The Details

Rating 85
Style
American Whiskey
Whiskey
Produced In Kentucky
United States
ABV 55.85%
Availability Limited
Price $75.00 
Reviewed By
Review Updated 2024-07-08

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Review Review

The Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series is back for 2024, this time with a new-look bottle and label combo more similar to its traditional core offerings. The brand calls it a “second chapter” for the Wood Finishing Series, with the next five releases collectively referred to as “Unsung Heroes” in commemoration of various company teams and their contributions to Maker’s Mark bourbon.

The first of that five expression run is called “The Heart,” named after “distillery team members who put their hearts into crafting this fruit-forward expression.”

On a recent virtual tasting with members of the blending and distilling teams, distillery reps described how the release was crafted from their “collective taste vision.” Traditional, cask-strength Maker’s Mark was finished for between five and nine weeks with two types of French oak staves. The finishing barrels each contained 10 of one type of stave, and the final product is an equal blend of bourbon from both finishing types.

According to the brand’s website, this release is bottled at cask strength, generally between 107 and 114 proof depending on the specific batch. The bottle we sampled clocked in at 111.7 proof. Like all Maker’s Mark bourbon, it’s distilled from a mash bill of 70 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, and 14 percent malted barley.

Let’s see how it tastes!

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart: Stats and Availability

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart carries a suggested retail price of around $75. It’s a limited release in that this specific stave finishing profile will only be used once in the series. However, like most of its predecessors, this bottle should be relatively easy for fans to find across the United States. It’s also available in limited quantities through retail partners online. As of this writing, I’ve seen a few markups going as high as $100. However, given the wide distribution and historic availability of this series, I’d expect the bottle to settle within $10 of MSRP in most markets.

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Review

As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.

Nose

Semi-sweet baking chocolate starts things off on the nose, the toasted wood eliciting a much heavier-than-normal cocoa element, at least compared to the standard Maker’s Mark profile. Wood sugars, light caramel, and sweetened whipped cream are up next, the chocolate — one might assume bolstered by at least one set of finishing staves — gradually fading more into the background as aromas from the base spirit take over. There’s also a tiny (but perceptible) note of freshly brewed espresso, which combined with the caramel and whipped cream evokes something akin to a Frappuccino.

I was expecting fruit earlier on, and though the bourbon takes its time, stone fruit including apricot and overripe peach eventually found their way out of the glass. If I have one small critique of the nose thus far, it’s a desire for more fruit (and earlier on).

Overall, The Heart noses a bit below the 111.7 proof I sampled it at; it’s noticeably restrained when nosed against regular Maker’s Mark Cask Strength at a similar proof. Spice is present (nutmeg especially) but dialed back. Ah, the impact and alchemy of additional aging and wood!

Taste

At first taste, the chocolate is sweeter than on the nose, closer to milk chocolate or chocolate syrup than the aforementioned, lightly bitter baking chocolate. Sweetness takes a few forms across the tongue, fusing with a baking spice character to bring a warm cinnamon roll (notably without icing, the sweet notes not quite leaning into a vanilla, saccharine quality).

For its proof, especially, this is a subtle bourbon, even after a few sips; I’d recommend patience and letting the components build with time. I found a couple quick tastes aren’t enough to let that cinnamon roll flavor really accumulate. A little stewed apricot lingers below the surface, again hitting the palate to a significant degree only after a few minutes.

Compared to other releases in the Maker’s Wood Finishing Series, The Heart’s mouthfeel is on the thinner side, which hobbles some of the flavors that should be more forceful, especially on the midpalate. Spice, red fruit, and chocolate are all present but lack the “oomph!” and length some of the better Wood Finishing releases exhibit.

Finish

While I found the palate dialed back on flavor potency, the finish is long, with much more depth. Derby pie brings both chocolate and a slightly nutty characteristic, altogether richer and fattier than how the bourbon sat on the tongue.

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Rating

85/100

Recap

I quite liked the nose and finish on Maker’s Mark The Heart. In comparison, the palate came up short for me, even after multiple tasting sessions. It’s still a tasty-enough pour I’d be happy to revisit down the line. But Maker’s Mark has set a high bar for itself with a generally affordable, obtainable, and delicious run of Wood Finishing Series bourbons. Though it certainly has composure and balance, this latest entry felt like a small step backward when it comes to the overall impact of flavor; it’s as if the additional finishing mellowed the final product a tick too far.

I give a big tip of my hat to Maker’s for avoiding the all-too-common pitfall of similitude in a lineup where variance is a hallmark. No two Wood Finishing Series releases are ever the same. As a reviewer and bourbon geek, that always keeps things interesting.

