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Bulleit Bourbon vs Maker’s Mark (2024 Updated)

Bulleit Bourbon vs Maker's Mark

Last Updated on April 13, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Maker’s Mark and Bulleit bourbon are two premium brands of bourbon that continuously grow to this day.

The wheated and high rye bourbon has been creating debate on the internet on what’s the better bourbon. 

To end the battle, here’s the comprehensive comparison between Bulleit bourbon vs Maker’s Mark. 

Maker’s Mark & Bulleit Bourbon Compared 

Who's gonna win? bulleit bourbon vs maker's mark

Maker’s Mark and Bulleit bourbon are two iconic distilled spirit brands that began in the 1900s, and until today, it continues to spur growth.

You can easily recognize the difference between the two spirits based on bourbon aficionados because it has a distinct label and bottle. 

Both spirits are great bourbon whiskey, double distilled, and family-owned, but that’s where their similarities end.

The two brands have a notable difference in tasting notes, history, mash bills, ownership, production process, and price point. 

Let’s Take A Closer Look 

Let's Take A Closer Look, bulleit bourbon vs maker's mark

Tasting Notes

Bulleit bourbon nose has a bold aroma of wood, caramel, vanilla, spicy rye notes, and honey.

When you sip it neat, it has a buttery mouthfeel on the palate, and it has subtle hints of maple syrup and butterscotch.

Also, Bulleit Bourbon nose has a lingering almond finish, baking spices, and vanilla and is slightly spicy, like Woodford Reserve and Wild Turkey. 

On the other hand, the sweet-tasting notes of Maker’s Mark are remarkable because they contain charred oak, honey, and cherry aromas.

You can taste maple syrup, sweet honey, and almond flavors. Moreso, it has a long finish of clove, chocolate, and maraschino cherry-like other wheated bourbons. 

Read: Top Bulleit Bourbons


A glass of bourbon, bulleit bourbon vs maker's mark

Bulleit and Maker’s Mark are family-owned; however, the two bourbon distillers have different histories.

Thomas Bulleit Jr., the founder of the Bulleit (Four Roses whiskey veteran), created the alcohol brand to honor his great-great-grandfather Augustus Bulleit.

He is a high-rye whiskey distiller in the 1830s and mysteriously disappeared on his journey from Kentucky to New Orleans.

It was introduced in 1987, and for almost 35 years, it kept on producing premium frontier whiskey. 

For more than 68 years, Maker’s Mark bourbon has established a great reputation and expertise in creating whiskey.

Maker’s Mark straight bourbon whiskey started its journey in 1954. it has been a family affair that started with Billy Samuels, Sr., and his wife, Margie Samuels, responsible for the wax seal packaging. 

Read: Mixed Drinks With Maker’s Mark Bourbon


To be considered bourbon whiskeys, the mash bill must contain at least 51% corn [1], and since both exceeded the minimum, they can be legally called bourbon.

Bulleit bourbon contains 68% corn, 4% malted barley, and 28% rye, and since it has high rye content, the mash bill recipe gives the whiskey a rich, spicy note on the palate. 

On the other hand, Maker’s Mark contains 70% corn, 14% malted barley, and 16% soft red winter wheat.

Rye grain in the recipe is replaced with the winter wheat mash to remove the spicy bite of bourbon and produce sweet whiskeys. Compare Maker’s Mark bourbon and Knob Creek here


Diageo, bulleit bourbon vs maker's mark

Bulleit and Maker’s Mark are owned by different global supply chains and large spirit producers. Diageo owns the Bulleit brand, and it is a large spirit producer with almost 200 brands. 

On the contrary, Beam Suntory owns Maker’s Mark, and it is the 15th largest alcoholic beverages company. It is a subsidiary of Suntory, which is a Tokyo-based company. 

