I should start by saying thanks to the good people with the Maker’s Mark Ambassador program for hosting the local Raleigh ambassadors at Isaac Hunter’s Oak City Tavern this past Thursday evening. It was a great opportunity to socialize with other bourbon-philes while getting the word out about the Bourbon Journal! We had a unique opportunity to meet the owners of the tavern and hear about its legendary history, which I do not want to spoil for you here. I will at least tell you that the bar itself is made from historic barn wood that was salvaged just before the barn was destroyed for a road expansion project. That alone should tell you that this place is all about preserving history and tradition, which makes it a perfect place for a bourbon meet and greet!
If you have not been to Isaac Hunter’s, you are missing out on one of the most robust bourbon selections that we have seen to date in Raleigh. Most impressively, they have a bottle of the elusive Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection that I spoke so highly about in my post a few weeks ago. While you are there, be sure to take note of the beautiful custom woodwork and see if you can get the bartender to take a second to tell you the story of Mr. Hunter and why his tavern belongs right where it is.
Overall, our trip to Isaac Hunter’s this past Thursday was a great success for the Bourbon Journal. We had a chance to talk with Nikki (the ambassador coach for North Carolina) about the new Maker’s Mark bourbon that is slated to hit the shelves in mid July. Despite our efforts to get her to share a taste from her personal stash, she was not about to let anyone drag her out in the rain to bootleg bourbon out of her trunk! Never-the-less, we should be getting our hands on a review bottle in the next couple of weeks so that we can include it in out first round of bourbon ratings.
So far I have heard good things about the new Maker’s Mark experimental bourbon, code named “Maker’s Mark Profile #51”. Although the idea of mass producing an experimental bourbon is not new for most distillers, Maker’s Mark has managed to resist the temptation for 50 years. I for one hope this departure will prove to be a success for Maker’s Mark and encourage other distillers open up their experimental collections to the general public.