Bourbon Review: Basil Hayden’s


I have had a bottle of Basil Hayden sitting on our bar cart for over a year, unopened.  After opening it the other night I am not sure WHY I waited so long.

I didn’t know what to expect, as I had never tasted it or read a review. I’m actually not really sure why I originally bought it — maybe the packaging.  But I have heard a lot of good things recently, and it turns out they were all true. Taylor wrote about Basil Hayden’s in her guest post earlier this week – it’s a favorite at her house, and now mine too.

What an incredibly smooth bourbon!  I am putting it on the same pedestal with the best.  I starting sipping while working on another blog post and I had to stop and savor the moment.  It reminded me of the first time I tasted Pappy (which I’ll talk more about in a couple weeks).  It was one of those moments when you say to yourself, “This is a special moment, stop and enjoy it.”

The History (from their website):

In 1796, Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. broke ‘the rules’ by mixing small grains into the mash of a traditional corn base. A Maryland transplant unafraid to stand out amidst the residing establishment, Basil conjectured that the spicy flavor of rye would be a striking complement to the sweet smoothness of corn in his distillery’s standard bourbon. And much to the chagrin of the traditionalist set, Basil was right. His recipe was a masterpiece, resulting in a unique, singular small batch bourbon whiskey that was blessed with rich hints of peppermint, notes of pepper, slight citrus overtones, and a spicy, warming finish.

I have to agree with their notes of strong pepper and a spicy aroma.  As it sits on the granite counter by my keyboard, it has a wonderful smell and color to enjoy.  Each sip brings new tastes and a warmth with the finish.  I can’t say enough about how much I have enjoyed this bourbon.

In their notes they say, “Basil Hayden’s is the lightest bodied bourbon whiskey in the family of Jim Beam small batch bourbons produced by Beam Suntory.”  It is that light body that makes it soft and a great sipping whiskey.  I just wish it would cool off again here in California so I could build a fire to sit by and enjoy this wonderful bourbon.  Pick up a bottle and enjoy it this weekend!

Age: 8 years
Proof: 80
Color: Golden amber
Aroma: Spice, tea, hint of peppermint
Taste: Spicy, peppery, honey, light-bodied, gentle bite
Price: $38.99 BevMo


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