Cocktail Recipes, Spirits, and Local Bars

Basil Hayden’s: An Easily Adaptable Bourbon

Basil Hayden’s: An Easily Adaptable Bourbon

What I like most about Basil Hayden’s is its diversity. I enjoyed it neat as much as I did mixed into a cocktail

The recipe used to distill Basil Hayden’s dates back more than 200 years.

I tend to lump my Bourbons into two distinct categories: those I like to drink neat or on the rocks, and those I use in cocktails. Often the ones at the lower end of the price spectrum aren’t as palatable neat, whereas I’m often loathe to mix higher-end bourbons with anything. So when I sat down to taste Basil Hayden’s, I tried it both ways and really wondered where I’d land with it.

The recipe used to distill Basil Hayden’s dates back more than 200 years. It’s made from both rye and corn to create a Bourbon with a wider flavor profile, and to this day they still use that same recipe. Sipping it neat I found an appealing nose laced with toasted hazelnut and chamomile tea. The palate is layered and generous, stuffed with gentle wave after wave of apricot, peach, and white pepper. The finish is mellifluous and pleasing with more pepper, hints of gingerbread, and a touch of soft heat that reverberates persistently. It has some of that classic bourbon bite, but it’s smoother than most in this category. Next I made cocktails using several recipes on the Basil Hayden’s website. One of them stood out to me in particular and that recipe follows below. It’s a great summer drink, andI recommend putting a pitcher of it together for a party or BBQ — and with a suggested retail price of $36.99, it won’t set you back too much to provide for all your guests.

What I like most about Basil Hayden’s is its diversity. I enjoyed it neat as much as I did mixed into a cocktail. For the price point it’s easy to justify mixing it into cocktails, too. For me that means it’s a very useful bourbon to keep on my shelf; think of it as the super-utility player of whiskeys that will step into whatever position you need it to. It’s not very often that I find a spirit that sits right at the intersection of value and complexity, but Basil Hayden’s does. Bottom line: this is delicious bourbon that you should be drinking, however you choose.

Recipe for Basil Hayden’s Nine to Five Punch

Ingredients:

12 parts Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

5 parts pineapple juice

3½ parts lemon juice

4 parts maple syrup

5 dashes bitters

33 parts club soda

Directions:

Add Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, pineapple juice, lemon juice, maple syrup and bitters in a medium punch bowl. Stir ingredients until maple syrup has fully dissolved. Add a few large ice cubes, sparkling water, and float lemon and pineapple slices on top.


Basil Hayden’s Straight Kentucky Bourbon

This review is based upon a small sample provided to me from the personal collection of J. L. Wheelock, who is part of the Beam Global team here in Alberta. The sample was smaller than my normal 200 ml minimum sample size, and the reader should be cautioned that I was not able to give the sample my normal rigorous tasting regimen of five independent tasting sessions. Instead I completed two tasting sessions of the sample and did no cocktail explorations.

Basil Hayden’s is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. This collection is composed of Knob Creek, Booker’s, Basil Hayden’s, and Baker’s, and is considered by Jim Beam Distillers to be a selection of ‘ultra-premium’ bourbon whiskeys. This selection of bourbon whiskeys was created to establish a high-end category for bourbon, and thus to appeal to the serious whiskey aficionado.

Basil Hayden’s is unique in that it is produced from a distilling mash which has an especially high rye content, twice as much rye in fact as would normally be used in a Jim Beam Bourbon Whiskey. The Basil Hayden’s is aged in American white oak for 8 years, and then bottled at 40 % alcohol by volume.


Basil Hayden's Bourbon

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon is one of four bourbons that comprise Jim Beam’s Small Batch Bourbon Collection. The others are Knob Creek, Baker’s Bourbon, and Booker’s Bourbon. Basil Hayden’s falls first in line proof-wise at 80 proof. While the other three bourbons in the Small Batch Collection all share the same mashbill of 77% corn, 13% rye, and 10% malted barley, Basil Hayden’s is created using Jim Beam’s high-rye mashbill that is found in Old Grand-Dad and Old Grand-Dad 114.

Basil Hayden’s is named after the late Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. who was known for his use of high rye bourbon mashbills.

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 mashbill than the rest. One trait it does share with Knob Creek and Booker’s Bourbon, is that it also lost its age statement (8 Year) in 2014. It’s rumored to be bottled at a higher age than Old Grand-Dad, but without an actual age statement it’s hard to trust much in that rumor.

