Is Basil Hayden a Good Bourbon and Why is it So Popular?

Written by Peoples Bourbon Review Staff |
Published on:

Basil Hayden Bourbon is among the top 10 best-selling bourbons in the United States. Yes, you heard that right, Top 10! But is Basil Hayden Bourbon good? With its rich history, distinctive bottle design, approachable taste profiles, and variety of offerings, Basil Hayden whiskeys are considered by many bourbon enthusiasts to be a good option for casual drinkers. Why do we say, casual drinkers?  

Is Basil Hayden Bourbon Good?

Basil Hayden's offerings have a soft and approachable flavor profile that appeals to those new to whiskey. Their bourbon is known for its smooth and light characteristics, with notes of caramel, vanilla, and a hint of spice. Their offerings often have a low alcohol content of 40% or 80 proof (the bare minimum for being labeled a bourbon), making it easy to sip and enjoy neat. These favorable characteristics make Basil Hayden Bourbon a good choice for those seeking a gentler bourbon experience.

The History of Basil Hayden Bourbon

Basil Hayden's Bourbon is named after the pioneer distiller Basil Hayden Sr., who began producing whiskey in Kentucky in the late 18th century. Known for his innovative approach and being a master of his craft, he used a unique mash bill and aging process that set his whiskey apart. He was also known for experimenting with different mash bills and techniques to create a whiskey with a distinctive character. Today, his legacy lives on as the Basil Hayden brand, which carries on his pioneering spirit and commitment to quality. 

Basil Hayden Whiskey Bottle Design

The Basil Hayden bottle is known for its distinctive and elegant design. The bottle has a tapered rectangular shape with a long neck and a cork stopper, giving it a classic and timeless appearance. However, the centerpiece of the design is the prominent copper-and-silver-toned "belt" and "BH" buckle in the center of the bottle. Additionally, the label often features the signature of Basil Hayden himself, adding a sense of authenticity and history to the brand. Overall, Basil Hayden has devised one of the most successful marketing efforts today simply through their creative bottle design. This design has contributed significantly to Basil Hayden being among the top 10 best-selling bourbons in the United States.

Exceptional Craftsmanship of Basil Hayden Bourbon

Basil Hayden produces a series of whiskies, including Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Dark Rye Whiskey, Aged 10 Year Bourbon, Toast, Malted Rye, Red Wine Cask Finish, and Subtle Smoke Bourbon. One of the defining characteristics of their flagship, Basil Hayden's Bourbon, is its unique mash bill. Unlike traditional bourbons, which typically use a higher percentage of corn, Basil Hayden's Bourbon incorporates a higher proportion of rye grain. This gives the whiskey a spicy and peppery flavor, setting it apart.

The master distillers at Basil Hayden carefully select and blend barrels to create a perfectly balanced and smooth bourbon. Each batch is aged to perfection, allowing the flavors to develop and harmonize. The result is a whiskey that is approachable for newcomers.

Tasting Notes

Basil Hayden Bourbon

Basil Hayden's Bourbon entices the senses with its enticing aroma and smooth, velvety texture. When you take your first sip, you'll be greeted with a delightful blend of flavors. It features a charred oak flavor complemented with sweet brown sugar, a touch of black pepper, and dried fruit to round it out. The charred oak finish is long and satisfying, with a touch of dried fruit, leaving a warm and lingering sensation on the palate.

Basil Hayden Dark Rye

Basil Hayden Dark Rye is a unique and intriguing offering from the brand. It combines the smoothness of their traditional bourbon with the boldness of rye whiskey, resulting in a rich and complex flavor profile. The dark fruits, vanilla, and baking spices blend harmoniously with the spiciness of the rye, creating a well-balanced and enjoyable sipping experience. The finish lingers with dried fruit with a hint of sweetness and rye spice. While it may not be as robust as some traditional ryes, it offers a mellow and approachable option for those exploring the rye category. 

Basil Hayden Aged 10 Years

Basil Hayden Aged 10 Years is an exceptional bourbon with a complex and rich flavor profile. The extended aging process lends a smoothness and depth of character to the whiskey, with notes of oak balanced by caramel sweetness and rye spice. It has a balanced sweetness and a long, warm finish that is lightly smoky with a subtle hint of char. 

Basil Hayden Toast

Basil Hayden Toast is a unique and flavorful bourbon that offers a well-balanced combination of sweet and spicy notes. The toasted brown rice finish adds a subtle nutty toasted wood and vanilla flavor, enhancing the overall complexity of the whiskey. With a light mouthfeel and approachable taste, Basil Hayden Toast is an excellent option for those new to the spirit.

Basil Hayden Malted Rye

Basil Hayden Malted Rye is a unique and delightful whiskey that stands out in the crowded rye market. Adding malted barley to the mash bill gives it a smooth and creamy mouthfeel while offering the spice and complexity expected from a rye whiskey. Its balanced flavors of cinnamon, sweet caramel, vanilla, and toasted rye bread make it a versatile and enjoyable spirit for both sipping neat or mixing into delicious cocktails. Its finish features delicate notes of chocolate and warm spice. Basil Hayden Malted Rye is a well-crafted and enjoyable addition to the Basil Hayden lineup.

Basil Hayden Red Wine Cask Finish

The Basil Hayden Red Wine Cask Finish is a unique and intriguing bourbon that takes on the influence of red wine casks during the finishing process. The bourbon is smooth and velvety, with aromatic notes of dried fruit with cherry, vanilla, and toasted oak. The taste features sweet ambrosia with complex levels of charred oak. The red wine cask finish adds a subtle sweetness and depth to the flavor profile, making it a well-rounded and enjoyable sip. 

Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke

Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke is a well-balanced bourbon with an aromatic hint of mellow smoke and sweet vanilla. The smoke flavor is not overpowering, allowing the other intricate notes of soft char, butterscotch, and maple to shine through. It is a smooth and enjoyable sip with a unique twist on the classic bourbon profile.

Approachable and Enjoyable

Basil Hayden's offerings are good for new bourbon enthusiasts because they provide a mild and approachable tasting experience. Additionally, Basil Hayden's lower proof point makes it an excellent choice for casual drinkers who prefer sipping their bourbon neat. 

Author: Peoples Bourbon Review Staff
The People's Bourbon Review - The ultimate Bourbon reviews and tasting notes by enthusiasts and the people.


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