Review No.33. Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

This is another heavily rye influence influenced bourbon.  If you have read my other reviews on bourbons you will be aware that rye imparts a peppery spicy characteristic to bourbon.  I am a not a huge fan of rye whiskies but can see how these characteristics can work well with the traditional sweet flavours normally associated with most bourbons.  Jim Beam own the Basil Hayden brand in this sits within the premium range of bourbons within their portfolio.  Alongside this they also own Knob Creek, Baker’s and Booker’s Noe bourbons within the premium category.  Reviews of these will follow in the coming days.


Whisky: Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, 40% vol.

Nose: Tingly citrus, grass, hay, herbs, white chocolate, vanilla custard

Taste: Caramel, vanilla, nuts, pepper

Finish: Crisp and herbal

Score: 2.75

Summary: The nose on this is unique.  I was expecting alcohol heat and peppery spice which associate with rye heavy bourbons or rye whiskies.  Basil Hayden’s was the complete opposite, more delicate and sprite like it freshly opened bottle of soda water.  The aromas are so different to other bourbons I have tried which is why this one always stands out to me.  The lightness is probably helped by the fact that it is bottled at 40% and this where the problems show.  All the promise on the nose is not delivered on the taste, the citrus, herb and light sweetness dissipates once you start drinking it.  One I recommend you try at a bar or as a sample before you buy.



Scoring scale: My scores reflect a balance of the overall experience, availability and cost for a whisky,

1 – not to my preference

2 – tastes fine but does not excite me

3 – more to my liking and would revisit occasionally

4 – very much to my liking and would consider as a regular feature on my whisky shelf

5 – permanent feature on my whisky shelf


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