This year’s limited offering differs from its 2019 predecessor by using two stave styles — one drawing on vanilla, the other on caramel. When married together these yield a “rich Maker’s Mark reminiscent of butter pecan,” the company says.
The multi-stave approach was the result of more than twelve months of experimentation with Maker’s Mark barrel producer, Independent Stave Company. The first stave in the 2020 Limited Release, SE4, is made from virgin French oak, convection cooked at medium heat with a short toast period. It’s responsible for much of the caramel flavor. The second stave, PR5, is made from virgin American oak, convection cooked at low heat slowly over time to bring out vanilla.
As with Maker’s Mark 46 and Maker’s Mark Private Selection, the 2020 Limited Release was made by finishing fully matured, cask-strength Maker’s Mark in secondary barrels containing the proprietary wood staves. The barrels rested in Maker’s Mark’s limestone bourbon cellar, before mixing together to develop the expression’s flavor.