Benchmark Bourbon vs Buffalo Trace: Which is Better? (2023)
Last Updated on January 9, 2023 by Lydia Martin
Compared to other expressions from the Buffalo Trace Distillery, Buffalo Trace and Benchmark Bourbon are budget-friendly expressions.
Although these two bourbon spirits come from the same distillery, how do they differ?
Let’s do a quick Benchmark Bourbon vs Buffalo Trace Bourbon comparison and see which is the better option.
Buffalo Trace & Benchmark In-Depth Comparison
Although Benchmark and Buffalo Trace came from the same facility, they’re not the same whiskey expression.
Benchmark is bottled at around 80-proof, while Buffalo Trace is bottled at 90-proof.
The reduction in water dilution during the bottling process helps produce a more flavorful and robust Buffalo Trace.
And in terms of aging, Buffalo Trace is more mature, approximately 6-8 years old, while Benchmark is just around two years old.
How Do They Compare?
|Benchmark Bourbon||Buffalo Trace|
|Average Price||Approx. $11/750ml||Approx. $33/750ml|
|Age Statement||At least 2 years old||6-8 years old|
|Palate||Caramel-y taste with flavors of oak, spice, and cinnamon||Espresso coffee palate with the sweetness of chocolate, oak, vanilla, and caramel taste|
|Color||Medium amber||Light bronze with gold streaks|
|Nose||Smooth nose with hints of baking spice, sour vanilla, apple, caraway seed, sugar, maple fruit, cinnamon, and pineapple fruit||Caramel sweetness with a hint of chocolate, vanilla, roasted honey, clove, pineapple, cherry, and apple cinammon|
|Finish||Oak, baking spice, and vanilla finish||Sweet caramel, vanilla, and oak spice|
|How It’s Served||Best consumed with cocktails||Best consumed on the rock or neat|
Buffalo Trace Bourbon
Production & Aging Process
Made from the mashbill #1, BT bourbon is a blended whiskey  from 25-30 casks (aged at least four years old), creating its great taste and flavor profile.
“Buffalo Trace is one of the world’s great whiskeys.”— Jim Murray, Journalist
After the fermented and distillation, it is transferred to charred oak barrels for aging (around 6 to 8 years) before bottling at 45% ABV.
You might find it hard to find Buffalo Trace bourbons nowadays due to limited bottle releases.
As Buffalo Trace bourbons undergo a 6- to 8-year aging process, the commodity isn’t sufficient for the demand.
Price Point & Value
At around $35 per 750ml (MSRP), Buffalo Trace is affordably priced, given its good quality and reputable brand.
Although it’s pricier than Benchmark’s, just look at how long it’s aged and its versatility on cocktails due to its interesting flavors, spice, and character.
Production & Aging Process
It is crafted using the low-rye (10% rye) mash  bill #1, fermented and distilled prior to aging using new charred oak barrels.
After (at least) 2 years of aging, Benchmark is bottled at 40% ABV, packed using an almost similar bottle as Jack Daniel’s.
Benchmark expressions are widely available; you can always find them in various liquor and retail stores.
Price Point & Value
At around $11 per 750ml (MSRP), Benchmark is a budget-friendly bourbon and a good deal of spirit.
Although it is from the prominent Buffalo Trace facility, the price is affordable, and this whiskey drink will suit any drinker’s budget.
Are There Any Similarities?
Buffalo Trace and Benchmark have similarities, as they’re both produced by the same distillery.
Also, as mentioned above, they’re made using the same mash bill and juice (low-rye mash bill #1).
Is Benchmark Bourbon An Affordable Option For Buffalo Trace?
Yes, Benchmark is an affordable option for Buffalo Trace.
Compared to other expressions from Buffalo Trace, Benchmark is cheaper, yet it contains the same mash as Weller, Blanton’s, and Van Winkle.
Fun Fact: McAfee brothers (James, George, and Robert) left Virginia Westward to explore and discover what we know today as Kentucky.
Is Benchmark bourbon made by Buffalo Trace?
Yes. Benchmark bourbons are made by Buffalo Trace under the Sazerac company. It is labeled as “McAfee’s Benchmark Old No 8.”
Is Buffalo Trace a better mixer than Benchmark bourbon?
Yes. Buffalo Trace can be a better mixer than Benchmark, depending on your preference. If you want juicy cocktails, opt for BT but if you want your drink tasty, go for Benchmark.
Buffalo Trace and Benchmark are both good and decent expressions.
BT is a well-rounded and well-balanced whiskey blend, while Benchmark is an easy drink– with little to no warmth.
If we’re going to choose between the two, we prefer Buffalo Trace over Benchmark.
We like its quality and character, given its affordable price point (compared to other same-aged spirits).
But, if you’re considering your budget, opt for Benchmark. It’s a decent choice, given its character and flavor profile, and the price range won’t surely break your bank.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.