Jim Beam vs Makers Mark: Difference and Comparison

Whiskeys have been a part of life since long ago. The first evidence of the production of whisky dates back to the 15th century, and many whisky distilleries have surfaced to business since then. 


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Key Takeaways

  1. Jim Beam is a bourbon whiskey brand known for its spicy and robust flavor.
  2. Marker’s Mark is a bourbon whiskey brand known for its smooth and mellow flavor.
  3. While Jim Beam is aged for a minimum of four years, Marker’s Mark is aged for a minimum of six years.

Jim Beam vs Makers Mark

Jim Beam is a type of whiskey made with traditional rye. It was introduced in 1795. It is kept in barrels for four years to develop its taste. Maker’s Mark is another type of whiskey made with red winter wheat. It is expensive compared to Jim Beam. Bill Samuel, the founder of Maker’s Mark, tested this whisky with different ingredients.

Jim Beam vs Makers Mark 1

One of the oldest American brands known for making quality bourbon is known as Jim Beam. It came into the business in 1795.

On the other hand, Maker’s Mark is a fairly new brand as compared to Jim Bean. It was introduced in 1953.

The same company, Beam Suntory, now owns both whiskey brands.

Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonJim Beam Makers mark
First Introduced17951953
Ingredients of the mash billA mix of corn (51%), malted barley, and rye. The bourbons contain 70% corn rounded up with malted barley, and 16% red winter wheat. 

The red winter wheat gives it the taste that it is known for.
Water SourceLimestone-purified Kentucky water.

The limestone makes the water rich in calcium, adding flavour and colour to the bourbon.
Limestone-purified Kentucky water.

The limestone also removes the iron content and makes the bourbon taste pleasant.
Yeast fermentation processIt’s a family secret. They have been using the same strain of yeast since 1933.
The yeast ferments the sour mash after cooling it to 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit. 
The yeast is used to ferment with the mash in cypress tanks, which add no flavour to the whiskey (that is a good thing)
Distillation processThe liquid is then distilled twice in a column heated to 200 degrees Fahrenheit and then into a pot. They use vaporization to remove impurities.The liquid is distilled twice in huge copper stills.

The process is known as double-barrel distillation.
Age of whisky4 years6 to 7 years
Price (in India)Rs 1800-3500 per litreRs 3500-4500 per litre
Scale of productionConstant batchesSmall batch

What is Jim Beam?

With the new age came new names, and a rather special form of whiskey is called a ‘bourbon’. Elijah Craig is often attributed as the inventor of bourbon whiskey.

It was invented in the late 18th century. 

A whisky can be called bourbon if it is made in the United States of America, contains at least 51% corn, is aged for at least 4 years in American oak charred barrels and is bottled at no less than 80 proof. ‘Proof’ is equal to two times the alcohol content in the bottle.

Jim Beam is a brand known for producing quality bourbon whiskeys. Their whiskeys include their brand name, ‘Jim Beam’.

The name “Jim Beam” was assigned to the brand in 1935. Before that, Jim Beam was known as “Old Tub”; even before that, it was called “Old Jake Beam Sour Mash”. 

The bourbon contains at least 51% corn, rye as the flavour grain, and barley. Jim Beam is aged in oak barrels which are charred at level 4.

Jim Beam has gone through the ups and downs of decades to reach where they are now. During the prohibition (a period when alcohol was banned in the USA), Jim Beam almost went out of business. 

Jim Beam is owned by Beam Suntory, an American beverage company and Suntory Beverage & Food Ltd subsidiary. 

jim beam

What is Makers Mark?

Makers Mark is a fairly new brand of bourbons, even though the family behind it had been producing whiskeys since the 19th century. The current recipe of Maker’s Mark was only invented in 1953.

Bill Samuel Sr., who started Maker’s Mark in the late 1950s, created an experiment to test different flavours. He used a rather smart idea – experimenting with the taste of bread to conclude what ingredients to use in the mash. 

This allowed him to test different recipes without waiting for the distillation and long ageing processes. From this experiment, he decided to replace rye with red winter wheat as Maker’s Marks flavour grain. 

The Maker Mark bourbons contain 70% corn with malted barley and 16% red winter wheat. Maker’s Mark is aged in oak barrels charred at level 3.

The Maker’s Mark’s bottle head is dipped in the iconic red wax. This has been a tradition since the beginning of the Maker Mark brand. Currently, Maker’s Mark is also owned by Beam Suntory.

makers mark

Main Differences Between Jim Beam and Makers Mark

  1. The special ingredient that gives Jim Beam its characteristic taste is the mixture of corn, rye, and barley. On the other hand, Maker’s Mark’s characteristic taste comes from red winter wheat.
  2. Jim Beam is dubbed to be one of the best-selling bourbons around the world. On the other hand, Maker’s mark is not.
  3. Maker’s mark bottle head is dipped in iconic red wax. On the other hand, Jim Beam’s head has the usual head wrapping or is dipped in black wax.
  4. Jim Beam is aged in level 4 char oak barrels. On the other hand, Maker’s Mark is aged in level 3 char oak barrels.
  5. Jim Beam is cheaper per litre as compared to Maker’s Mark.
  6. Jim Beam is produced in constant batches. On the other hand, Maker’s mark is produced in small batches.
Difference Between Jim Beam and Markers Mark
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