Basil Hayden — Review

Basil Hayden.  Popular whiskey, but overrated.
Basil Hayden. 


Basil Hayden leaves me wanting.  At 80 proof, it’s too light for someone who’s grown a fondness for serious, cask-strength bourbon.

But it’s lack of strength, potency may be an asset.

Company Specs:

  • Aged: Artfully Aged to Taste
  • Proof: 80
  • Mash Bill: 60% Corn, 30% Rye, 10% Barley Malt
  • Aroma: Spice, tea, hint of peppermint
  • Finish: Dry, clean, brief
  • Color: Golden amber
  • Taste: Spicy, peppery, honey, light-bodied, gentle bite
  • Award: Silver Medal Button

Tasting Grade: C

There is just not enough there for me to give it an above average mark.  It’s light.  If you drink bourbon on the rocks, it’s like that last sip of your drink, when the melted ice has watered down your whiskey to the point where it’s a shell of what it’s supposed to be.

And what is it supposed to be?  Well, those who drink Old Granddad 114 know exactly what it’s supposed to be or could be because they share the same mash bill.  And Old Granddad 114 (which actually bears the face of Basil Hayden) costs half as much and tastes twice as good.  Though, Old Granddad isn’t aged as long, apparently.

Value Rating: C

At around $40 one can do much better than Basil Hayden, and they don’t even have to jump from the Jim Beam family.  Knob Creek, Booker’s, are both better value buys than Basil Hayden.

However, for the bourbon neophyte, Basil Hayden is a great gateway.  Since it is so light, and relatively smooth, it’s an easy sipper and a nice mixer.

Overall Rating: C

I’ll pass on Basil Hayden, for myself.  But I’ll keep a bottle handy.  And it’s for the very reason I mentioned.  It’s a nice bourbon to give to newbies.  That out-of-town visitor, that friend of a friend, that curious customer, yup, giving them Basil Hayden is not a bad option.

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