Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon


Produced in the USA

1000ml / 40% ABV

Late in the 18th century, Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. left his Maryland home for the greener pastures of Kentucky, bringing his family and reputation with him.

Not yet privy to the old guard’s ‘rules’ of bourbon, legend has it that Basil set out to make a batch simply using the ingredients he had on hand, unaware of what the traditionalists might think of his mash. What resulted was a bourbon with a uniquely high-rye mashbill, combining the sweetness of corn with the spicy undertones of rye. The purists may have been displeased, but not the neighbors who tried it.

Over 200 years later, the Noe family pays tribute to Basil’s masterful discovery with a high-rye, small batch bourbon that embodies the spirit of that very first recipe.

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 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.




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