Review: McAfee’s Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon

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.


McAfee's Benchmark Old No. 8 Bourbon




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


  1. Sokojoe on August 12, 2010 at 7:34 am

    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 on August 15, 2010 at 10:51 am

    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 on August 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    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 on September 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

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

  5. cange on September 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    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 on October 11, 2010 at 6:05 pm

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

  7. southerner on October 19, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    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 on October 24, 2010 at 11:15 am

    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 on November 6, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    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 on November 23, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    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 on November 26, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    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 on December 22, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    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 on December 23, 2010 at 4:29 am

    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 on December 31, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    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 on December 31, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    Dont believe the rebate

  16. Anonymous on January 3, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    $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 on January 13, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    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 on January 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    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 on February 1, 2011 at 7:12 pm

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

  20. Anonymous on February 3, 2011 at 8:57 pm

    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 on February 22, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Albertson’s for $8. Baton Rouge

  22. Anonymous on March 16, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    Great with diet ginger ale…smooth

  23. Ben on December 30, 2011 at 9:07 pm

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

  24. cnu on January 3, 2012 at 5:25 am

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

  25. Regis on January 12, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    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 on February 1, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    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 on April 5, 2012 at 8:48 am

    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 on September 5, 2012 at 7:27 pm

    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 on September 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    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 yourself a favor and pick up a handle..22 bucks in pa.

  30. Wes on October 11, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    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 on October 25, 2012 at 7:49 pm

    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 on October 28, 2013 at 7:18 pm

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

  33. danny on January 28, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    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 on January 28, 2014 at 2:57 pm

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

  35. James D. Stoudemire on March 1, 2014 at 5:37 pm

    This stuff goes for $10 here in Kentucky……

  36. HouTexan on June 16, 2014 at 8:13 pm

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

  37. Jws1272 on July 17, 2014 at 5:11 am

    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 on August 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    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 on December 21, 2014 at 11:58 am

    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 on October 30, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    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 on June 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm

    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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