In our earlier years of bourbon drinking, we consumed enough Jim Beam to kill a horse, as they say. Little did we know that a few years later, we would still be appreciating a fine aged bourbon at over twice the price, one in fact owned by Jim Beam.
The legend of Basil Hayden is a familiar story, one well-honed by the marketing geniuses at Beam. Basil was a transplant to the hills of Kentucky from the great Commonwealth of Maryland. He built a small distillery and began making Bourbon with a healthy dose of rye in his mash, something that was rare at the time. The spiciness of his Bourbon made him famous, however not famous enough to endure the ages as the brand was dormant for about 2 centuries before it was reinvented by Beam as a "Small Batch" bourbon.
The big distilleries like Beam have many brands that they have created in this Whiskey boom, all resting on the marketing stories conjured of these old bourbon masters from the 1800s. In this case, even though the story is thin, the Bourbon is anything but.
Here's our Review-
Basil Hayden's, 80 Proof, Approximately $40 a bottle, 8 Years aged, Mashbill reported to have about 30% Rye.
Color- a Nice, golden Amber
Nose- The nose has a spiciness, with a mix of minty tea and caramel
Taste- The taste follow through with spiciness up front, then honey, brown sugar and vanilla, and a bit of pepper. There is a mild burn up front and then a nice texture on the tongue of spicy and sweet.
Finish- The finish is surprisingly short and not complex. All of the burn is on the tongue and very little on the throat. There's a lingering note of honey at the end but it's very faint.
Overall a nice Bourbon. It's a very mild one with none of the complexity of other Bourbons that we've tasted. That makes it an easy drinker but not one that inspires alot of passion for Whiskey.And while it is a Small batch, it's not a Single Barrel, so you're likely to get consistency from bottle to bottle, which means no surprises (good or bad). Ms Lodge does use Basil for her world-famous Mint Juleps and we have to say they're pretty, pretty good.
On it's own, we'd say that Basil's is an 85 out of 100.