Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Benchmark Full Proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon

- $18
- 125 Proof
- Kentucky

The last time I spent any decent amount of time in Indiana I made it a point to stop by a liquor store for the purpose of grabbing some of the relatively newly released Benchmark line. I can't get these in Illinois (for reasons I don't understand), so it was one of those rare times that I headed into a liquor store looking for one particular thing.

I was able to pick up both the Single Barrel and the Full Proof while I was there. They had the entire lineup, but it just didn't seem necessary to get all five. These were the two I was most interested in, and what I loved even more was the price! I couldn't remember the last time I grabbed a bottle of bourbon for under $20.  I ended up really enjoying the Single Barrel much more than I thought, so once that one was finished, it wasn't long before I then cracked into this Full Proof. 

The nose gave off some of those traditional flavors that made me fall in love with bourbon in the first place. I immediately got a sweet and spicy cinnamon note along with some dark chocolate. That sweetness was boosted by some brown sugar notes, and I got a distinct chocolate chip cookie note. There was also a rich amaretto note to it as well, and it really did smell delicious.

Much like the nose, the flavor was very cinnamon forward. It was sweet and spicy, but also with a bit of earthiness to it, like a woodiness but not a traditional oak note. That brown sugar cookie note also came through as well. I didn't necessarily get the chocolate note I was getting on the nose, but it still had that note of chocolate chip cookies, but without the chocolate chips.

It had that earthy, woody note as well.  It wasn't the typical oak note you get from aged bourbons, and it didn't add any bitterness (this was certainly on the sweeter end of bourbons), but instead just added a sort of woody flavor. It reminded me of that taste I get in my mouth when I fill the hopper of my smoker.

The finish was loaded with the brown sugar and cinnamon spice, but there was a bit of a black pepper spice as well, something that stuck around at the back of my throat. The finish was shorter than I would have liked, though, which was a bit surprising given its proof.

Simply put, at $18, this is an absolute buy.  As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the best values out there.  If only I could get it on a regular basis. 

Grade: B+

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