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Benchmark vs Jim Beam: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Benchmark vs Jim Beam in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Benchmark Bourbon No. 8

NoseMaple, vanilla, banana bread
PalateCaramel, cinnamon, oak
FinishVanilla, oak spice, caramel
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toEvan Williams, Jack Daniel’s

On the nose, Benchmark is smooth and sweet with a hint of honey, along vanilla and banana bread.

On the palate, taste is super thin with a watery body, with hints of vanilla and caramel and a touch of oak spice.

The finish is utterly short, with vanilla and caramel hints, along oak spice and no heat!

Benchmark is the lighter and thin version of the Buffalo Trace.

They are both made using the same mash bill although Benchmark is aged for 2 years while the Buffalo for 6 to 8 years.

Another important distinction is that Benchmark is bottled at 80 proof while the Buffalo Trace at 90. This means that they basically diluted with water a young version of the Buffalo Trace.

This bourbon is entirely easy to drink, with almost no warmth. It’s nearly flavorless but no bad notes either!! making it easy to drink neat.

A bad mixer, though, as it lacks the punch to deliver flavorful cocktails.

Nothing remarkable but for the price certainly not bad as most liquors in this price range are rubbish.

This is great substitute for the Jack Daniel’s as it tastes better and is way cheaper.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Benchmark Bourbon:

  • Aged for just 2 years.
  • Made using the same mash bill low in rye (10%) as the Buffalo Trace.
  • This bourbon’s full name is McAfee’s Benchmark Old No. 8.
  • The McAfee brothers surveyed the land now home of the Buffalo Trace Distillery.

Jim Beam Bourbon

NoseCaramel, vanilla, hay, corn
PalateToasty oak, peanut, vanilla, black pepper, oak spice
FinishShort-lived, caramel, oak spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkCocktails
Similar toWild Turkey, Jack Daniel’s, Evan Williams

The nose is rich in corn and butterscotch with a slight whiff of ethanol coming behind.

On the palate, Jim Beam feels thin with very little body. Flavor has some of the same sweet corn, vanilla and butterscotch hints, along black pepper, followed by a nail polish note.

Not to mention the traditional roasted peanut note present in every whiskey crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery; this peanut note is also found in the Knob Creek, Booker’s, Old Grand Dad and Basil Hayden’s.

The finish is short and warm, leaving some sweetness, oak astringency and black pepper behind.

Jim Beam (Review) is a serviceable whiskey that comes handy when looking for something cheap to make cocktails or tailgating but this is not something to drink either neat or use a daily drinker.

This bourbon is completely unremarkable, sweet at first but mostly warm and peppery. Not good, TBH.

In summary, the Jim Beam Bourbon is a good mixer, but not good on its own. Just too harsh and peppery to make a good sipper.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Jim Beam Bourbon:

  • The mash bill is 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley.
  • Jim Beam is aged for 4 years in new charred oak barrels.
  • This is the best-selling bourbon across the globe. It does not sell more than Jack Daniel’s, but the JD is not a bourbon but a Tennessee Whiskey.
  • Jacob Beam, born in Germany, sold his first barrels of corn whiskey around 1795, then called Old Jake Beam Sour Mash.
  • Jim Beam belongs to the Beam Suntory which in turn is owned by Suntory Holdings, headquartered in Osaka, Japan.

Benchmark vs Jim Beam: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Benchmark $201.75 liters
Jim Beam$321.75 liters

Benchmark vs Jim Beam: Which is better?

Benchmark is a better sipper and Jim Beam a better mixer

WhiskeyBenchmarkJim Beam
  • If you are looking for an affordable bourbon to sip neat, with not much taste to it, but no off-putting notes Benchmark is your better option.
  • Jim Beam has some harsh nail polish notes and is warmer and peppery, but those notes make cocktails more punchy and interesting.

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