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.
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.
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