Maker's Mark Bourbon is considered one of the top Bourbons in the world. Its distinctive wax capped bottle is a famous landmark on any well stocked bar. To help capitalize on this brand name, the Maker's Mark Distillery has introduced this barbecue sauce labeled Maker's Mark Gourmet Sauce, though the recipe has been around well over 100 years (or at least that's what they say). This barbecue sauce does have an old fashioned flavor to it and doesn't suffer from the disgusting sweetness (and sweetener) that most modern barbecue sauces have.
While still a classic tomato based sauce, it is loaded with flavors.
According to Maker's Mark their Gourmet Sauce was first created by Henry Bain who worked at a private club in Louisville, Kentucky around 100 years ago. He was trying to create a universal sauce that could be used on beef, fish, vegetables and fowl (now labeled for "meats, seafood and special dishes"). Being Kentucky, one of the main ingredients was Bourbon. When prohibition hit the recipe was changed and the original formula was lost (or so it was thought). The original recipe had been passed on to the Samuel's family and was discovered recently to come back to life and be bottled as Maker's Mark Gourmet Sauce.
A Loaded Sauce
One of the problems of many backyard barbecue sauces is that they are loaded with virtually everything in the cupboard. Reading the list of ingredients in this sauce might make you think it was developed the same way.
Of course this is a literal list so instead of saying it contains Worcestershire sauce it lists all the specific ingredients. Still, from the tomato puree to the pineapple to the eschallots (with a splash of MSG) this sauce has a lot to it, giving it a unique flavor.
Heat Brings out the Flavor
Some barbecue sauces are pretty much the same out of the bottle as they are after an hour on a chicken thigh in the smoker.
This sauce isn't like that. The heavy tomato flavor combined with the bourbon gives it a strong, almost bitter flavor straight. Cooked, however the flavors blend and mellow giving it a good enhancing flavor that works well with most anything you put it on.
The Look and Feel
The wax capped bottle is, of course, a branding gimmick designed to identify this sauce as a Maker's Mark product, but also to show off this sauce as the handful of advertising that it really is. Aside from that it is a good sauce, not necessarily a great barbecue sauce, but it has its place and can be used in many applications. If you have the opportunity to pick this sauce up I encourage you to do so, even if you are not a fan of the bourbon.