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Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon Review (2024 Edition)

Maker's Mark Cask Strength Review

Last Updated on March 16, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Maker’s Mark wheated bourbons are well known for their smoothness and richness, but do you know that you can taste their purest form with Maker’s Cask Strength? 

Here’s our honest take on Maker’s Mark Cask Strength review. Read on. 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon In-Depth Review 

Bottle of Maker's Mark Cask Strength

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength bourbon is non-chill filtered bottled at barrel proof which ranges from 108 to 114 depending on the barrel batch. 

Bourbon lovers find the regular Maker’s Mark smooth and sweet because it contains red winter wheat instead of rye. 

The sweet bourbon flavors are present in every sip, but it has more pronounced oak, caramel, spice, and vanilla, which are the brand’s signature flavors. 

Quick Facts 

DistilleryMaker’s Mark Distillery
Classification & RegionBourbon, Kentucky
Alcohol Proof108 – 104 (Depending on the barrel)
Mash Bill70% corn, 16% red winter wheat, 14% malted barley
Age StatementNo Age Statement 
ColorBeautiful red amber
Rating3 Stars 
Average PriceRoughly $51.99 (Drizly) 

What’s Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon Whisky?

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is the purest form of Maker’s Mark. It is a wheated bourbon whiskey with surprisingly smooth and flavorful tasting notes.

It boasts a complex flavor profile and a decent amount of alcohol burn while amping up the rich oak and vanilla notes of the whiskey. 

“My go-to for a high value [and] high proof is always Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. While some may think Maker’s is too sweet, those feelings are tempered by the heat of this 113-proof bourbon.” 

– Clay Reynolds, Beverage Director

The alcohol proof depends on the barrel but ranges from 108-114 proof (54% – 57% ABV). 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength has higher proof than the original Maker’s Mark because it is bottled without water dilution after aging in oak barrels [1]. 

Tasting Notes 


As we opened the bottle, the pleasant and light aroma of baked cinnamon, brown sugar, oak, vanilla, dark cherry, candied almonds, and chocolate greeted the nose on our first sniff. 

Breathing deep, we noticed the wallop of alcohol burn, which sets it apart from the 90-proof Maker’s Mark.

The combination of honey, maple syrup, and brown sugar screams pecan pie, and the scent is very prominent as it stays in the Glencairn glasses. 


The warm and soft vanilla and caramel greet the palate and throat with a slight oak woodiness overshadowed by orange blossom honey and sweet caramel corn. 

The baking spices of nutmeg and cinnamon tickle our taste buds with the right balance of sweetness and almond slivers. 

The mouthfeel is excellent, not mouth coating and oily. In addition, it has a pleasant warmth and heat that will make you want another glass. 


Maker’s Mark Cask Strength has a fruity, spicy, and long finish. The complex flavors of the bourbon whiskey [2] linger with a nice hint of sweetness. 

Expect the sour note and spice to subside and leave lasting bitterness and barrel char notes. 

Our Thoughts 

First Sip

On the first sip, the Maker’s Mark Cask Strength bursts with a flavor of spice on the front palate and excellent heat and vanilla at the mid-palate. 

The chocolate, cherry cola, and citrus element with strong alcohol presence makes it more enjoyable to sip.

The aftertaste is less sweet than we expected (which is not a bad thing).  

Second Chance

On our second try, we intentionally left the bourbon in our mouth for about seven seconds, and it developed different flavors of cherry, cinnamon, herbal, orange, corn, and honey. 

It has a moderate brown sugar sweetness and some sweet caramel spice. It is sweet and savory from the corn but is slightly sour from the fermentation. 

Why We Like It

Maker's Mark Cask Strength Bottle on a Table
  • It bursts with complex flavors from sweet to spicy and sour. 
  • It has a soft flavor profile but is packed with a nice punch.
  • It has a competitive price for its flavor profile. 


  • You may need to experiment with the water level to bring out other pleasant notes (nose and palate) from the bottle. 
  • Its alcohol proof is on the low side for a barrel-proof whiskey. 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Bourbon Rating 

We will give Maker’s Mark Cask Strength a solid three stars. It is guaranteed a daily sipper, easy to find, and versatile especially compared to their flagship whiskey. 

It has an excellent flavor profile that you can enjoy straight and with a splash of water, but it can also stand out in cocktails. 

In addition, it is an easily accessible and affordable barrel-proof bourbon on the market, so it’s a steal. 

Do We Recommend It? 

Close Up Shot of Maker's Mark Cask Strength Bottle

We absolutely recommend Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, especially to those who enjoy the regular Maker’s Mark, as it is a total upgrade. 

It has the right balance of sweetness, and with more proof and flavor, the brand goes a long way in correcting what is lacking in its flagship bourbon. 

