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Review: McAfee’s Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon

Benchmark Old No. 8 (from our friends at Buffalo Trace) has been winning awards right and left of late — and it’s easy to see why. At about $14 a bottle, it offers outstanding quality for a pittance.

Benchmark, made with a fair amount of rye, has a deep amber color, and the nose is sweet, with lots of citrus. The body is medium in texture, offering huge caramel notes, a hint of chocolate, cinnamon, and some orange. The traditional rye spiciness is played down, but there’s a good amount of heat on the finish; the whiskey is a standard 80 proof but feels hotter than that.

For the money, though, man, this is one to stock up on.

80 proof.

A- / $14 / bourbonwhiskey.com

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McAfee's Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon



Christopher Null

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content company.

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  1. Sokojoe August 12, 2010

    Wow an A-. I’ve seen this in my local stores but never thought to pick it up, even though I’m a big fan of Buffalo Trace’s self titled bourbon, I’ll have to remedy that on my next trip.

  2. XullioS August 15, 2010

    hope this is as good as you rate it. i just searched and found it for 19.99 per handle in Pittsburgh. can’t wait to try it when i get back out there this semester

  3. Michael Blum August 27, 2010

    I live in Kentucky and didn’t like Burbon until I found this. Over ice with a little filtered water, man it’s heaven.

  4. Anonymous September 22, 2010

    It’s $7.49 for 750ml at Astor Spirits in Greenwich Village in NYC.

  5. cange September 23, 2010

    I agree it’s quite good, but I would put more emphasis on the fact that’s sweet. Mine’s a B+ for that reason.

  6. Linda Connell October 11, 2010

    Got us all wasted. Its did its job well A+

  7. southerner October 19, 2010

    It is under $9 at The Shoppe in Columbus Miss. It is a little thin, but reasonably good. It is good quality.

  8. Mike_td October 24, 2010

    I just bought a bottle at VA ABC store for 10 dollars. Have’nt tried it yet but I know the Buffalo Trace distillery.

  9. cfrith November 6, 2010

    Yeah i ve been lookin for a cheaper alternative to my favorite makers and i found that benchmark is just that. i ten to lean towards a sweet bourbon and this hit the spot. i am getting it for $16.5 in louisville.

  10. Anonymous November 23, 2010

    Have been siping on alot of canadian whisky, as of late its been Black Valvet reserve (8 years old) I must say this Benchmark is much not as hot and to me has a smooth finish. The Black Belvet I must have ice to drink but the Benchmark requires only a glass. Great whiskey in my opinion.

  11. cange November 26, 2010

    I mentioned earlier that I thought it was kind of sweet. It is not! I mean not really. I’m working on a second bottle right now. It’s quite probable that I hadn’t finished my breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios prior to tasting it for the first time. It’s really, really good stuff! (the bourbon, I mean)

  12. Matt December 22, 2010

    I saw this at the liquor store for the first time a few months ago, bought it because it fit the budget($9.99 in MA), was extremely surprised when I first tasted it. I’m definitely a fan, and I’m actually pretty pumped to see that others are as well. Stay thirsty my friends.

  13. Anonymous December 23, 2010

    I tasted it first time with water. taste is good. After a long time i mixed with coke …taste is tooooo good…njoyed

  14. kevin enzor December 31, 2010

    Responded to the 5 dollar rebate 3 times never recieved a rebate . When i contacted the company they said i never sent anything in . Wiskey is good with the rebate it would be much better .Probably wont by again why lie

  15. kevin enzor December 31, 2010

    Dont believe the rebate

  16. Anonymous January 3, 2011

    $15.99 for the 1.75 Liter in Southern Indiana. I notice an earthy taste, and not too sweet. Almost has some green oak flavor as if the aging barrel was not well charred. But that doesn’t make it bad. Very unique.

  17. Big John January 13, 2011

    This a very outstanding bourbon for the money. A friend left a bottle at my fish camp. After trying it I was pleased enough to search some out. I was amazed to find it for $13.99 for a 1.75ml. It is now my everyday bourbon. Makes great cocktails and is not bad on the rocks either.

  18. Jac Fisher January 22, 2011

    Outstanding — Hate those glass bottles so I actually got it because of the container ” the prize was inside”. Satisfying and smooth, now where do I find the tea that came attached in a pony size loved that also.

