It's time to give a grade to McAfee's Benchmark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

  • Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
  • Price (750ml): $8.99
  • Proof: 80 (40% abv)
  • Distillery: Buffalo Trace Distillery
  • Location: Frankfort, KY
  • Aged: Minimum of 36 months

We have another Buffalo Trace product with McAfee’s Benchmark, a stablemate of one of our prior subjects, Ancient Age. The bottle itself looks pretty normal. Nothing fancy, but not quite as low-rent as some of the other brands you’ll find on the bottom shelf. The smaller bottles come in glass, but the handle is in plastic. It’s cheap whiskey, so plastic is sometimes part of the equation. It’s got a twist top, too. Again, let’s remember where we’re shopping, alright? Long story short, this ain’t a bottle you’ll keep and use as decoration.

It’s aged “at least” 36 months. That’s intentionally vague, but I’m not entirely sure why. I emailed them about it, because why not? It took me 30 seconds and maybe we’ll get a fun story out of it.

Produced on the hallowed grounds of Buffalo Trace, I think it’s okay to have our expectations set a little higher than we might with some other, less reputable outfit.

First sip: 3 out of 5

The first sip of this will shock you, because it’s… actually pretty damn good. It’s got a distinct caramel aroma and it’s very smooth for a bottle that costs under $10. It burns on the way down, but not like you just drank jet fuel. It burns the right way, like a bourbon should.

Neat: 3 out of 5

If you choose to keep on sipping on your glass of McAfee’s Benchmark, you’re not going to be disappointed. This is a fine daily drinker. You’re not getting the well rounded experience you’d get with a bourbon that costs four times as much, but you’re also not going to wince every time you swallow. This is a diamond in the rough.

Mixed: 5 out of 5

I gotta be honest with y’all, it took me a while to write this review because I kept finishing bottles of McAfee’s Benchmark before I sat my ass down to put my thoughts on the screen. If you’re into spiking your favorite carbonated beverage with some party punch, this is the bottle for you. It blends well and adds just the right amount of that delicious bourbon flavor to fill out your glass.

Overall: 4 out of 5

I feel pretty confident telling you that you should keep a bottle of Benchmark in your bar at all times. It’s ridiculously good for a ridiculously low price. Don’t waste your good stuff when your friend asks for a “whiskey and coke.” Give them Benchmark. They’ll probably think it’s the good stuff anyway.

Enjoy in moderation. Slainté!

McAfee's Benchmark Bourbon

McAfee’s Benchmark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey