It's #bourbonadvent day 14 and today's dram is something from a more reliable source - Benchmark bourbon. Made by Buffalo Trace using their #1 low rye mashbill Benchmark goes into the barrel as the same white dog that will become Buffalo Trace, Eagle Rare, Eagle Rare 17 and George T Stagg. Buffalo Trace's response to the affordable whiskey market I've never tasted this bourbon before so I'm looking forward to seeing how it holds up neat. . Nose: the nose opens with classic mashbill 1 notes of rich toffee, vanilla bean, dark cherries, fruity cinnamon spice, and dry smoky oak . Palate: the palate opens with toffee, followed by subtle baking spice, cherries, and dry smoky oak. . The finish is smooth with caramel, cherries and an aftertaste of dry oak, faint dark chocolate, and cinnamon. . This dram caught me by surprise. Having never had Benchmark Old No.8 before it's cheap price and cult status as Buffalo Trace's budget bourbon didn't fill me with hope for anything special. I was, however, wrong. Unlike other budget bourbons that are usually rough, faint tasting, water thin and begging for a mixer to be added, this bourbon was thick, flavourful and completely enjoyable neat. I honestly wasn't expecting it to be this drinkable, in fact I could probably finish a bottle of this in a few sitting it's that enjoyable. It's very reminiscent of bourbons like Eagle Rare and has plenty of dark cherries and rich toffee like its older brother George T Stagg. I'd highly recommend this to beginners and those curious about bourbon.