Maker’s Mark Brings Its Wood Finished Series to an End With BEP

It's the fifth installment in a well-received series

Maker's Mark
That's a lot of experimental bourbon.
Maker's Mark

Over the last few years, bourbon aficionados have sung the praises of Maker’s Mark’s Wood Finished Series. InsideHook hailed the series’s 2020 release as “excellent,” and the ensuing years have seen a number of additional limited-release bourbons. The 2023 edition hearkens back to a very specific moment in the spirit’s history — but there’s a bittersweet tinge to it, as it will also be bringing this particular series to an end.

The 2023 installment in the Wood Finished series is known as BEP — an allusion to the whiskey’s barrel entry proof. It also alludes to a moment in the distillery’s history — the moment in 1962 when distilleries were permitted to raise the barrel entry proof to 125. Maker’s Mark kept theirs at 110. As spirits writer Fred Minnick explained in a 2017 article, the amount of water added to reach a certain barrel entry proof can have an impact on the taste of the finished whiskey.

In an article at the Louisville Courier Journal, Maggie Menderski ventured more deeply into the genesis of BEP. Menderski spoke with Beth Buckner, the distillery’s senior manager of innovation and blending. Buckner argued that the lower proof helped achieve some of the more intriguing flavors for this release. Or, as Buckner phrased it, “Going in at 110 really allows us to get access to those vanillas those caramels, those baking spices and the tannins but in a really well-balanced way.”

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BEP is the last installment of the Wood Finishing Series, but it’s far from the end of Maker’s Mark experimenting with different methods. Buckner told the Courier Journal that another project with a similar scale was being looked into. Good news for bourbon drinkers looking to explore the nuances of flavor.


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