Liquor Laboratory

Benchmark Bourbon vs Jim Beam: Which is Better? (2024)

Benchmark Bourbon vs Jim Beam

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Complexity, taste, and finish make a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey stand out compared to other regular whiskeys in the US.

Bourbons like Benchmark and Jim Beam take pride in their different rich history, distinct flavor, and price point.

Let’s discover the remarkable differences between Benchmark Bourbon vs Jim Beam. Read on.

Jim Beam & Benchmark Bourbon In-Depth Comparison

Jim Beam & Benchmark Bourbon on Table

Jim Beam and Benchmark bourbon are two different bourbons made in the same state of Kentucky, but Jim Beam is distilled and bottled at Clermont, while Benchmark is in Frankfort.

Jim Beam’s tasting profile has more body with balanced classic notes of oak spice and vanilla, while Benchmark has a lighter profile with more fruit and caramel notes ideal for neat drinking.

Both bourbons are affordable, but a bottle of Benchmark bourbon is cheaper than a bottle of Jim Beam.

Notable Differences

Jim Beam Bourbon

PalateMedium-bodied with toasted oak, vanilla, oak spice, and caramel
ColorBurnt amber hue
NoseSweet aroma, oaky vanilla, caramel, and spicy backdrop
FinishShort to medium warm finish, vanilla, oak spice
How To ServeHighball cocktails
Comparable ToJack Daniel’s, Evan Williams, Wild Turkey, Bulleit Bourbon

Jim Beam is a budget bourbon with classic oak, vanilla, and spice notes.

It is a straight bourbon with no additives [1], resulting in a “not complex but all-balanced” bourbon.

You can savor it neat, but we recommend it as a base for making concoctions.

The spice and oaky notes are perfect for mixing highball cocktails with sodas such as Cola and ginger ale.

Alcohol Content: 40%

Fun Facts:

  • It has a mash bill of 75% corn, 13% rye, and 12% barley.
  • Jim Beam uses a more than 220-year-old traditional recipe.
  • It is distilled twice before aging in a level-4 new char oak barrel.
  • Aged at least four years.
  • Beam Suntory, an American Japanese multinational company, owns Jim Beam. [2]
  • The top best-selling bourbon around the globe.

Read: Jim Beam vs Maker’s Mark

Benchmark Bourbon

Benchmark Bourbon Bottle
PalateLight-bodied, vanilla, caramel, fruit notes, and roasted oak
ColorMedium amber hue
NoseLots of caramel notes and vanilla, with subtle fruit notes backdrop
FinishShort, smooth finish with lingering sweet notes 
How To ServeNeat, cocktails
Comparable ToBuffalo Trace, Jack Daniel’s, Evan Williams

Benchmark is ideal for those who want to try bourbon for the first time. For its price, Benchmark bourbon sets a good standard for an inexpensive, entry-level bourbon. 

“…we’re not really surprised by the results of this taste test, which proves that bourbon can be really special and affordable at the same time.”

– Fred Noe, Master Distiller

You can make cocktails with it, but Benchmark bourbons’ light, sweet and easy-to-sip profile is great to enjoy neatly in a rocks glass. 

Alcohol Content: 40%

Fun Facts:

  • It uses Mash Bill #1 of BuffaloTrace, known as the “low rye mash bill.”
  • Its flagship is named after the McAfee Brothers, James, George, and Robert.
  • Distilled and bottled at the world’s oldest working distillery, the Buffalo Trace distillery.
  • Aged at least 36 months.
  • It is owned by the Sazerac Company, which also owns the famous Van Winkle, Blanton’s, Buffalo Trace, and Eagle Rare.

Benchmark vs Jim Beam Price

Benchmark bourbon is cheaper at around $11(Drizly) per bottle, while Jim Beam costs roughly $17 (Drizly) at 750ml, 80-proof bottle.

But even though Jim Beam is pricier, it is more popular than Benchmark bourbons. Jim Beam is one of the best-selling bourbons in the US and worldwide.

Both still have affordable prices and are good selections for bourbons under $50.

FAQs Related to Benchmark Bourbon vs Jim Beam

What distinguishes Benchmark Bourbon from Jim Beam?

Benchmark Bourbon and Jim Beam are both Kentucky bourbons, but they differ in flavor profile, aging process, and brand heritage.

Which bourbon is smoother, Benchmark or Jim Beam?

Smoothness can be subjective, but Benchmark Bourbon tends to have a milder flavor profile compared to Jim Beam, which some may perceive as smoother.

Can I use Benchmark Bourbon and Jim Beam interchangeably in cocktails?

Yes, both Benchmark Bourbon and Jim Beam can be used interchangeably in cocktails, as they are both versatile spirits suitable for mixing.

Which bourbon is better for sipping neat, Benchmark or Jim Beam?

Benchmark Bourbon is generally considered more approachable for sipping neat due to its milder flavor profile, while Jim Beam may appeal to those who enjoy bolder flavors.

What are the main flavor differences between Benchmark Bourbon and Jim Beam?

Benchmark Bourbon tends to have subtle vanilla and caramel notes, while Jim Beam 
often features a stronger oak and char flavor profile with hints of spice.

Is Benchmark Bourbon more affordable than Jim Beam?

Benchmark Bourbon is typically more budget-friendly than Jim Beam, making it a popular choice for those seeking a quality bourbon at a lower price point.

Are there any limited edition releases or special editions for Benchmark Bourbon and Jim Beam?

While Jim Beam occasionally releases limited edition or special edition bottlings, Benchmark Bourbon primarily focuses on its core expression without many limited releases.

Final Verdict

Benchmark and Jim Beam Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey showed product excellency in each different way. 

Jim Beam bourbon is commendable for having a bolder tasting profile which can give a better kick and the solid punch you need in making cocktails.

But budget-wise, we’re giving it to Benchmark bourbon. This smooth, easy sipper bourbon makes an affordable entry-level for those who want to try bourbon for the first time.


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