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Bulleit Bourbon vs Maker’s Mark (2022 Updated)

Last Updated on June 15, 2022 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 

Maker's Mark & Bulleit Bourbon Compared 

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 

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. 

History

History

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. 

Mashbills

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. 

Ownership

Ownership

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. 

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. 

Distillation Process

Distillation Process

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. 

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. 

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. 

And the Winner is… 

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!

Reference:

  1. https://www.cnbc.com/2015/06/04/5-rules-that-make-it-bourbon.html
  2. https://www.timeout.com/newyork/bars/things-you-never-realized-about-bourbon-whiskey

8 thoughts on “Bulleit Bourbon vs Maker’s Mark (2022 Updated)”

  1. I agree! Having tried both, I much prefer Maker’s Mark over Bulleit. The former is sweeter and smoother, while latter is more astringent and bitter.

    Reply
  2. I prefer the sweeter taste of Makers but I also enjoy a wee splash of Bulliet now and then. My favorite has been Woodford for some time now. Nicely done article, I will look forward to your next.

    Reply
  3. I’m going to have to disagree on this one. I have tried to make Makers Mark a staple in my cabinet many times. I’m just not a fan. Obviously this is a matter of personal taste and preference and I do like the spicier bourbons. I’m a big fan of Knob Creek and it’s sweeter, but it does have rye. I’ve been been a huge fan of wheates bourbon but even as far as those go Makers Mark isn’t even the top of my personal list, I personally pick Woodford Reserve and then Larceny over Maker’s when I want a smoother bourbon.

    Reply

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