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.