“Whiskey Credit Score.” It’s a concept a buddy and I came up with to describe what you’d be willing to drop on a new bottle you knew nothing about, purely based on the distillery. For example, for me Cleveland Distillery has a WCS so low that if I see a new offering on the shelf for cheap, I’m still more likely to buy Dogecoin. Don’t talk to me about science, you disgrace. On the other hand, Very Olde St. Nick has a very high Whiskey Credit Score with me. Did you know they released an even more rare version of their already pricey and hard-to find 17 year antique barrel? It literally has the word “unicorn” on it in purple letters. I’m thinking about selling my body to science antemortem to finance a bottle. Similarly, Buffalo Trace is certainly in the high WCS category. So there’s the scene. Enter Benchmark, stage bottom shelf. Out of thin air, one day my local liquor store had 5 new Buffalo Trace products on display that I had never seen. Thankfully, they were all under $20, because you can only sell your body once. The question may have been which one, but the answer was “yes.” So here’s the Benchmarks: Benchmark 8 (80 proof) Benchmark Top Floor (86 proof) Benchmark Small Batch (90 proof) Benchmark Single Barrel (95 proof) Benchmark Bonded (100 proof) Benchmark Full Proof (125 proof) These are all made using Buffalo Trace mashbill #1, which is BT’s low-rye mashbill. People that are smarter than me think it’s about 10% rye, 5% malted barley, and 85% corn. They think this, but I don’t think anyone outside of BT actually knows. I wanted to do a true mashbill #1 round robin, so I threw in: Buffalo Trace (90 proof) EH Taylor Small Batch (100 proof) Eagle Rare (90 proof) Stagg Jr. Batch 13 (132.3 proof) 10 mashbill #1 bourbons. 45 blind taste tests in glencairns. Only one can be the best. 10th place: Benchmark Small Batch 9th place: Benchmark 8 8th place: Benchmark Top Floor ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 7th out of 10: Benchmark Bonded. Nose is very astringent, mostly sugar and oats. There’s also cherries, dust, and I’ve never gone to this place before tonight but I think there’s tomato plant. I’ve grown tomato plants before, and this nose takes me there. Body is heavy on oats. This is far nuttier than the other BMs I’ve had so far. Gotta be a better way to say that. There’s also cane sugar, milk, and a pleasant creamy mouth feel to go with it. Finish is heavy cinnamon, vanilla, and a faint orange. This is genuinely enjoyable. This is the first Benchmark that I thought: I’ll probably buy another one of these. To be fair: the reason the other ones don’t get that treatment is that Benchmark has saturated this flavor space with other iterations of itself. Which is... an interesting marketing strategy. I still feel like BT is somehow screwing with all of us with this product line. 5 nearly indistinguishable bourbons, all better than many $40 bourbons on the shelf, all under $20. This whole thing feels like an augmented reality game. There’s gotta be a treasure map that reveals itself when you align the bottles in just the right way. That would make more sense. 16 dollars for this son of a *****. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I have a few more Benchmarks, so if you want to play along next time, feel free to skip the intro. However, I did have trouble figuring out the best mad scientist to sell myself to, so I may have some fresh material next time. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Fun new discovery about mashbill #1: You can mix all of them together in an infinity bottle and still have a truly spectacular bourbon.
15.99 USD per Bottle