Benchmark Old No. 8 Brand Bourbon: Revisited

It's the first week of Bourbon Heritage Month so I thought I'd take a look back and revisit a couple of older brands. First up is Benchmark Bourbon from Sazerac.

It has been 1,266 days since I last posted tasting notes for Benchmark Bourbon. It wasn't a formal review as it was part of 2015's Bottom Shelf Brackets, but for the longest time, it was all I offered. Since I was out this weekend looking around at "affordable" options for bourbon, I thought it might be time to take another look at it. See if the intervening time has been kind to it. Back in 2015, I said the following:

It may only be three years old, but there is nothing to keep this from being a nice card playing bourbon.

Since I didn't talk about it last time around, let's go over a little history of the brand. The brand was originally launched by Seagram's in the late 1960s. During the 1970s, the ads for the brand told consumers to "Measure Your Bourbon Against It." By the late 1980s, the brand was up for sale and was purchased by Sazerac who used it and Eagle Rare (also purchased from Seagram's) to get into the bourbon business

These days, though it is still owned by Sazerac, it lives on the bottom shelf. It has an age statement of 36 months. It even has a few flavored spinoffs in the forms of Apple, Brown Sugar, and Peach whiskey flavored liqueurs. 

Benchmark Old No. 8 Brand Bourbon

Purchase Info: $13.49 for a 1-liter bottle at MGM Wine and Spirits, Burnsville, MN.

Details: Aged at least 36 months. 40% ABV

Nose: Green Apple Jolly Rancher candy, caramel.

Mouth: Caramel, mint, and after a little while a little spice builds up.

Finish: Short with a little lingering spice.

 IMAGE: a hand-drawn neutral face

Thoughts: My thoughts on this one have been solidly downgraded as time has gone on. With my first pour out of the current bottle, I thought it was a bit of a caramel bomb with undertones of Buffalo Trace. Pretty solid, though more of a "good enough" bourbon than a "good" one. When I did the tasting a few days later, I found it to be a little delicate in the mouth, but it was fine. Subsequent pours have just been really meh. While it might make an ok card playing or tv watching bourbon, for the price, I'd stick with Evan Williams Black or Bonded unless you really prefer those Buffalo Trace undertones. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Red Wheat Bourbon

While trying to figure out the DNS issue this site was having last night, I ended up doing a little research for an upcoming post. One of the unsung benefits of being a spirits writer is that if you plan to write about what you are drinking, then you can just say you are doing "research." And the greatest part of that is, it isn't even lying. 

So since I was busy doing IT work (and doing research on future posts) last night, I thought that it might be a good time to finally get around to the third of three bottles of Limestone Branch Experimental Bourbon that I bought back in May.

This one has a very similar name from the second bottle I reviewed. So much so that the reason that the reviews were written in the order they were was because I grabbed the wrong bottle when I did the second review. There is a single word of difference in the names. This one does not have the word Malted in it. Which of course means that this is a much more typical wheated bourbon mash then the malted wheat bourbon was.

Limestone Branch Red Wheat Bourbon is a 98 proof bourbon distilled from a mash of 60% White Corn, 28% Wheat, and 12% Malted Barley. It is 22 months old.

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Red Wheat Bourbon

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 375 mL bottle at Total Wine, Louisville, KY

Details: 49% ABV. Single Barrel. Barrel 59. Mash bill: 60% white corn, 28%  wheat, 12% malted barley. Barrel Entry ABV: 50.58%. Barrel Char level 3. Aged 22 months.

Nose: Caramel, wintergreen, cardamom, and peach.

Mouth: Caramel, brown sugar, mint, hints of baking spice.

Finish: Warm and of medium length. There is an immediate "young" note upon swallowing which is followed by peach and baking spice. 

 IMAGE: a hand-drawn neutral face

Thoughts: I have never had a peach note show up in a bourbon before, so for that, I find this really interesting. This shows a lot of promise, but sadly just isn't there yet. As they release older versions though, this will be one to keep an eye on. 


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

O.Z. Tyler, Bourbon and Rye

When I was a kid, Walt Disney's Bambi taught me two things.

1) The mom will always die in a Disney cartoon.
2) "If you can't say anything nice, don't say nothin' at all"

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...

...


