bourbon discussion site on the web is StraightBourbon.com. Most of the participants there are passionate and knowledgeable, and more than a few of us are committed skeptics.
As I wrote last month after I had an early sample of Maker’s 46, the new expression from Maker’s Mark, “it totally works.” I was sold from the first sip and said so, but at that point only a few people had tried it. Most had to wait until now and many were suitably dubious.
During the last two weeks it has been found at retail in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio, Minnesota, Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, New Hampshire, Maryland, and Tennessee.
Here are some of the reactions:
“Definitely different from the standard MM. But the differences are subtle and understated. Nicely done but no wow factor.”
“I’d pick it over regular MM every time.”
“I must say, this is pretty good stuff. I like it!”
"A nice amount of oak finish without becoming overbearing (and) a finish that's actually interesting to the palate.”
"The nose is wonderful, like oaky vanilla caramel corn.”
"I was, and am, extremely impressed.”
It’s hard to imagine a tougher test audience but so far most of them love it.
One nice thing about Maker’s 46 for Maker's is that they can make more of it almost like turning on a spigot. Not exactly, but a finish takes weeks, not years, and although regular Maker's is on allocation too, I'm sure they won't hesitate to rob Peter to pay Paul, since "Paul" is more profitable.
I also suspect cannibalization is expected. Cannibalization occurs when a new product gets too much of its sales from current customers. Normally cannibalization is considered a bad thing (you can kind of tell that from the name) but for Maker's it's a good thing, since one of their objectives is to give Maker's drinkers who want more variety in their drink choices another possibility from within the Maker's family.
If cannibalization occurs that will take some supply pressure off regular Maker's, allowing them to pump out more 46.
So don't fret if you haven't been able to get any yet.