  19. kevin enzor February 1, 2011

    buy this wiskey dont bother with the rebate they dont pay. tried several times havent gotten one yet

  20. Anonymous February 3, 2011

    I love this stuff. It has now become my cheap bourbon of choice. great mixed with coke, and on the rocks. in fact, sounds so good I think I’ll have one now

  21. Anonymous February 22, 2011

    Albertson’s for $8. Baton Rouge

  22. Anonymous March 16, 2011

    Great with diet ginger ale…smooth

  23. Ben December 30, 2011

    I got it from albertson’s in baton rouge, la also. It was 7.99 and is very good for the price.

  24. cnu January 3, 2012

    I saw this bourbon in Hyderabad(INDIA), tasted it, i like it

  25. Regis January 12, 2012

    I first tried Benchmark on a whim: Just for the helluvit I picked the cheapest bourbon in my liquor store and Benchmark was it. At the time it was eight bucks a bottle. I was stunned at how good it was, and have been buying it for years. I get a two liter for about $16. Sometimes I splurge and get Woodfords or something more expensive, but Benchmark is the regular whiskey on my bar.

  26. Anonymous February 1, 2012

    If the rating were based on bang for your buck, this would have to get an A+ and be at the top of the list. Is it one of the best boubons ever? Hell no. But it is damn good. I too like to splurge on a nice bottle of whiskey or scotch, but I don’t ever feel bad for my wallet after buying this. I just drink it on the rocks and enjoy it. Always have to talk people into trying it because of the plastics bottle, but once they do, they become believers.

  27. Barry April 5, 2012

    Think its made it over to the UK now, saw it my my local offy for £15. Very pleased with it. It’s sweet and tastes great with Coke. For neat I’ll stick with Jack’s

  28. Kenneth Rathburn September 5, 2012

    Agreed. This is a tough bottle to turn down. It’s not the smoothest, tastiest, most enjoyable or satisfying drink out there, but it’s such a good value. Does its job well without completely sapping your wallet. Can even get a 1.75 liter bottle with a 2 liter Coke for $16 at my grocery store.

  29. rob September 15, 2012

    been buying this for the last 3 yrs…saving alot of dough having been a beam guy for years..quite smooth with a splash of coke zero..do yourself a favor and pick up a handle..22 bucks in pa.

  30. Wes October 11, 2012

    I’m a bartender at a country club which only serves top self. I enjoy all different types of spirits but had a taste for bourbon tonight. Picked up a bottle of this for $10 and couldn’t believe how good it is. Really having a hard time differentiating this from JD. Actually think is smoother. Great drink mixer however question shot quality.

  31. Will October 25, 2012

    I could not agree more! On a cold night in southwest Virginia… this was a great choice. It had the perfect amount of bite. I recommend would recommend it to anyone.

  32. Dean October 28, 2013

    I keep Benchmark in a 2-liter Oak barrel…really opens it up; like a decanted wine. Inexpensive AND Delicious.

  33. danny January 28, 2014

    I live in united kingdom and l love this bourbon rich smooth taste and one of the top three ive tasted. no1 heaven hill no2 buffalo trace no3 benchmark

  34. danny January 28, 2014

    forgot to mention I also love bulleit. in England benchmark costs me £20 but its worth every penny

  35. James D. Stoudemire March 1, 2014

    This stuff goes for $10 here in Kentucky……

  36. HouTexan June 16, 2014

    Best-kept secret out there. Inexpensive, flavorful and absolutely great whiskey.
    Superb bourbon!

  37. Jws1272 July 17, 2014

    This is my absolute FAVE “cheap bourbon”. Widely available, and just so good!!! This is one spirit that I keep in my “cabinet” at all times. My fave “everyday” bourbon. It’s $10 for a fifth in NE Ohio, where I dwell. How can you resist THAT bargain?! Mixes great, & tastes great neat as well. It’s the perfect bargain bourbon. Don’t disdain it because of its price………bourbon drinkers, give it a try. How can you go wrong, at that price?!

  38. mike August 7, 2014

    this stuff is good. it tastes better than ten high and even much better than jack daniels. very good for the jim beam drinker.

  39. John Meuser December 21, 2014

    A great value bourbon. I use this with my apple juice or cider and it will get you to the church on time.

  40. cange October 30, 2015

    Benchmark noooooo! My first bottle this season (chilly weather=bourbon season) has hurt me. The tipsy to hangover ratio is not what it was. Well, it was a good good run but I’m going to have to “bench” this mark # 8 (sorry). I hope it’s just me and not the Benchmark

  41. Eric Swanson June 28, 2016

    Terrible. Young, thin. Gets lost in cocktails. Maybe OK as a shooter, but when you’re gulping down spirits more for function than form, bottom shelf vodka does it for cheaper. Evan Williams is worth the maybe $2 extra investment. Even college kids can afford $13 vs. $10.


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