OZ Tyler Bourbon and Rye

Purchase Info: $0.99 each for 50mL bottles from Liquor Barn Middletown, Louisville, KY

Details: 45% ABV. Processed using the TerrePURE fast filtering process.
Bourbon: "Aged a minimum of a year and a day in new charred oak."
Rye: "Aged a minimum of six months in new charred oak."

Nose: 
Bourbon: Caramel Corn. Smells very young.
Rye: Buttered corn initially. A hint of rye spice appears after a bit.

Mouth: 
Bourbon:
Gentle spice (mostly alcohol tingle), Sweet corn. 
Rye: Thin and cool in the mouth. After holding it in the mouth for a while, rye spices appear. Slightly sweet with a hint of citrus.

Finish:
Bourbon:
The finish really reminds me of the sips of Seagrams 7 and 7-up that I'd steal from my dad as a kid. Thin, grainy and just a bit longer than you'd hope for given the flavors.
Rye: Gentle and short with hints of rye spice that fade quickly.

 IMAGE: A hand drawn face with a frown, tongue sticking out and x's for eyes.

Thoughts: It is my understanding that most of the TerrePURE whiskey is being either sold as bulk whiskey or bottled as store brands. Given that, you can be sure that it will end up in plenty of private labels near you. I know that Total Wine has multiple of their own brands that are made from TerrePURE whiskey. I've tried a couple. I haven't found one yet I could recommend. I bought this thinking that since this was a brand being released by the producers, that it might be a good representation of the best that they could do.

I still decided to only risk $4.

If this is representative of TerrePURE whiskey, then "Distilled in Indiana" will become the mark to look for on unknown bourbon instead of "Distilled in Kentucky." This bourbon gives Kentucky bourbon a bad name. Luckily most of the TerrePURE whiskeys I've had have been labeled as such. But maybe we should avoid all store brand Kentucky bourbons, just in case. And in case it wasn't obvious, I really do not like this. At all.

 IMAGE: A hand drawn neutral face

The rye is pretty meh. It's light on rye flavor. Doesn't have the punch you'd expect from even young rye. But, hey, it is much better than the bourbon. So there is that.


BourbonGuy.com accepts no advertising. It is solely supported by the sale of the hand-made products I sell at the BourbonGuy Gifts Etsy store. If you'd like to support BourbonGuy.com, visit BourbonGuyGifts.com. Thanks!

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Malted Red Wheat Bourbon

Have you ever been so busy that you just forget to eat? You wouldn't know it from looking at me, but it happens to me all the time. I'll get so into working on a project that all of a sudden I'll look up and it's four in the afternoon...and it's right about then that I realize that I am really hungry and end up eating a little too much to compensate. 

This is the probably the reason you wouldn't be able to tell that I frequently forget meals. 

Anyway, that's the sort of passion that I expect most craft distillers have. Not the gorging after unintentional fasting part, but the getting so into a project that you forget about everything else part. The distillers that I've met have all really loved what they are doing and loved the experimentation that they could do.

Which brings us to the second of three bottles of Limestone Branch's Experimental Collection that I picked up in May. This one is named Malted Red Wheat and is made up of a mash bill of 60% white corn, 28% malted wheat and 12% malted barley. 

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Malted Red Wheat Bourbon

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 375 mL bottle at Total Wine, Louisville, KY

Details: 47.5% ABV. Single Barrel. Barrel 114. Mash bill: 60% white corn, 28% malted wheat, 12% malted barley. Barrel Entry ABV: 50.63%. Barrel Char level 3. Aged 20 months.

Nose: Toffee, floral, gentle baking spices.

Mouth: Generic Sweetness, malted milk, cinnamon spice.

Finish: Youth shows up on the finish bringing cinnamon spice and dried grain notes along with it. 

 IMAGE: a hand-drawn face with a neutral expression

Thoughts: I have a feeling that when it grows up, I will like this much better than the first bottle in the series that I reviewed. For right now though, this one is quite a bit too young for my palate.


Hey folks, no plug for the store tonight. I'm taking off next week for a family vacation to North Carolina and would be unable to fulfill the orders anyway. That also means no posts next week. Wish me luck, it's a road trip with a 13 year old, a 7 year old, and a 4 year old...they may just drive me to have an extra bourbon when we stop for the night. 😉