Read: Bulleit Bourbon vs Buffalo Trace

Maturation Process

Bourbon whiskeys have no aging requirement as long as they’re barrelled correctly [2]. However, straight bourbon should be matured for a minimum of two years, while bottled-in-bond are aged for a minimum of four years.  

For Maker’s Mark, maturation usually takes between six to seven years. Bulleit is aged for six years in charred American oak barrels, which affects the spirit’s flavor profile. 

Read: How Long Is Maker’s Mark Bourbon Aged?

Distillation Process

copper fermentation tanks, bulleit bourbon vs maker's mark

Bulleit is a bold whiskey that undergoes a double distillation process in copper stills to remove the impurities of spirit before being bottled at 90 proof. Bulleit Distillery in Kentucky started in 2017, but before that, the brand acted as a Non-Distiller Producer where they source whiskey, and its distillation process is off-site. 

While Maker’s Mark undergoes the same double distillation process in copper stills, the distillery they use has been the same distillery since 1954- Maker’s Mark Distillery in Kentucky.

They produce spirits on-site and have bottled them at 90 proof since the beginning of Maker’s Mark. 

Read: Bulleit Bourbon & Jim Beam Comparison

Price & Value

Bulleit retails at roughly $36.99 for a 1.75 L bottle, while Maker’s Mark and its remarkable wax seal will set you back around $35.99 for a 1.75 L bottle.

A roughly $1 difference can be a bit trivial, so you can base on the flavor profiles to define which you prefer more. 

If you want a sweet bourbon, go for Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight bourbon whiskey. Try the premium Bulleit, which is expensive by one buck if you want a spicy whiskey. 

Read: Maker’s Mark Bourbon vs Woodford Reserve

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which is smoother, Maker’s Mark or Bulleit?

Maker’s Mark is smoother than Bulleit, thanks to its red winter wheat content.

Instead of rye, Maker’s Mark uses wheat to make it easy to drink and smooth bourbon whiskeys.

It has special smooth-tasting notes that you can sip neat or on the rocks. 

Which is better for sipping neat, Bulleit or Maker’s Mark?

Maker’s Mark is better for sipping neat than Bulleit. The wheated bourbon is delicious to drink neat because it has special notes of vanilla, caramel, and nutmeg pleasing to the palate. 

Which bourbon is better Maker’s Mark or Bulleit?

The preference between Maker’s Mark and Bulleit is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences. Maker’s Mark is known for its smooth and approachable flavor profile, with notes of caramel and vanilla.

Bulleit Bourbon, on the other hand, is recognized for its higher rye content, providing a spicier and bolder taste. Both bourbons have distinct characteristics, and the choice between them often comes down to personal flavor preferences.

Is Makers Mark high-quality bourbon?

Yes, Maker’s Mark is considered a high-quality bourbon. It is well-regarded for its craftsmanship, smoothness, and approachable flavor profile. Maker’s Mark uses a unique production process, including a red winter wheat mash bill, which contributes to its signature sweetness.

The brand has maintained a commitment to producing small batches and hand-dipping each bottle in distinctive red wax, further emphasizing its attention to detail and quality.

Why is Bulleit Bourbon popular?

Bulleit Bourbon has gained popularity for several reasons. Its distinctive high-rye mash bill sets it apart, offering a spicier flavor profile that appeals to those seeking a bolder bourbon experience.

The brand’s unique and recognizable bottle design, along with its commitment to tradition and craftsmanship, has contributed to its popularity.

Additionally, Bulleit Bourbon has received positive reviews and accolades within the whiskey community, further boosting its reputation.

Is Bulleit Bourbon whiskey good?

Bulleit Bourbon is generally well-regarded as a good-quality whiskey. Its higher rye content gives it a distinct and spicy character, contributing to its popularity among bourbon enthusiasts.

The brand has received awards and recognition for its unique flavor profile and craftsmanship, making it a preferred choice for those who enjoy a bolder and more robust bourbon.

What whiskey is better than Maker’s Mark?

