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Maker’s Mark Private Select Signature Bourbon

A Bourbon Like No Other
In October of last year, Maker's Mark Distillery invited Cento and Johnny Delmonico's to participate in their exclusive Private Select program, where we crafted a barrel of bourbon. This custom barrel was filled with fully mature cask strength Maker’s Mark, finished for nine weeks, bottled, then sent to Madison for your (and our) enjoyment while it lasts.

About The Bourbon
Expect rich flavors of oak, spicy vanilla, caramel, coffee, and toasted nut with a lengthy finish in our Maker's Mark Private Select. There's nothing quite like the sublime experience of sipping a cask-strength bourbon, which offers a fuller, richer drinking experience and complex, robust aromas and flavors that are hard to find in lower proof standard bottlings. Regular Maker's Mark is 90 proof; our Private Select is 110 proof (cask-strength), with only 240 bottles made.

Ways to enjoy this signature bourbon
Order a Maker’s Mark Private Select on the rocks, neat, or in a signature cocktail at Johnny Delmonico’s or Cento
Join our Private Select Bottle Program at Johnny Delmonico’s, and reserve a personalized bottle on the back bar to be enjoyed each time you visit
Attend the Beefsteak Dinner at Johnny Delmonico’s on May 4, 2017
Your ticket to this unique event will include a bottle of Maker’s Mark Private Select Cask Strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon


Join the Private Select Program at Johnny Delmonico’s
$150
Limited to 25 bottle memberships

As an owner of one of these exclusive bottles, you will be entitled to members-only benefits.
Enjoy neat pours, rocks pours, or cocktails (Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Highball, Sour, and more) made from your bottle at any time, included in membership price.
Your bottle of Maker’s Mark Private Select will be displayed at the bar at Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse, personalized with a leather tag.
Receive one complimentary appetizer (valued up to $20) paired with your Private Select Cask Strength Maker’s Mark pour. One time use only.

Reserve your own Private Select Cask Strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon or give a membership as a gift. Visit the bar at Johnny Delmonico’s today.


The Private Select Process
Last October, Maker's Mark invited Johnny Delmonico's and Cento to participate in their exclusive Private Select program, and our team traveled to Kentucky. For most single barrel programs, participants simply taste samples from a few different barrels of fully mature, finished bourbons and select the one they'd like bottled for their restaurant. There is no development or manipulation of the bourbon. The Maker's Mark Private Select barrel program is extremely unique because we got to design what our bourbon would taste like. To us, this process was far more appealing than a single barrel program because our stave selections had a huge impact on the final taste of the bourbon. A barrel yields roughly 240 750 ml bottles of bourbon, which were split between Cento and Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse.

The process was quite simple. Taste bourbons finished with many different stave variants, then combine them to craft a unique product, picking which staves would be included in the barrel while finishing for 9 weeks before bottling-- this allowed us to amplify the flavors and textures we wanted.

Oak 101
We were educated about oak staves and where the flavor lives in the wood. We were given summaries on which flavors can be released based on the duration and temperature at which the staves are cooked. We were also educated on the physiological cell structure of oak and what chemical components can be altered when heat is applied to them.

Tasting
Once the Oak 101 class was over, we started tasting. Each of us had a tasting mat with six altered expressions of Maker’s Mark Cask Strength on it. The first taster was the base product-- Maker’s Mark Cask Strength. The other five samples were created by taking Maker’s Mark Cask Strength and finishing it with each of the flavor amplifying oak staves. Each of these staves were specially developed for this barrel program, and the bourbons finished with these staves smell and taste very different from one another.

Blending
After tasting the individual expressions, we were able to create our own blend using any combination of the different staves, ultimately creating a blend using 10 staves. The samples were created using 100 ml samples. Since there would be ten staves inserted into our barrel, every 10ml added from a particular sample accounted for one unique stave-- this blending process gave us a very close idea of what our final barrel would taste like. We built and sampled several custom blends until we zeroed in on the blend we liked the most. We wanted something that could stand up in cocktails, but also be smooth and supple enough to be sipped by itself. We feel like we created a very balanced bourbon for its high alcohol content. Regular Maker's Mark is 90 proof. Our Private Select is 110 proof (cask-strength).

Barreling
After we decided on the blend, we inserted the actual staves into the barrel, and then the barrel was filled with fully mature cask-strength bourbon and placed in a warehouse to finish for several months.

Here are the staves we used:
– Maker’s 46 (46) uses French oak staves baked in an infrared oven, designed to add baking spice, vanilla, and a dried fruit character.
– Baked American Oak (P2) is the only American oak used, baked in a conventional oven at low temps for a longer time period. This one is all about the vanilla, but nuanced, as there is a wood element that adds complexity to the vanilla sweetness.
– Seared French Cuvee (Cu) is a grooved version of 46, baked in the same infrared oven but for a bit less time. The grooves add surface area promoting more wood exposure, and the edges of the grooves also cook more intensely. Again, vanilla is the focus here, but fatter and richer, butterscotch and caramel pop to mind, we also pulled citrus peel from these.
– Roasted French Mocha (Mo) is another 46 variant, this time same stock seared at higher heat. It adds, well, mocha. This one is pretty straightforward, we also pick up light mint and black cherry.

Our bourbon’s DNA (you can see our final stave selections on the bottle label, too)
The stave combination for Cento and Johnny Delmonico’s Steakhouse’s Private Select Cask Strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon is:
3 Maker’s 46 staves
4 Seared French Cuvée Staves
1 Baked American Pure 2
2 Roasted French Mocha

Tasting notes
Expect rich flavors of oak, spicy vanilla, caramel, coffee, and toasted nut with a lengthy finish in our Maker's Mark Private Select. There's nothing quite like the sublime experience of sipping a cask-strength bourbon, which offers a fuller, richer drinking experience and complex, robust aromas and flavors that are hard to find in lower proof standard bottlings. 110 proof wheated bourbon, 240 bottles made.