Maker's Mark Distillery
Kentucky is home to 20 bourbon distilleries making over 200 different brands. When we plotted out our path heading north we sadly knew we don’t have time for them all. Hopefully some day we will return to get more, but for now we chose one which was on our path and happened to be a favorite or ours and a good friend’s. The Maker’s Mark Distillery is definitely a must do. The tour not only provided knowledge of Maker’s Mark’s history and heritage, but education on bourbon and the different tastes.
Not only does Maker’s Mark provide a military discount for the tour they give you an awesome patch too. The distillery in Loreto, KY is where ALL of the Maker’s Mark you see on the shelves in your local stores is made.They use 12 foot by 12 foot vats that dates back to the 1800’s! We got to tour the original warehouse which has electricity for tour purposes but the others (7 floor ones) have zero electricity due to the fire hazard. They still move the 500 + pound barrels by hand, rotating them throughout the floors of the warehouses to ensure each barrel tastes the same as the others.
To determine if a barrel is ready a Master Distiller and expert tasting panel tastes every barrel to be positive the age, climate and other aspects which affect the taste of bourbon have come together to make a bourbon worthy of the Maker’s Mark label. Speaking of labels – each label is still printed on their 1935 Chandler & Price printing press. If you take a tour you even get to take a label home with you.
Margie Samuels, wife of the creator of MM, wanted their bottles to standout on the shelves. She had the brilliant idea to dip the tops of the bottles in wax she melted in her frying pan! Today every bottle of MM is still hand dipped in 400 degree red wax by a team of dippers. Each bottle is unique due to the signature red wax drips (also known as tendrils) that give each bottle an exclusive flourish. If you visit the distillery, and purchase a bottle of MM you can also express your style by dipping your own bottle. We can speak from experience that the dippers we saw on the tour made it look much easier to get that “perfect drip” look.
We had a great time touring Maker’s Mark – hearing their story, walking through the distillery, the label shop and the bottling room and then getting to taste their products. To say we left there as bigger fans than before would be an understatement.