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 Basil Hayden Kentucky 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.
Artfully Aged At A Relatively Mild 80 Proof, Basil Hayden’s® Is As Novel And Delectable A Bourbon Whiskey As It Was When The Master Distiller Rolled Out His First Barrel Over 200 Years Ago. Marked By A Rich Cascade Of Aromas And Flavors, Basil Hayden Kentucky Is Still A Small Batch Bourbon, But With Broader Appeal.
Bright peaches and ripe mixed berries jump right out. Further hunting brings forth light traces of oak, orange zest, and a smidge of white pepper. The scents are on the lighter side overall due to the low proof, yet they’re still easy to identify and appreciate.
The palate is understandably light due to the 80 proof that Beam bottles this at. Light vanilla, new wood, and peaches mingle together and form the entirety of the palate. While the 80 proof makes this incredibly easy to sip, the mouthfeel is noticeably thin, and even at the bottling proof, this seems lighter than average. A few additional proof points would have gone a long way to deepen the palate.
The finish is short and almost nonexistent, and ends almost as soon as it starts. Oak, light summer fruits, and a touch of corn grain along with new leather are present, but only after really hunting to find them. It’s reminiscent of a really watered down whiskey, which many would argue at 80 proof, that this is all it really is.
Basil Hayden’s is different in many ways from the other bottles in the Small Batch Collection. Positioned as a premium gateway bourbon, it’s proofed a whole 20 points lower than its next lowest sibling, Knob Creek. Additionally, it uses a different mash bill than the rest.