Score: 9.2 / 10
Distillery: Maker's Mark Distillery
Type: Kentucky Straight Wheated Bourbon
I was very excited when I saw the label confirmation for Maker's Mark's FAE-01, the 3rd release in their Wood Finishing Series. I was blown away by the 1st release RC6 and the 2nd release SE4xPR5 (I know, doesn't quite roll off the tongue) lived up to the hype.
I was at the Maker's Mark distillery in Loretto Kentucky in November of 2020 for their tour. We sampled some standard Maker's, Maker's 46 and the SE4xPR5. While we were sampling I jokingly asked if we could get a pour of the FAE-01 and the tour guide looked at my quizzically and said, "how the hell do you even know about that? Five months later and it finally hits shelves in my state.
Enter the FAE-01 which Maker's boasts flavors of fruit and tobacco (insert you had my attention, but now you have my curiosity meme). This 2021 limited release comes in at 110.6 proof/55.3% alc/vol and is finished with 10 Virgin Toasted American Oak Staves.
Nose: Packed with plum, raisin and a decadent floral note as if lavender meets Crème Brûlée. Deeper in the glass I find an inviting wheat scent like standing in an open field, along with notes of freshly packed pipe tobacco that intermingle with rich vanilla cream and caramel. Seared oak and espresso emerge from behind more salient scents.
Palate: Oily, semi-viscous and leathery on the mouthfeel. On the front end a quick luge of sugary vanilla instantly explodes into fruit punch bringing apples, cherries, mixed berries, orange, pineapple and papaya. On the back-end a fantastic effervescent spice ramps up quickly but doesn't overwhelm. This brings potent seared wood and black pepper spice. The two sides of the palate perfectly embody the sweet & heat drinking experience that I look for in wheated bourbons.
Finish: Luscious pipe tobacco steals the show and slowly fades into lavender and papaya. A light ember of spice crackles on the center of the tongue and tannic pits form on the sides of the mouth. Teeth and gums tingle slightly with a touch of citrus and oak. Thoroughly long lasting and crave-able.
S+ Sensational - The Pinnacle (9.5+)
A - AXEceptional (astounding) (9-9.5)
B - bravo (step aBove average) (8-8.9)
C - competent (7-7.9)
D - disappointing (6-6.9)
F - flush it down the toilet (fail) (5.9 below)
Availability? Rare. Also, being a Limited release once this one is gone, that it! I recommend you pick this up anywhere you see it while it lasts.