Alcohology. Now that we got that out of the way, lets move on to the meat and potatoes of the matter: how is it?
Maker's Mark is an incredibly popular bourbon. Pretty much every Applebees and Chilies will have it. Just about any liquor store worth their salt with have bottles and bottles of this stuff in their "bourbon" department. Now, don't get me wrong, Maker's is not a terrible bourbon. In fact, I highly recommend a shot with a Fat Tire on draft. It just seems to have "mass appeal." Its not the greatest because it is so popular, and its popular because its designed to be that way. Ubiquity is may be a mark against Maker's, but it also allows them to experiment. The result of such effort is '46.'
46 is really quite good. It commands about a $5-7 dollar premium over regular Maker's Mark, and it is well worth it. At this price range, the competition of good quality bourbons is high. At $25-50 dollars, there are some very good bourbons like Woodford Reserve, Buffallo Trace and 1792. There is also Bulleit and Knob Creek sitting right about $20. 46 is right in the sweet spot of the pricing at $30 where I shop. At that price, it is a pretty good bargain.
Maker's Mark 46 tastes like a modified version of Maker's Mark. That is because it IS Maker's Mark, just in the French Oak barrels. After the Maker's is all done and ready to head out, they empty the barrel and put in 10 staves into the barrel. "Searing the staves caramelizes the sugars in the wood, adding a unique flavor that finishes on the front of the tongue" - Maker's Website. They then pour the Maker's back into the barrel and age it for several more months. This does add a lot of good, smokey flavor.