*Photo by Gabrielle Johnson

85
POINTS
Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Review
The Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series is back for 2024, this time with a new-look bottle and label combo more similar to its traditional core offerings. The brand calls it a “second chapter” for the Wood Finishing Series, with the next five releases collectively referred to as “Unsung Heroes” in commemoration of various company teams and their contributions to Maker’s Mark bourbon. The first of that five expression run is called “The Heart,” named after “distillery team members who put their hearts into crafting this fruit-forward expression.” On a recent virtual tasting with members of the blending and distilling teams, distillery reps described how the release was crafted from their “collective taste vision.” Traditional, cask-strength Maker’s Mark was finished for between five and nine weeks with two types of French oak staves. The finishing barrels each contained 10 of one type of stave, and the final product is an equal blend of bourbon from both finishing types. According to the brand’s website, this release is bottled at cask strength, generally between 107 and 114 proof depending on the specific batch. The bottle we sampled clocked in at 111.7 proof. Like all Maker’s Mark bourbon, it’s distilled from a mash bill of 70 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, and 14 percent malted barley. Let’s see how it tastes!

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart: Stats and Availability

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart carries a suggested retail price of around $75. It’s a limited release in that this specific stave finishing profile will only be used once in the series. However, like most of its predecessors, this bottle should be relatively easy for fans to find across the United States. It’s also available in limited quantities through retail partners online. As of this writing, I’ve seen a few markups going as high as $100. However, given the wide distribution and historic availability of this series, I’d expect the bottle to settle within $10 of MSRP in most markets.

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Review

As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.

Nose

Semi-sweet baking chocolate starts things off on the nose, the toasted wood eliciting a much heavier-than-normal cocoa element, at least compared to the standard Maker’s Mark profile. Wood sugars, light caramel, and sweetened whipped cream are up next, the chocolate — one might assume bolstered by at least one set of finishing staves — gradually fading more into the background as aromas from the base spirit take over. There’s also a tiny (but perceptible) note of freshly brewed espresso, which combined with the caramel and whipped cream evokes something akin to a Frappuccino. I was expecting fruit earlier on, and though the bourbon takes its time, stone fruit including apricot and overripe peach eventually found their way out of the glass. If I have one small critique of the nose thus far, it’s a desire for more fruit (and earlier on). Overall, The Heart noses a bit below the 111.7 proof I sampled it at; it’s noticeably restrained when nosed against regular Maker’s Mark Cask Strength at a similar proof. Spice is present (nutmeg especially) but dialed back. Ah, the impact and alchemy of additional aging and wood!

Taste

At first taste, the chocolate is sweeter than on the nose, closer to milk chocolate or chocolate syrup than the aforementioned, lightly bitter baking chocolate. Sweetness takes a few forms across the tongue, fusing with a baking spice character to bring a warm cinnamon roll (notably without icing, the sweet notes not quite leaning into a vanilla, saccharine quality). For its proof, especially, this is a subtle bourbon, even after a few sips; I’d recommend patience and letting the components build with time. I found a couple quick tastes aren’t enough to let that cinnamon roll flavor really accumulate. A little stewed apricot lingers below the surface, again hitting the palate to a significant degree only after a few minutes. Compared to other releases in the Maker’s Wood Finishing Series, The Heart’s mouthfeel is on the thinner side, which hobbles some of the flavors that should be more forceful, especially on the midpalate. Spice, red fruit, and chocolate are all present but lack the “oomph!” and length some of the better Wood Finishing releases exhibit.

Finish

While I found the palate dialed back on flavor potency, the finish is long, with much more depth. Derby pie brings both chocolate and a slightly nutty characteristic, altogether richer and fattier than how the bourbon sat on the tongue.

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Rating

85/100

Recap

I quite liked the nose and finish on Maker’s Mark The Heart. In comparison, the palate came up short for me, even after multiple tasting sessions. It’s still a tasty-enough pour I’d be happy to revisit down the line. But Maker’s Mark has set a high bar for itself with a generally affordable, obtainable, and delicious run of Wood Finishing Series bourbons. Though it certainly has composure and balance, this latest entry felt like a small step backward when it comes to the overall impact of flavor; it’s as if the additional finishing mellowed the final product a tick too far. I give a big tip of my hat to Maker’s for avoiding the all-too-common pitfall of similitude in a lineup where variance is a hallmark. No two Wood Finishing Series releases are ever the same. As a reviewer and bourbon geek, that always keeps things interesting. *Photo by Gabrielle Johnson

