Benchmark - Special Small Barrel Aged

This is something a little bit different. It is a version of Benchmark which a good friend put into a small 3 liter oak barrel for further aging. The idea behind these small barrels is that you get roughly one year of “aging” from every month the juice is in the small barrel. I didn’t take notes while tasting this, so I’m going from memory.

Nose: The nose didn’t seem to change all that much from being in the small barrel. Palate: The extra time in the small barrel seemed to sweeten it up a bit, as well as mellowing it. After a few sips, I thought I detected similarities to Buffalo Trace. Since Benchmark is distilled by Buffalo Trace, but is younger, it stands to reason that a little extra aging might make it taste like the older Buffalo Trace. Comments: The purpose of this review wasn’t so much to actually review the product as to highlight the process. My friend put a 1.75 bottle of Benchmark (which you can get for around $18) into the 3 liter barrel. The barrel had been used before. The barrel comes as a “kit” and he charred it himself. He put the juice in at the beginning of June, and it has been in the barrel for about a month and half. Even that short a period of time definitely changed the flavor of the original juice. The fun part of this type of “kit” is that you can taste it at different stages (ages) and determine for yourself when it has been in long enough. You can then “stop” the aging by removing it from the barrel (and bottling it, if you like). I have another friend/reader who has also done this with “white dog”…..basically, the non—aged juice that certain distillers sell. It is very close to “moonshine” and is the product that the distiller puts into HIS barrels to produce bourbon. This obviously needs to be aged longer because it isn’t aged going into the barrel. Unlike regular bourbon production, the “kit” barrels can be used multiple times, although they do recommend that you re-charr it after doing so a few times.