Determining a whiskey that is “better” than Maker’s Mark is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences. However, some bourbons that enthusiasts often consider in the same quality tier or even prefer over Maker’s Mark include Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, Four Roses Single Barrel, and Buffalo Trace.

What is better than Maker’s Mark?

Several bourbons are often mentioned as alternatives or preferences to Maker’s Mark based on individual taste preferences. Some bourbons that enthusiasts may consider to be in a similar or elevated category include Woodford Reserve, Knob Creek, Four Roses Single Barrel, and Buffalo Trace. The “better” choice depends on personal flavor preferences and the desired characteristics in a bourbon.

Is Maker’s Mark better than Jack Daniels?

The comparison between Maker’s Mark and Jack Daniel’s is subjective, as they represent different styles of whiskey. Maker’s Mark is a bourbon, known for its smooth and approachable flavor with a higher wheat content in its mash bill.

Jack Daniel’s, on the other hand, is a Tennessee whiskey with a distinctive charcoal mellowing process, resulting in a smoother and slightly sweet profile.

Preferences between the two often come down to personal taste, with some favoring the sweeter notes of Jack Daniel’s or the softer profile of Maker’s Mark.

Why is Maker’s Mark so expensive?

Maker’s Mark is considered a premium bourbon, and its pricing reflects factors such as its handcrafted production methods, quality ingredients, and the brand’s reputation.

Maker’s Mark is known for its distinctive red-wax-sealed bottles, small-batch production, and the use of a red winter wheat mash bill.

These elements contribute to the brand’s identity and are associated with a higher level of craftsmanship, which can justify a higher price point in the market.

Is Bulleit better than Maker’s Mark?

The comparison between Bulleit and Maker’s Mark is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences. Bulleit Bourbon has a higher rye content, offering a spicier and bolder flavor profile, while Maker’s Mark is known for its smooth and approachable taste with a higher wheat content.

Both bourbons have distinct characteristics, and the preference between them often comes down to personal flavor preferences.

Why is Bulleit Bourbon so expensive?

Bulleit Bourbon’s pricing is influenced by several factors. It has gained popularity for its unique high-rye mash bill, distinctive bottle design, and the brand’s commitment to tradition. Additionally, the cost of production, aging, and the overall craftsmanship contribute to the pricing.

Bulleit Bourbon’s reputation for quality and its distinctive flavor profile can make it a premium choice in the market.

Is Bulleit Bourbon better than Jack Daniel’s?

The comparison between Bulleit Bourbon and Jack Daniel’s is subjective and depends on individual taste preferences.

Bulleit Bourbon has a higher rye content, providing a spicier flavor profile, while Jack Daniel’s, a Tennessee whiskey, is known for its smooth and slightly sweet characteristics due to the charcoal mellowing process.

Both have distinct qualities, and the preference between them often comes down to personal taste.

Can you drink Bulleit Bourbon straight?

Yes, Bulleit Bourbon can be enjoyed neat or straight. Its bold and spicy flavor profile, influenced by its higher rye content, makes it suitable for sipping on its own.

The decision to drink bourbon straight or mix it with other ingredients depends on individual preferences and the desired drinking experience.

Many bourbon enthusiasts appreciate the complexities of Bulleit Bourbon when consumed straight or on the rocks.

And the Winner is… Bulleit Bourbon vs Maker’s Mark 

Maker’s Mark is better than Bulleit bourbon. While both bourbons have a fair share of similarities, their differences made Maker’s Mark a better bourbon, whether neat, on the rocks, or as cocktails. 

The two bourbons have different flavors and tasting notes, but the subtle sweetness of Maker’s Mark tastes more fantastic than Bulleit Bourbon. In addition, it has a long, impressive history and a great reputation for creating wheated bourbons.

Are you a new whiskey drinker or an expert? Which do you prefer more, spicy or sweeter bourbons? Let us know by commenting down below!


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