Reviewed On: 07-09-2024
85
POINTS
Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Review
The Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series is back for 2024, this time with a new-look bottle and label combo more similar to its traditional core offerings. The brand calls it a “second chapter” for the Wood Finishing Series, with the next five releases collectively referred to as “Unsung Heroes” in commemoration of various company teams and their contributions to Maker’s Mark bourbon. The first of that five expression run is called “The Heart,” named after “distillery team members who put their hearts into crafting this fruit-forward expression.” On a recent virtual tasting with members of the blending and distilling teams, distillery reps described how the release was crafted from their “collective taste vision.” Traditional, cask-strength Maker’s Mark was finished for between five and nine weeks with two types of French oak staves. The finishing barrels each contained 10 of one type of stave, and the final product is an equal blend of bourbon from both finishing types. According to the brand’s website, this release is bottled at cask strength, generally between 107 and 114 proof depending on the specific batch. The bottle we sampled clocked in at 111.7 proof. Like all Maker’s Mark bourbon, it’s distilled from a mash bill of 70 percent corn, 16 percent wheat, and 14 percent malted barley. Let’s see how it tastes!

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart: Stats and Availability

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart carries a suggested retail price of around $75. It’s a limited release in that this specific stave finishing profile will only be used once in the series. However, like most of its predecessors, this bottle should be relatively easy for fans to find across the United States. It’s also available in limited quantities through retail partners online. As of this writing, I’ve seen a few markups going as high as $100. However, given the wide distribution and historic availability of this series, I’d expect the bottle to settle within $10 of MSRP in most markets.

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Review

As with all of VinePair’s whiskey reviews, this was tasted in a Glencairn glass and rested for at least five minutes.

Nose

Semi-sweet baking chocolate starts things off on the nose, the toasted wood eliciting a much heavier-than-normal cocoa element, at least compared to the standard Maker’s Mark profile. Wood sugars, light caramel, and sweetened whipped cream are up next, the chocolate — one might assume bolstered by at least one set of finishing staves — gradually fading more into the background as aromas from the base spirit take over. There’s also a tiny (but perceptible) note of freshly brewed espresso, which combined with the caramel and whipped cream evokes something akin to a Frappuccino. I was expecting fruit earlier on, and though the bourbon takes its time, stone fruit including apricot and overripe peach eventually found their way out of the glass. If I have one small critique of the nose thus far, it’s a desire for more fruit (and earlier on). Overall, The Heart noses a bit below the 111.7 proof I sampled it at; it’s noticeably restrained when nosed against regular Maker’s Mark Cask Strength at a similar proof. Spice is present (nutmeg especially) but dialed back. Ah, the impact and alchemy of additional aging and wood!

Taste

At first taste, the chocolate is sweeter than on the nose, closer to milk chocolate or chocolate syrup than the aforementioned, lightly bitter baking chocolate. Sweetness takes a few forms across the tongue, fusing with a baking spice character to bring a warm cinnamon roll (notably without icing, the sweet notes not quite leaning into a vanilla, saccharine quality). For its proof, especially, this is a subtle bourbon, even after a few sips; I’d recommend patience and letting the components build with time. I found a couple quick tastes aren’t enough to let that cinnamon roll flavor really accumulate. A little stewed apricot lingers below the surface, again hitting the palate to a significant degree only after a few minutes. Compared to other releases in the Maker’s Wood Finishing Series, The Heart’s mouthfeel is on the thinner side, which hobbles some of the flavors that should be more forceful, especially on the midpalate. Spice, red fruit, and chocolate are all present but lack the “oomph!” and length some of the better Wood Finishing releases exhibit.

Finish

While I found the palate dialed back on flavor potency, the finish is long, with much more depth. Derby pie brings both chocolate and a slightly nutty characteristic, altogether richer and fattier than how the bourbon sat on the tongue.

Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series The Heart Rating

85/100

Recap

I quite liked the nose and finish on Maker’s Mark The Heart. In comparison, the palate came up short for me, even after multiple tasting sessions. It’s still a tasty-enough pour I’d be happy to revisit down the line. But Maker’s Mark has set a high bar for itself with a generally affordable, obtainable, and delicious run of Wood Finishing Series bourbons. Though it certainly has composure and balance, this latest entry felt like a small step backward when it comes to the overall impact of flavor; it’s as if the additional finishing mellowed the final product a tick too far. I give a big tip of my hat to Maker’s for avoiding the all-too-common pitfall of similitude in a lineup where variance is a hallmark. No two Wood Finishing Series releases are ever the same. As a reviewer and bourbon geek, that always keeps things interesting. *Photo by Gabrielle Johnson

Reviewed On: 07-09-2024