McAfee’s Benchmark is a premium bourbon, but one that you probably won’t see on your bar travels as much as it probably should. As I’m one for highlighting some of the more ‘forgotten’ brands within my work, I took the time to dig a little deeper for you all.
The McAfee’s Benchmark brand was created by Seagram’s back in the late 1960’s. Named after the McAfee brothers who, being one of the first European settlers, surveyed a site just north of Frankfort, USA in 1775. It’s this sight that the brand is distilled and produced from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, part of the Sazerac Company. When the bourbon was born, it was branded simply as Benchmark Bourbon and sold within a decanter-style bottle adorned with a black label and produced at the Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky. The nod towards the McAfee brothers came much later, probably after the sale from Seagram’s to the Sazerac Company in 1989.
Aged in oak barrels, there is no age statement on their Benchmark Bourbon Old Number 8, although it is popular towards both the traditional sippers and the cocktail maestro. So how does it fare? Well below, I give to you my tasting notes –
Benchmark Bourbon Old Number 8 – 40%
Plenty of caramel on the nose, with dashes of fruit and wood coming through sporadically. Light on the palate, with a good combination of oak, cherries and a growing warmth of leather.
A great dram, one that is seriously under the radar yet should never be. Possibly due to the other outstanding expressions available from the Sazerac Company is the reason why it is lesser known, especially here in the UK, but to really impress your friends, I’d grab yourself a bottle. Dare to try something that wins (gold at the 2013 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition and silver at the 2013 San Francisco World Spirits Competition too!)
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