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.


  1. not as snooty as reviewer but have been buying for the last 3 yrs. when beam was sold out..outstanding value (18.99 this month for 1.75 jug in pa.)but is very comparible in taste with higher labels...

    1. You are so right! Great value and taste is very good!

  2. I agree on this one, tried it recently and I have to say that while it's a step down from Jack Daniels, it's still not that bad. Good everyday sipper and/or mixer. Not too bad on the pocket too.

  3. Just bought a bottle tonight at 10 bucks and some change a very good bourbon for the price here in MI. I personally believe the taste is better than jack and a hell of a lot smoother! This will be my new go to drink.

  4. Here in the highlands of central India... G\good ol' reliable Benchmark is sometimes the only bourbon available. In the land of what they call "IMFL" (Indian Made Foreign Liquor) - it's premium stuff!!'re not going to pass it off as Pappy's in a side-by-side taste-off...I'm not convinced it's even a good sipping-whiskey. But it makes a fine Old Fashioned and I think the vanilla and cinnamon (slight) overtones makes for my kind of cocktail. You know... the kind that gets you though years of living in India