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Average score from 2 reviews and 5 ratings 79


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There's another American Whiskey that comes in a square bottle with a black label you can get in even a tiny pub on a Bank Holiday Monday from Abersoch (deepest Darkest Wales) to anywhere else that sells alcohol- and that's Jack Daniels.

Benchmark looks the same at casual glance and reading of the label with mild disinterest. But there's three immediate points that stand out- 1. It's cheaper than JD (by a factor of 4-5 quid in Waitrose) 2. It's not 'Sour Mash' but yer actual honest to goodness Bourbon 3. It's actually rather more complicated and nicer to drink.

Nose- Cherries and apple juice: that heady, fruity sourness you get apple juice. Flavour- The apple becomes the sourish apple-caramel of a tarte-tatin, plenty of cherries and a bit of the smokiness that makes a bourbon fun. Middle ground has quite a bit of the licorice that you get with many mid level bourbons, backed with some cherries. Quite a bit of candy-vanilla sweetness as it fades out. Not a massively long finish, but that just spurs you to take another nip ;)

With a lump of ice (or two, I'm not upstage about that) it smooths out to an appley-smokey drink of quite creamy mouthfeel, at the cost of some of the cherry flavour

When I first bought Benchmark I didn't expect much- maybe a 'JD-A-Like' awfulness. But I keep coming back to it as a great go-to bourbon in the UK market. There's more challenging and exciting bourbons out there, but not at this price.


Benchmark Bourbon comes from the same stable as Ancient Age and Buffalo Trace. It is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon, meaning it matured at least two years. It is very cheap and is used primarily in cocktails, such as the popular Old Fashioned. But you can have it neat as well, of course.

The nose is sweet on apples and caramel, a faint touch of vanilla and a clear touch of mint. A handful of cherries. Very light, true. A hint of tobacco. Rather creamy.

It is less mouthcoating than expected. Medium bodied, I would say. But not bad. Leather, tobacco, dried fruits. Again cherries, giving it a fresh lift.

The finish is short.

Well, it definitely is not a benchmark as such, so in that regard it is a bottle of hubris. But on this warm summer day, it is pleasant enough. Fair price and a bit better than the Ancient Age. Off now to prepare myself one of those Old Fashioned cocktails!

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  • Benchmark
    • Average rating: 79
    • Total reviews: 2
    • ABV: 40%