The one saving grace is that the higher rye content does however give it a different and more easily approachable flavor profile than the rest of the Small Batch Collection, albeit even if it’s extremely weak. The assumption is that Beam is trying to appeal to new bourbon drinkers who are looking for a flashier looking bottle with a lower proof. While Basil Hayden’s may win on style points, there are plenty of other bourbons on the market that offer an approachable entry level experience at a much better price.

A slick bottle design and easy sip position Basil Hayden’s to be a good gateway bourbon, yet its MSRP is a still a head scratcher. The lowest proof in Beam’s Small Batch Collection, it carries quite a premium price tag for a non-age stated 80 proof bourbon. For a few dollars less you can get a fuller flavor Knob Creek or for about the same price, you can get a Knob Creek Single Barrel, which offers an exceptional value for what it delivers. Logical reasoning would go that Beam would hook people in with a easy to drink low proof bourbon at a lower price tag and get consumers to move up the value chain with higher proof bolder bourbons as their palates and curiosities expand. However, Beam takes the opposite approach with Basil Hayden’s pricing.

On top of that, if you love the Jim Beam high rye mash bill but want a higher proof, you can always pick up a bottle of Old Grand-Dad 114 for less. Yes, Old Grand-Dad is often overlooked on shelves due to its association as an old man’s bourbon, but that’s really a shame since the bourbon is just as approachable. Sure Basil Hayden’s comes in a bottle that conveys a much more premium product versus the Old Grand-Dad line, but a great bottle design shouldn’t equate to an inflated MSRP.

The gateway bourbon of the Small Batch Collection, Basil Hayden’s falls short where it counts.

Basil Hayden’s is a gateway bourbon for many, myself included. When I first started my bourbon journey while living in Kentucky, I wanted something easy to drink and also something that stood out amongst the rest of the bottles on the shelf. Enter Basil Hayden’s. An approachable bourbon that had a bottle that looked completely different than the rest and conveyed a feeling of a premium product.
Fast forward over a decade, and while Basil Hayden’s still stands out, it doesn’t shine as bright as it used to. Part of this is the fact that bourbon bottle design has really come a long way as distilleries up their marketing game, but more so is the fact that Basil Hayden’s just doesn’t deliver a solid pour. The lighter flavor profile starts strong but quickly fades as you work your way through the sip. Additionally, its over inflated price tag, along with its loss of an age statement makes this a much harder bourbon to recommend these days. Nostalgia will always allow me to hold a soft spot in my heart for Basil Hayden’s, but like many nostalgic things in life, it’s sometimes best to leave them to memory versus trying to recapture that initial magic.


② Age

Age is another big factor with respect to pairings. The more time a bourbon spends in a charred new oak barrel, the more you’ll taste primary flavors like grain, fruit and flowers. Less time in the wood means more subtle flavors and a better fit for lighter dishes.

In general, higher proof means older, richer bourbons, and lower proof means younger, lighter bourbons. I consider 12 years the cutoff for food-friendly bourbons anything older and you’ll taste the wood.

With that in mind, here are some basic guidelines:

Fish, shellfish and lighter vegetarian fare: 80-plus proof and three- to six-year-old bourbons

Pork, poultry, and game: 90-plus proof and seven- to nine-year-old bourbons

Beef, lamb and other red meat: 100 proof and 10- to 12-year-old bourbons

Cheese and dessert: 80-plus proof and three- to six-year-old bourbons

After dinner/digestif: 107-plus proof and 10-year-old bourbons and older


Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

I must confess that Basil Hayden’s has had me a bit dumbfounded since I first broke the seal on this bottle. This is my first time sipping Hayden’s, and so I drank it the way I like to drink lots of my bourbons: with a lot of ice.

I was disappointed. I found it to be watery and extremely mild on my initial tasting of it. Instead of writing off Hayden’s as a bourbon that I don’t like, I began to research it to see how I might be approaching this bourbon wrong.

I had the incredible chance to attend New Mexico Cocktails and Culture this past weekend, and one of the speakers was Beam’s Master Mixologist Bobby G. Basil Hayden’s is a Beam product, so I asked him about it. Bobby told me two things that were helpful: First, Basil Hayden’s is a very mild bourbon, so it should be sipped neat and not on the rocks. Second, it’s the Beam bourbon that has tested to be the most popular with women.

From there, I consulted my favorite bourbon book: Bourbon Curious by Fred Minnick. There is a summary of Basil Hayden’s overall: founded in 1992, owner by Beam Suntory, and named after a famous Kentuckian. But then, a little earlier in the book, under Tricks to Getting Used to Bourbon, I read: “My favorite starter bourbon is Basil Hayden’s, because it’s 80 proof and carries some nuances.”

