Last Updated on December 29, 2022 by Lydia Martin
Basil Hayden’s bourbon is a distilled spirit that bridges the flavor of small-batch bourbon and rye whiskey.
Launched in 1992 as part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, let’s take a closer look at Basil Hayden – price, production process, and blend.
Everything About Basil Hayden
Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon is a light-bodied bourbon named after Meredith Basil Hayden Sr. It’s a straightforward bourbon with rich, spicy rye flavors at a reasonable price.
Basil Hayden whiskey is known as a lesser-known family member of James B. Beam Distilling Co., but it has its own identity.
It may not be as hardcore as its kin, but Basil Hayden has special tasting notes, mash bill, and production processes different from other bourbon whiskeys.
Did You Know?
History & Origin
Basil Hayden is a 90s bourbon.
This bourbon was crafted in 1992 by Booker Noe, a sixth-generation Beam master distiller. It was inspired by Meredith Basil Hayden Sr., a farmer and whiskey pioneer from the 18th century.
In 1796, Meredith created an innovation on his distilled spirit by incorporating a high percentage of rye on its grain bill.
Production & Maturation Process
Unlike other bourbon whiskeys on the market, Basil Hayden’s Straight Bourbon has a deeper and richer flavor drawn from deep roots. Basil Hayden is artfully aged using the re-barreling technique and does not bear an age statement.
After aging the bourbon for four years, it is transferred to a new charred oak barrel to age for another seven years.
Basil Hayden contains at least 51% corn on its mash bill as a requirement in bourbon production .
The percentage breakdown on its mash bill is undisclosed; however, the common speculation is that it is similar to Old Grand Dad’s grain bill . It may contain 63% corn, 27% rye, and 10% malted barley.
Ownership & Distillery
Beam Suntory owns Basil Hayden Kentucky bourbon, and the distillery that produces the bourbon whiskey is James B. Beam Distilling Co.
The bourbon whiskey began in 1992 as part of their Small Batch collection.
Read: Basil Hayden Bourbon vs Woodford Reserve
Basil Hayden has a rich, charred oak flavor with hints of brown sugar, dried fruit, citrus, caramel, and a touch of black pepper.
As we enjoyed the bourbon neat, the hint of rye spice, orange notes, and light oak hit the front palate. It expands as you savor it, with balanced notes of vanilla, peach, honey, and orange marmalade.
The Basil Hayden Kentucky Bourbon has a pale caramel to golden brown color that comes from its unique aging process.
While it does not carry an age statement, the color indicates that it is aged longer than two years in oak barrels.
Basil Hayden has a mild, uncomplicated nose with a hint of cooked fruit, vanilla, apricot, light mint, and oak.
The lower ABV contributes to the aroma of Basil Hayden, and as it sits in the glass, the aroma of vanilla and rye spice lingers.
But what bourbons are similar to Basil Hayden?
Basil Hayden has a pleasant and lingering finish with a touch of rye spice, the sweetness of caramel, and fruity smoke overtones.
The caramel, oak, vanilla, and spice quickly fade as expected, but the straightforward and bold flavors of the bourbon linger longer.
Previous Releases No Longer In Stores
- Basil Hayden x Wildsam: Points of Interest
- Basil Hayden: Two by Two Rye
- Basil Hayden: Rye Whiskey
- Basil Hayden Rye: Aged 10 Years
- Basil Hayden: Caribbean Reserve
Common Basil Hayden Prices
|Type||Size||Alcohol By Volume||Average Price|
|Basil Hayden Kentucky StraightBourbon Whiskey||375 mL||40%||$24.39|
|Basil Hayden Dark Rye||750 mL||40%||$46.99|
|Basil Hayden 10-Year Bourbon||750 mL||40%||$75.99|
|Basil Hayden Toast||750 mL||40%||$55.99|
|Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke||750 mL||40%||$69.99|
*Average prices are based on Drizly online. Prices may vary in local liquor shops.
Compared to Other Bourbons
Four Roses is full of character and has bolder taste than Basil Hayden. Both spirits offer spiciness, but if you want a stronger kick and more proof, you should go with Four Roses.
You can score a 750 ml bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel for roughly $45.99 on Drizly, which is the same cost as Basil Hayden.
If you are looking for a cheaper bourbon with almost the same spice and sweetness as Basil Hayden, you can go with Old Forester. It has a smooth but sharp flavor profile with hints of oak and other rich flavors like citrus and soft vanilla.
A bottle of Old Forester is cheaper than Basil’s because it is approximately $23.99 for a 750 ml bottle on Drizly.
Michter’s has a pleasant sweetness like Maker’s Mark, but it has a thin and watery mouthfeel. It has balanced oak and spiciness best enjoyed neat. However, it’s not ideal for cocktails, unlike Basil Hayden.
You can get a 750 ml bottle for $49.99 on Drizly, which is a little more expensive than Basil Hayden.
Also Read: Sweetens Cove Bourbon Guide
Popular Basil Hayden Cocktail Recipe
Prep Time: 8 mins
Total Time: 8 mins
- 1 part Basil Hayden bourbon whiskey
- ¾ part Aperol Aperitif
- ¾ part Lillet Blanc
- grapefruit peel
Instructions: Get a mixing glass and combine the ingredients over ice. Stir it well, then strain it in a chilled cocktail glass with a large ice cube. Top it off with grapefruit peel, then serve.
Basil Hayden Boulevardier
Prep Time: 8 mins
Total Time: 8 mins
- 1 part Basil Hayden Dark whiskey
- ¾ part Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
- ¾ part Campari liqueur
- orange peel
Instructions: Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice and stir until cold. Strain it in your choice of glass with ice, then garnish with orange peel before serving.
Where is Basil Hayden made?
Basil Hayden is made in James B. Beam Distilling Co. in Clermont, Kentucky.
The distillery has been the birthplace of bourbon for almost two centuries and still produces different spirits from different brands.
Did Jim Beam buy Basil Hayden?
No, Jim Beam did not buy Basil Hayden. The distillery owns and pioneered the brand, and Booker Noe made it to commemorate Hayden Sr. and his contributions to the bourbon world.
Basil Hayden is a bridge between low-priced spirits and small-batch bourbon, but it has a reasonable price for its quality.
It does not have an age statement, but it is rich, spicy, smooth, and sweet with a refined flavor profile that calls for a second glass.
Whether you drink Basil Hayden neat, on the rocks, or as cocktails, this is a light-bodied bourbon with a quality taste and less burn, so it’s a great choice.
Lydia Martin hails from Redmond, Washington, where you’ll find some of the best cocktail bars and distilleries that offer a great mix of local drinks. She used to work as a bar manager in Paris and is a self-taught mixologist whose passion for crafting unique cocktails led her to create Liquor Laboratory. Lydia can whip up a mean Margarita in seconds! Contact at [email protected] or learn more about us here.