March 14 2024  |  Spirits & Tobacco

Maker’s Mark Bourbon reveals final edition of Wood Finishing City Series

By Wendy Morley

Maker's Mark makes its mark at London Heathrow Airport, launching the final edition of its Wood Finishing Cask Series

Maker’s Mark Bourbon has launched the final edition of its Wood Finishing City Series in global travel retail.

The limited-edition collection is said to capture the character and flavors of the world’s most dynamic cities for whisky fans travelling the globe. The successful series made its debut in 2022. Previous expressions have featured New York City, Sydney, Frankfurt and Singapore. Concluding the collection, the London City Edition is available exclusively at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5, in partnership with Avolta.

To create this latest expression, Maker’s Mark has partnered with flavor collaborators Douglas McMaster and Ryan Chetiyawardana. This complex release incorporates punchy spice, fruit, tang and sweet caramel to combine the dynamic capital city’s vibes with the classic finish of Maker’s Mark.

Douglas McMaster is a chef and the owner of Silo London – the world’s first zero waste restaurant. In 2021, he was recognized by ‘The World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ as one of the ‘young people shaping the future of gastronomy’. Cocktail bartender Ryan Chetiyawardana (AKA Mr Lyan) opened his first bar, White Lyan, in London in 2013. It was the first cocktail bar in the world to use no perishables, including no fruit and no ice. In addition to being named ‘World’s Best Bartender’, Ryan has ranked #5 on Business Insider’s ‘World’s Leading Figures in Food and Drink’. He has also won the accolade of ‘World’s Best Bar’ three times with his various venues.

Bottled at 54.45% AVB, the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series London Edition is limited to 720 bottles

Chetiyawardana commented, “It was so exciting to travel to Maker’s Mark’s home in Kentucky. The unique profile of the whisky reflects the land that surrounds the distillery. This comes through in its signature character, so to be able to marry this with a place that is so important to me – and to be able to do this with one of my dearest friends, and someone I admire hugely from a professional point of view, was incredible.

“London is a very complex city, so to try and represent all the facets that make it so exciting, we looked to create a sense of dynamism, and almost contradiction, within the whisky. Building on the Maker’s Mark character, we looked to balance deep spice with something more fleeting, floral and elegant – to have something that was simultaneously bold yet elegant, and with a long trail of spice on the palate. It’s a gem of a whisky to seek out, and one that we hope does justice to both London, and to the amazing efforts of Maker’s Mark.”

McMaster added: “Our contribution for this collaboration was as unconventional as we are. Welcomed with sincere appreciation for our lateral thinking, we have made something truly magical, one of a kind. We closed the loop on flavor, we made London proud, we made the drinkers think. Maker’s Mark, thank you for letting myself and Mr Lyan join your family. Our collaboration was fleeting, but the magic will live on… at least for 720 beguiling bottles.”

Achieving the unique taste visions of each release in the City Series is made possible through the brand’s innovative wood stave-finishing technique, which explores and enhances distinctive characteristics already present in Maker’s Mark Bourbon. On the nose, the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series London Edition combines notes of buttercream icing, toasted vanilla, orange peel, maple, caramel and vanilla bean. On the palate, bright caramel, orchard fruits and marshmallow give way to notes of rich tobacco, oak and salted caramel. The creamy texture and forward palate finish is enhanced with zesty notes of citrus, spices and tobacco.

Bottled at 54.45% AVB, the Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing Series London Edition is limited to 720 bottles, with an RRSP of US$95 for 700ml.

Its launch is being supported by a high-profile experiential activation at Heathrow T5, which started on February 28 and will run until March 26. Key features include a tasting bar and sampling, high-impact merchandising and brand imagery, tastemaker information, uniformed Maker’s Mark ambassadors and exclusive screen-printed tote bags. To further drive a halo effect within the portfolio, the activation will also showcase the signature Maker’s Mark cocktail – the Gold Rush – made with Maker’s Mark Classic.

“We are excited to reveal this latest London Edition of our Maker’s Mark Wood Finishing City Series Edition, in partnership with Avolta,” said Manual Gonzalez, Beam Suntory Brand Marketing Director Global Travel Retail. “This collection, which incorporates destination-specific innovation within the reassuring familiarity of a world-famous premium brand, has really resonated with international travelers all around the world.

“Our goal is to build Maker’s Mark into a global US whisky icon, and pioneering new product development and consumer-first brand experiences will play a key role in achieving this objective. This London Edition spotlights our clear craftmanship credentials, while offering a one-of-a-kind taste profile.”

Paul Martin, Avolta Category Manager for Liquor in the UK, commented, “At Avolta, and within our World Duty Free stores, we strive to deliver unique products and immersive experiences that really engage and inspire our customers. This striking activation with its tasting bar, impactful brand imagery, and its strong Sense of Place with the release of this London Edition in exclusive partnership with us, will certainly capture travelers' interest.”

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