If you are interested in exploring other cask-strength bourbons, some alternatives to the bourbon are the following:

  • Rebel Cask Strength 
  • WL Weller Full Proof
  • Angel’s Envy Cask Strength

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do you add water to Maker’s Mark Cask Strength?

Adding water to Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is a personal preference and largely depends on individual taste preferences and desired strength of the drink.

Some whiskey enthusiasts prefer to add a splash of water to cask strength whiskeys to help open up the flavors and aromas, while others enjoy savoring it neat, allowing the full intensity of the spirit to shine through.

Experimentation with water additions can be a fun way to explore the complexities of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and tailor the drinking experience to your liking.

How long is Maker’s Mark Cask Strength aged?

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength undergoes a similar aging process to the standard Maker’s Mark bourbon, which involves aging the whiskey in new charred oak barrels.

While the exact duration of aging can vary slightly from batch to batch, Maker’s Mark typically ages its whiskey for around 6 to 7 years before bottling.

This aging process allows the whiskey to develop its unique flavors and characteristics, resulting in a rich and robust spirit that is a hallmark of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength.

How do you drink Maker’s Mark Cask Strength?

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength can be enjoyed in various ways, depending on personal preference and taste. One popular method is to drink it neat, allowing the full intensity and complexity of the whiskey to be experienced without any dilution.

Sipping it slowly allows you to savor the rich flavors and aromas that develop on the palate. Alternatively, some whiskey enthusiasts prefer to add a splash of water or ice to their Maker’s Mark Cask Strength to slightly lower the proof and mellow out the flavors. This can help to open up the whiskey and reveal additional nuances in its profile.

Ultimately, the choice of how to drink Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is up to the individual, and experimenting with different serving methods can enhance the overall drinking experience.

Is Maker’s Mark Cask Strength good?

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength has garnered acclaim from whiskey enthusiasts and critics alike for its bold flavors, smoothness, and high quality. Its higher proof compared to the standard Maker’s Mark bourbon lends it a robust character that appeals to those who enjoy stronger spirits.

The aging process in new charred oak barrels imparts rich flavors of caramel, vanilla, oak, and spice, creating a complex and satisfying drinking experience. Whether enjoyed neat or with a splash of water, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength offers a premium whiskey experience that is sure to delight even the most discerning palates.

Overall, the consensus is that Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is indeed a stellar expression of bourbon craftsmanship and is well worth savoring.

What is Maker’s Mark 46 cask strength rating?

Maker’s Mark 46 is not a cask strength whiskey; it is a unique expression crafted by finishing Maker’s Mark bourbon in barrels containing seared French oak staves, imparting rich flavors of caramel, vanilla, and spice, earning high ratings and acclaim from whiskey enthusiasts and critics alike for its exceptional quality and complexity.

Why is cask strength more expensive?

Cask strength whiskey tends to be more expensive due to several factors, including its higher alcohol content straight from the barrel, which requires less dilution and offers a more intense flavor profile; its limited production quantities and unique characteristics, often resulting in higher demand and scarcity; and additional costs associated with handling and bottling a higher-proof spirit, ultimately contributing to its premium price point.

Why is cask strength better?

Cask strength whiskey is often considered better by aficionados due to its undiluted nature straight from the barrel, allowing drinkers to experience the full intensity and complexity of the spirit’s flavors and aromas; its flexibility in serving, as drinkers can choose to enjoy it neat, with water, or over ice, tailoring the experience to their preferences; and its potential for aging and evolving in the bottle, offering a dynamic and rewarding drinking experience over time.

Is cask strength whisky more expensive?

Yes, cask strength whiskey typically commands a higher price compared to its lower-proof counterparts due to factors such as its higher alcohol content, limited production quantities, unique characteristics, and additional costs associated with handling and bottling a higher-proof spirit, making it a premium option for whiskey enthusiasts seeking a more intense and complex drinking experience.

How strong is cask strength whisky?

Cask strength whisky typically ranges in alcohol by volume (ABV) from around 50% to 65% or higher, significantly stronger than the standard bottlings, as it is bottled directly from the barrel without any dilution, preserving its intense flavors and aromas straight from the aging cask.

What is the difference between a barrel and a cask?

While the terms “barrel” and “cask” are often used interchangeably, there are nuanced differences; a barrel typically refers to a cylindrical container used for aging and storing whiskey, usually made of oak and often associated with American whiskey production, whereas a cask is a broader term encompassing various types of wooden containers used for aging and storing spirits, including barrels, butts, puncheons, and hogsheads, often associated with Scotch whisky production.

Should I add water to cask strength whisky?

Whether to add water to cask strength whisky is a matter of personal preference, as doing so can help unlock additional flavors and aromas by diluting the spirit slightly, making it more approachable and allowing drinkers to better appreciate its complexity, but ultimately, the decision to add water should be based on individual taste preferences and desired drinking experience.

