Benchmark “Old No. 8” Bourbon

Benchmark is one of two brands acquired by Sazerac from Seagram’s in the 1980s (the other being Eagle Rare). Today, it’s distilled by Buffalo Trace and is commonly found for less than $10 in liquor stores nationwide. Sounds like a deal, right? Don’t get your hopes up just yet.


Pour: Benchmark “Old No. 8” Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Proof: 80
Age: 36 months
Color: straw
Nose: margarine, strawberry Greek yogurt, apple juice
Taste: canned corn, sour pears, pasteboard
Finish: not short enough – Lemon Pledge, sadness


Overall: Rarely can I not finish a bourbon. Benchmark is one such pour. Yes, it’s labeled “Kentucky straight,” but three years in oak just doesn’t cut it here. It’s thin, youthful, oddly sour, and unpleasant. If this is a benchmark of whiskey, I’m Tom Handy.

Rating: Gag Jr.