There you go. Basil Hayden’s is a mild, approachable starter bourbon with notes of citrus (especially orange) and mild tea with basically no spice. Enjoying it neat or in a 3:1 Manhattan is a great way to ease someone into the world of bourbon.


Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

I must confess that Basil Hayden’s has had me a bit dumbfounded since I first broke the seal on this bottle. This is my first time sipping Hayden’s, and so I drank it the way I like to drink lots of my bourbons: with a lot of ice.

I was disappointed. I found it to be watery and extremely mild on my initial tasting of it. Instead of writing off Hayden’s as a bourbon that I don’t like, I began to research it to see how I might be approaching this bourbon wrong.

I had the incredible chance to attend New Mexico Cocktails and Culture this past weekend, and one of the speakers was Beam’s Master Mixologist Bobby G. Basil Hayden’s is a Beam product, so I asked him about it. Bobby told me two things that were helpful: First, Basil Hayden’s is a very mild bourbon, so it should be sipped neat and not on the rocks. Second, it’s the Beam bourbon that has tested to be the most popular with women.

From there, I consulted my favorite bourbon book: Bourbon Curious by Fred Minnick. There is a summary of Basil Hayden’s overall: founded in 1992, owner by Beam Suntory, and named after a famous Kentuckian. But then, a little earlier in the book, under Tricks to Getting Used to Bourbon, I read: “My favorite starter bourbon is Basil Hayden’s, because it’s 80 proof and carries some nuances.”

There you go. Basil Hayden’s is a mild, approachable starter bourbon with notes of citrus (especially orange) and mild tea with basically no spice. Enjoying it neat or in a 3:1 Manhattan is a great way to ease someone into the world of bourbon.


Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

Description:
Basil Hayden’s Bourbon whiskey is artfully aged, light and easy to sip. The finished result is a delicious and clean finish.

Color– Golden brown
Nose– Charred, sweet vanilla, caramel and dried fruit
Taste– Charred oak, sweet brown sugar, black pepper, dried fruit
Finish– Charred oak, dried fruit

About the Distillery
Basil Hayden’s was introduced by Beam Suntory in 1992. Basil Hayden’s is part of Beam Industries small batch collection also includes Knob Creek, Baker’s and Booker’s.

American Bourbon Reviews:
Tobin’s Review 4 out of 5
Basil Hayden’s Bourbon has a nice bright caramel hue with aromas of burnt orange, sweet vanilla wood and iced tea. The bourbon is soft with flavors of sweet maple, sugar, honey and a hint of wood. This bourbon is good both with and without a drop of water.

Have you had this Bourbon? Comment below and share your thoughts on this bourbon!


Who Was Basil Hayden?

The Beginnings

The Hayden family’s history can be traced all the way back to England in the aftermath of the Norman conquest.

One of their ancestors, Simon de Heydon (Heydon being the original spelling of the name), was actually knighted by King Richard the Lionheart himself. This occurred in the late 12th century during the Third Crusade for the Holy Land.

Thomas de Heydon, who was his son, had been named Justice Itinerant by King Henry III.

In the 1400s, another ancestor by the name of John Heydon owned a large, prestigious estate found in Watford (Hertfordshire).

The property was dubbed “The Grove” and was set around 20 miles NW of London.

According to some researchers, he inherited the estate from his father, Sir Richard de Heydon, who himself had earned it thanks to his services during the French Wars. Sir Richard died serving in this same war.

The 16 th Century

The 16 th century was quite a tormented period for the Haydens.

England suddenly became very unwelcoming for Catholics, especially after King Henry VIII’s conflict with the Pope of Rome.

Consequently, the Heydons decided to emigrate and moved in the 1660s to the Virginia Colony in America.

The 18 th Century

A couple of years later, they moved north to Maryland where the colony openly embraced Catholics.

The Hayden’s lived in St. Clement’s Bay in St. Mary’s County. Here, Basil Hayden was born in the mid 18th century. He was involved in mercantile trades, and historians believe he might have brought provisions for the Colonial Army.

Soon after America gained its independence from Britain in 1785, Basil led a group of 25 Catholic families out of Maryland.

He took them all the way South to an area known today as Nelson County, Kentucky. Nelson County is located next to Bardstown.

There they named the territory Greenbrier Station.

Their move sparked a starting point for agriculture in the land west of the Appalachian Mountains.

This is the place where Basil Hayden had set up a farm and cleared his plot. Apparently, this is the moment when he also started distilling (though on a minor level). According to some accounts, he was famous for using more rye in his bourbon than other whiskey and bourbon distillers.

Another thing which cemented his history is the fact that he donated land for a church.

