Not much love for Benchmark around here. . .
For the price, I decided to pick it up and give it a try. Definitely not the most complex bourbon I have had, but I am enjoying sipping on it. I'm not finding anything offensive, just very mild wood and sweetness. Very smooth, probably too smooth, but I can still enjoy it. Will probably follow it up with something a little more full bodied though.
I am always open to a value pour, but I am not a fan of this bourbon. I find it one of the most bland I have ever found. I bought it as a cheap mixer, but I found it so bland that mixing it with anything overpowered it completely. It ended up as a cooking bourbon. Thankfully, it is now gone. For the same price, I get EWB.
I bought some a while back and thought it was a great value pour, but hell, I was raised on cheap bourbon. Is this the same mashbill as AA?
No, same as Buffalo Trace, Old Charter, Eagle Rare and Stagg.
I have never had Benchmark. Someone who likes it (or not), please provide some tasting notes. I'd like more information than the conclusion that "this is swill" or "this is a good value pour." Specifics, please.
Nose: Cool Ranch Doritos, caramel, alcohol
On the palate: Thin, a bit of sweetness and that weird cool ranch note again. Not much else going on.
Finish: Very light, slightly sweet with a fruitiness coming through in the end.
Mixed: When Benchmark is mixed, the results are themselves mixed. It’s invisible in manhattans, sours and cola. For whatever reason, it does pretty well in hot drinks like coffee and hot toddies. I have also found it adequate for Bourbon cream pies and soaking woodchips...
At under $10 for a 750 ml bottle, it’s hard to expect too much, but $2-$3 more opens up many better possibilities. Even the mediocre Ancient Age shows up better. In light of all that, I cannot recommend Benchmark.
Drinking the Benchmark No. 8 (against a 7yo age statement version of EWB).
Very young, with predominant corn husk. Not a pushover like Ten High, but I would agree a good cooking bourbon. It might hold up to a mixer -- unfortunately I'm out of ginger ale.
The Evan comes off a very different beast -- the mint is pronounced, and in comparison to the young corn of the Benchmark I'm finding an off-note that I've tasted in EC18(!)
In NH, the Benchmark goes for $16/handle vs. EWB at $19 -- that's a 19% premium (although only a couple bucks.)
Josh - I'll have to try some of that bourbon cream pie. Sounds delicious!