Can you drink cask strength neat?

Yes, cask strength whisky can be enjoyed neat, straight from the bottle without any dilution, allowing drinkers to experience the full intensity and complexity of the spirit’s flavors and aromas, though it’s recommended to sip it slowly to fully appreciate its nuances and to avoid overwhelming the palate with its higher alcohol content, making it a preferred choice for whiskey enthusiasts seeking a bold and robust drinking experience.

Is Maker’s Mark cheap whiskey?

No, Maker’s Mark is not considered a cheap whiskey; it is a well-regarded bourbon known for its quality and craftsmanship, with a price point reflecting its premium status in the whiskey market, appealing to discerning drinkers seeking a refined and flavorful spirit.

Which cask is best for whiskey?

The choice of cask for aging whiskey depends on various factors, including the desired flavor profile, the type of wood used, and the previous contents of the cask.

Popular options include oak barrels, which impart rich flavors of vanilla, caramel, and spice, and sherry casks, which can contribute fruity and nutty notes, ultimately, the “best” cask is subjective and varies depending on individual taste preferences and the desired characteristics of the whiskey being produced.

Is Maker’s Mark a premium whiskey?

Yes, Maker’s Mark is considered a premium whiskey, renowned for its high-quality ingredients, traditional production methods, and signature flavor profile, earning accolades and recognition from whiskey enthusiasts and critics alike as a benchmark bourbon in the premium spirits category, making it a favored choice for those seeking a refined and satisfying drinking experience.

Is it worth buying a cask of whisky?

Whether buying a cask of whisky is worth it depends on several factors, including individual preferences, budget, and intended use; while purchasing a cask offers the opportunity to personalize the aging process and potentially yield a unique and exceptional whisky tailored to one’s taste, it also requires a significant financial investment, patience for the aging process, and consideration of storage logistics, making it a decision best suited for serious whisky enthusiasts and collectors with the means and dedication to appreciate the long-term rewards of owning a cask.

Why is cask beer cheaper?

Cask beer is often cheaper than its counterparts due to several factors. Firstly, cask beer typically undergoes a simpler production process compared to keg or bottled beer. The absence of additional packaging, such as bottles or cans, reduces manufacturing costs.

Additionally, cask beer is often served directly from the cask without the need for expensive dispensing equipment, further lowering overheads for breweries. Furthermore, cask beer tends to have a shorter shelf life compared to other forms of beer, prompting breweries to sell it more quickly, thus reducing storage costs and potential losses due to spoilage.

Moreover, cask beer’s traditional association with pubs and local breweries often means it is produced and distributed on a smaller scale, reducing transportation costs and allowing for more competitive pricing. Overall, these factors contribute to cask beer’s reputation as a cost-effective option for both breweries and consumers.

What is the difference between cask strength and barrel strength?

The terms “cask strength” and “barrel strength” are often used interchangeably, but they do have subtle differences. Cask strength typically refers to the undiluted, high-proof spirit directly from the cask, without any additional water added to reduce its potency.

This means that the alcohol content of the spirit is exactly as it was when it finished aging. On the other hand, barrel strength generally refers to whiskey that has been bottled directly from the barrel at its natural proof, but it may undergo minimal dilution to reach a specific target proof determined by the distiller.

Essentially, both terms signify a potent, unadulterated spirit straight from the aging vessel, but cask strength implies no dilution whatsoever, while barrel strength may involve slight adjustments for consistency or flavor profile.

Is cask or keg better?

The preference between cask and keg often depends on personal taste, context, and the specific characteristics desired in the beer. Cask beer is known for its traditional, artisanal qualities, offering a more nuanced and often softer carbonation compared to keg beer. This can lead to a smoother mouthfeel and enhanced flavors, particularly in styles such as ales and stouts.

Cask beer is also typically served at a slightly higher temperature than keg beer, allowing for the expression of more complex aromas and flavors. Conversely, keg beer is prized for its consistency, longer shelf life, and ability to withstand higher levels of carbonation, making it well-suited for highly effervescent styles like lagers and pilsners.

Additionally, kegs offer greater convenience in terms of storage, transportation, and dispensing, making them a preferred choice for many commercial establishments. Ultimately, the choice between cask and keg boils down to individual preferences, the desired drinking experience, and the specific characteristics of the beer being served.

Final Verdict: Maker’s Mark Cask Strength Review

If you want to taste the purest form of bourbon, cask strength hails from premium ranges, and while a handful of brands in the market introduce their version, Maker’s Mark did a great job with their own. 

Maker’s Mark Cask Strength is well-balanced bourbon whiskey packed with strong, rich, and fully complex flavors.  


  1. The Effects of Aging on Liquor
  2. Bourbon whiskey distilled spirit
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