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Basil Hayden vs Knob Creek Bourbon: Which is Better? (2023)

Basil Hayden vs Knob Creek

Last Updated on October 10, 2023 by Lydia Martin

Small-batch whiskeys commercially stand for the upper-premium market, and two of the famed brands are the eponymous Basil Hayden and the notable Knob Creek bourbon whiskey.

Although both flagships came from the same small batch collection, these two have a lot of differences starting from the used mash bill to their proof, and especially, their tasting profile.

Here’s our take on these two small-batch siblings, how they differ, and all the distinctions between Basil Hayden vs Knob Creek.

Knob Creek & Basil Hayden’s In-Depth Comparison 

Bottle of Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s with glass and cigarette

Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s bourbon are siblings from a small batch collection of whiskeys. However, Knob Creek has a bolder flavor profile than Basil Hayden’s.

Knob Creek uses a higher rye grain on its mash bill than Basil Hayden’s.

Also, it has a higher proof, but Basil Hayden’s bottle is more expensive than a bottle of Knob Creek.

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon 

Man Holding Bottle of Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Basil Hayden’s bourbon was introduced in 1992 by Booker Noe. The flagship was inspired by 1792 whiskey pioneer Meredith Basil Hayden Sr.

It uses a high rye mash bill (27 percent rye). After distillation, it is ’artfully aged’ in new American oak barrels and bottled at an entry-level proof of 80.

“Its (Knob Creek) flavor profile is as rich and deep as its history,”

– Adam Harris, Beam Suntory Senior Ambassador

Basil Hayden’s has a clear golden brown hue that delivers a charred oak with a nutty aroma and fruit notes, followed by the thin layers of the sweetness of brown sugar and dried fruits.

It ends with warm rye spice, little heat, and subtle sweet notes at a medium finish. Find out more about how long Basil Hayden is aged here

Alcohol Proof 80-proof 
Age Statement NAS (at least two years)
Palate Oak, brown sugar, vanilla, black pepper, dried fruit 
Color Golden Brown
Nose Charred oak, caramel, vanilla, apricot, almond 
Finish Medium finish, warm, rye spice, caramel
How It’s Served Neat 

Fun Facts

  • Basil Hayden is considered the “Father of High Rye Bourbon,” referred to as ’Old Grand-Dad.’
  • Basil Hayden bourbon has the same mash bill used for Old Grand-Dad. [1]
  • It won double gold in the 2017 New York International Spirits Competition.

Knob-Creek 9-Year Bourbon

Knob Creek 9yo Bourbon Bottle and a Glass on a wooden table

Knob Creek 9-year was also introduced in 1992 by Master Distiller Booker Noe. It is one of the Jim Beam small-batch bourbon brands.

Unlike Basil Hayden’s, Knob Creek uses a lower rye grain (13 percent rye) on its mash bill.

This straight bourbon is made from a small number of chosen barrels aged for nine years.

After maturation, Knob Creek imparts bolder flavors on the bourbon whiskey at 100-proof. It delivers sweet notes aroma with hints of baking spices.

The palate is thick with a creamy mouthfeel and is pleasantly warm with bolder notes of oak, vanilla, and sweet fruit with a long, satisfying finish.

Alcohol Proof 100-proof
Age Statement 9 years or longer
Palate Oak, caramel, vanilla, fruity, maple, rye spice, cinnamon
Color Deep copper to medium amber
Nose Caramel, vanilla, nutty, baking spices
Finish Long finish, dry, 
How It’s Served On the rocks, cocktails

Fun Facts

Do Knob Creek 9 & Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Have Similarities?

Bottles of Knob Creek 9 & Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

Yes, Knob Creek 9 and Basil Hayden’s bourbon have similarities. The two brands are owned by Beam Suntory, a Japanese multinational company that produces premium spirits.

These Knob Creek 9 and Basil Hayden’s bourbons are also distilled at the same distillery at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.

Basil Hayden’s vs Knob Creek 9-Year: Price Comparison

  Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Knob Creek 9-Year
Average Price Around $46 for 750ml Around $38 for 750ml

As stated in the table above, a bottle of Knob Creek is more affordable than a bottle of Basil Hayden’s bourbon. You can easily find both bottles in many local liquor stores. 

FAQs 

Are Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s the same bourbon?

No, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden’s are not the same bourbons. Even though it came from one bourbon whiskey distillery line, they differ in the mash content, proof, and taste.

Which is stronger, Basil Hayden’s or Knob Creek bourbon?

Knob Creek is a stronger bourbon than Basil Hayden’s. Knob Creek is bottled at full 100-proof, while Basil Hayden’s has a lighter body bottled at 80-proof.

Final Verdict

After multiple blind tastings, our team prefers the full-bodied, creamy bourbon from Knob Creek.

It has a solid punch with the layered sweetness of dram that balances the robust oak taste.

Plus, money-wise, Knob Creek has a more affordable bottle—but don’t get us wrong, we also like the flavor of Basil Hayden’s, but it lacks body due to its lower-proof and thin layer of flavors.

Knob Creek captures our palate because of its impressive taste, but both whiskeys are relatively easy to find at fair prices, making them a great everyday bourbon selection.

References:

  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joemicallef/2021/08/03/toast-basil-haydens-latest-innovation-is-a-brown-rice-based-bourbon/ 
  2. https://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/100 
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