Bourbon Reviews, Distillery News and Information
McAfee Brothers Benchmark Collection
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys
Full Proof, Top Floor, Bonded, Single Barrel & Small Batch
Distilled, Aged & Bottled at the Buffalo Trace Distillery
The McAfee Brothers Benchmark Bourbon collection consisting of 5 bourbons was first released by Buffalo Trace Distillery in late 2020, in Indiana only. Distribution is now more widespread.
From Bottom Shelf Bourbon to “Top Shelf”
How often do we see a brand go from one “bottom shelf” bourbon to a whole new line of bourbons all at once? Not very often. But here they are, the McAfee Brothers Benchmark Bourbon Collection; 5 new bourbons all released at the same time. Beginning in late 2020, these bourbons became available, but only in Indiana. I’m not sure of the rationale behind that, but Buffalo Trace/Sazerac generally knows what they are doing. Since then, their distribution has become much more widespread. However, at the time, this new set of bourbons intrigued me, so I drove to Indiana to get them!
Benchmark Bourbon Was Named After The McAfee Brothers
There is very little information available about these bourbons, other than what is on their labels. Buffalo Trace states that the brand is named after the McAfee Brothers. Back in the late 1700’s, the brothers explored and surveyed the land that would become Kentucky, and specifically the land that would eventually be the site of the Buffalo Trace Distillery. The surveyor marks left behind are known as benchmarks. It is from these marks where they say Benchmark Bourbon gets its name.
Or Maybe It Wasn’t
Except, maybe it doesn’t. It seems that Seagram’s originally created the brand in the late 1960’s and produced it at the Four Roses Distillery. Back in the day, their slogan was: “Measure your bourbon against it.” That would imply that the brand was named after a different definition of benchmark, specifically: “a standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed.” Sazerac (the parent company of Buffalo Trace) purchased the brand in either 1989 or 1992, depending on who you read. Sazerac then added the McAfee name, and crafted a new story to go with it.
The Benchmark Bourbon Collection
The five McAfee Brothers Benchmark Bourbons are (according to the descriptions on their labels):
(Click on each one to read my full review. Prices could be a little different in your area.)
- Top Floor Bourbon: ($15-$17) 86 proof. Aged on the top warehouse floors
- Small Batch Bourbon: ($18-$19) 90 proof. Made by combining select barrels into a small batch
- Single Barrel Bourbon: ($25) 95 proof. “The best barrels are selected to become single barrels.”
- Bonded Bourbon: ($20) 100 proof. Bottled in Bond bourbon
- Full Proof Bourbon: ($23) 125 proof. Bottled at the same proof that it enters the barrel
A Whole Set Of Bourbons For A Very Reasonable Price
What is great about the set is its price. I picked up all the Benchmark Bourbons, including the original Benchmark 8 ($10-$12), for less than $130 when they first came out. That is a pretty reasonable price for a whole set of bourbons! This bourbon family is just perfect for a fun tasting flight with friends. Furthermore, once you find your favorite, you can add it to your bar as a reasonably priced daily sipper, too.
So there you have it. The McAfee Brothers Benchmark Bourbon Collection. There are certainly some similarities between the names of these bourbons and Sazerac’s 1792 Bourbon line. Either way, they are a very cool, reasonably priced set of bourbons. Click the links above to read my reviews of each one. Have you tried any of these McAfee Benchmark Bourbons? What did you think? Cheers!🥃
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