Maker’s Mark: ‘from barrel to bar’ at 34° North Restaurant
The Beaufort Hotel, an Ascend Hotel Collection Member, has partnered with Maker’s Mark to create its own bourbon. One of only a handful of locations to feature a custom barrel, the hotel’s 34° North Restaurant will be a first for the Crystal Coast.
The one-of-a-kind bourbon is the product of a custom finishing process applied to the legendary Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Members of the Beaufort Hotel’s management team traveled to Lorreto, Kentucky, to partner with master distillers at Maker’s.
The process included the selection a specific combination of five types of wood staves – each highlighting different flavor notes found in the Maker’s taste profile. Once selected, the staves were placed into their own barrel of fully matured Maker’s for an additional nine weeks of flavor development.
While all bourbons are whisky, not all whiskies are bourbon.
Whisky, by definition, is a spirit distilled from a fermented grain mash and aged in wooden barrels. Grains most often used are rye, wheat, barley and corn. Bourbon, by U.S. law (Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits) must be made from a mash that is at least 51 percent corn and aged in charred oak barrels.
Customers that get to create their own blend are asked to sample a version of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength that has been made using these unique staves. Each sample contained Bourbon that went through a finishing process for a year with 10 of the unique flavor amplifying staves inside of their barrel. The proof for most of these expressions is around 110.
The management team was able to build their own unique expression of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, by adding any combination of these 10 unique staves to their barrel. They created their own blends from tasting the five samples, so they get a very close idea of what their barrel will taste like.
The samples are done by creating 100 milliliter (ml) samples. Since there will be ten staves inserted into each barrel, every 10ml added from a particular sample will account for one unique stave.
The management team was encouraged to build and sample several of their custom blends until they were able to zero in on the blend they prefered the most.
Once a combination of staves was decided on, the group was then taken into a different part of the distillery so they could actually insert the staves themselves. A freshly dumped barrel of Maker’s Mark was opened and the staves were then be placed in the barrel right there.
The Beaufort team and their barrel are then escorted to another room where a tank of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength was waiting. The barrel was then filled with the Cask Strength and then ceremonially placed in a warehouse where it will rested for around 9 weeks.
Just like their regular Cask Strength and Maker’s 46 Cask Strength, the barrel from the Maker’s Mark Private Select program underwent a very light filtration process that focused on mainly removing only the char residue from the barrel.