December 30, 2012

McAffee's Benchmark Bourbon Review

Benchmark is one of the many bourbons made at the Buffalo Trace distillery.  It's bottled at the standard 80 proof and is sold in a Jack Daniel's-esqe bottle.  I'm not sure how long it's aged.  By price alone, (which does not always equate to a measure of quality), it's a bottom shelf whiskey.

Benchmark is dull orange in color, indicating a young age.  Its nose is part spicy, with cinnamon and black pepper notes and part sweet, which comes through with caramel and vanilla frosting notes.  Mouthfeel is cool and watery.  The taste doesn't have the sweetness found in the nose, but the peppery spice is there along with crisp, fresh corn tang.  Mingled in there is also a dry sootiness.  Benchmark finishes with the slightest of burn, and some of the sweetness from the nose creeps in.

Benchmark bourbon is an absolutely serviceable knock-around whiskey.  It doesn't have the complexities of other "higher-end" bourbons, but who cares?  Every highball or sour that needs a whiskey can't complain if they're given Benchmark.  Like everything else that comes out of Buffalo Trace, Benchmark bourbon can easily become part of your daily rotation.  It's simply a good whiskey, and an outstanding value to boot.