Black Bourbon Society Wins Double Gold with Maker's Mark Private Select®

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(Louisville, KY)- Black Bourbon Society (BBS), in collaboration with the Maker’s Mark Private Select® program struck Double Gold for Custom-Finished Bourbon at the 19th Annual San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC). The bourbon was one of over 1,000 whiskies blind tasted by a panel of esteemed judges in what is often considered the most reputable and respected spirits competition in the world.

Launched in 2015, Maker’s Mark Private Select is a first-of-its-kind custom barrel program that allows on and off premise accounts to “make their own Maker’s” by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark® Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of oak staves. The Black Bourbon Society’s stave selection includes: (2) Baked American Pure 2, (3) French Cuvée, (3) Maker’s 46 and (2) Toasted French Spice. Black Bourbon Society partnered with Tower Wine & Spirits as its retailer for the project, and its first barrel release, bottled at 110 proof, sold out prior to receiving the Double Gold designation. Due to demand, BBS created a second barrel with the same stave profile which also sold out. Black Bourbon Society is the first participant in the Private Select program to win the SFWSC’s Double Gold honor for its selection.

“We’re incredibly proud of the Black Bourbon Society’s Maker’s Mark Private Select for earning this prestigious Double Gold recognition,” said Maker’s Mark Chief Distillery Officer Rob Samuels. “We’re continually impressed by the custom bourbon flavor profiles folks have created through their stave selections in the Maker’s Mark Private Select program and are honored that the Black Bourbon Society has made their own mark on Maker’s with this carefully and purposefully made selection.”

Founded by Samara Rivers in 2016; Black Bourbon Society (BBS) bridges the gap between the spirits industry and African American bourbon enthusiasts through their social media platforms, brand-partnered events and exclusive excursions. With over 4500 members, BBS challenge traditional direct consumer marketing standards by curating experiences that genuinely engage their unique demographic across the country. They also advocate for diversity and inclusion through speaking engagements and consulting with startup brands in the spirits industry.  Samara, along with her business and life partner, Armond Davis, selected the staves together. It is the perfect balance of their individual palates and personalities.

“It is an honor to have received this designation from SFWSC. Armond and I wanted to craft the perfect bourbon and took the stave selection process seriously. With the stave combinations, we were able to find the balance between sweet and smooth yet bold with spice. The entire experience along with the support from Maker's Mark has been phenomenal. We are so appreciative to all of our members who supported the barrel picks for trusting our palates in creating this (now) Double Gold barrel!” said Samara.

 BBS is currently preparing for their next exclusive excursion, Brown Derby Weekend in Louisville, Kentucky April 26-28,2019. For more information on Black Bourbon Society, please visit For press and media inquires, contact Lindsey Walker via email at

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