This was the first Catholic church west of the Alleghenies and the first one in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

The 19 th Century

After he died, his son Lewis carried on the family’s tradition. This transition leads us into the 1820s.

Lewis married a woman named Polly who came from the Dant family. The Dants were also in the whiskey-making business.

The 1830 census shows Lewis as living somewhere in the Nelson County, together with his wife, 10 children and probably his mother.

In the 1840s, he died and one of his sons carried on the tradition. Raymond Bishop Hayden was born in 1821. The U.S. Census shows that he never married and lived with other family members.

He is a particularly important character and led the family business to financial success.

He founded the R. B. Hayden & Company distillery in 1882. The distillery was quite a big one, mashing 100 bushels daily and storing 7,000 barrels.

This is the point where we get the first Old Grand-Dad brand, which was named to honor R. B.’s grandfather and originator, Basil Hayden.


Packaging

There’s a lot going on here.

The glass bottle itself is about as plain as you can get. It’s pretty much a wine bottle, capped off with a synthetic and plastic stopper. But there’s a ton of stuff they added on top of that basic bottle.

The first thing you’ll notice is the paper poncho that they have draped over the bottle. It’s yellowed to look like an old fashioned printed parchment paper and the older style font backs up that notion… even though the brand itself is young enough that dot matrix printers were around when it was founded. That paper poncho is glued down at both ends, but it’s a unique feature that stands out on a shelf and gets noticed.

Also standing out and getting noticed is the metallic belly band that this thing is wearing. Embossed with the Basil Hayden name and wearing a ‘bH’ belt buckle, it’s shiny and invites people to touch it — which is a smart move, since people are scientifically more likely to buy something after they touch it.

Back up top, the stopper is wrapped in foil like a champagne cork, but without the same easy-opening pull tabs. It takes a second to figure it out the first time.

As soon as you pour yourself a glass, those sweet butterscotch notes are immediately noticeable with a touch of added honey. Give it a second and you’ll also see some orange citrus thrown in for good measure. It’s fragrant and sweet, with the orange notes strong enough to be noticeable but not so heavy as to be oppressive.

The flavor of the whiskey starts out a little light, mainly just a bit of caramel, some vanilla, and a touch of honey. It’s sweet, but there’s not much body to it. As the liquid sits in your mouth, though, those flavors start to become richer and bolder with some oak flavors thrown in, as well as a bit of nutmeg.

It finishes with that peppery spice we were promised, which is a tone that stays with you for a short while after it’s all said and done. Overall it’s a sweet, light, and delicious experience without any bitterness or bite.


Ready For Some Arr & R? Basil Hayden Releases Caribbean Reserve Rye

Basil Hayden is taking its fans on a Caribbean journey with a new rye whiskey expression, Caribbean Reserve Rye.

The new expression blends two rye whiskies together before finishing it in black strap rum. Basil Hayden hopes the expression will help push the boundaries between the two categories and offers whiskey drinkers a fun new drink to play with this summer.

“With the release of Caribbean Reserve Rye, we wanted to give our fans a fun whiskey expression that you can bring out and share during warmer weather occasions, whether that’s mixing it up at an outdoor barbecue or gifting it for a housewarming celebration,” said Rob Mason, Beam Suntory vice president of marketing, whiskey.

“As a brand that has always broken traditional whiskey expectations, we’re excited to help our fans discover new, interesting ways to enjoy the rye category, and Caribbean Reserve Rye does just that.”

Basil Hayden Caribbean Reserve Rye is a blend of an 8-year-old Kentucky straight rye whiskey with a 4-year-old Canadian Rye Whisky, leading to a layered blended whiskey with spice, oak, and vanilla. The addition of black strap rum adds the characteristic sweet notes of brown sugar and molasses to the finished product.

With the spice of rye and the sweetness of rum, the balance is sure to be approachable for drinkers of both spirits. Basil Hayden suggests sipping neat, on the rocks, or in a summer cocktail, likely working well in both rum and whiskey drinks.

The new expression builds on the brand’s permanent Basil Hayden Dark Rye and is the third in a line of limited-edition rye whiskies released, led by Basil Hayden’s Rye Whiskey and Basil Hayden’s Two by Two Rye Whiskey . Dark Rye is the Kentucky rye blended with Canadian rye, finished with a “touch of California port.” Two by Two is a blend of approximately 20% bourbon and 80% rye.

Basil Hayden originally released Basil Hayden Rye Whiskey in 2017, and was not a far stretch for the bourbon distiller with an already high rye mash bill.


Watch the video: Uncorking Basil Haydens 10 Year Bourbon - LIVE (January 2022).