Review: Basil Hayden’s Jumps into the Rye Whiskey Game

Rye is all the rage, there’s no doubt about that. With rye whiskies winning top awards for the past few years, more and more companies seem to be coming out with rye whiskies to enter into the market. It shouldn’t really be a surprise, though, as Basil Hayden’s Bourbon already has a high rye mash bill and the spicy character that comes from rye is one of the key associations most people have when you mention Basil Hayden’s in conversation.

Basil Hayden’s Rye whiskey is a four-year-old rye that’s been moved from its aging barrels into new charred quarter casks and left for seven more years. Some of this product is then blended with straight rye whiskey to achieve what will sit in the bottle before you.

Basil Hayden Rye Whiskey

Appearance: Basil Hayden’s Rye Whiskey is golden-orange in color.

Nose: Mellow is the best word to describe this whiskey, through and through. There are hints of wood on the nose and these are complemented nicely by baking spices and just a little bit of sweet corn.

Palate: The upfront spice that you might expect in other straight rye whiskies is somewhat muted here. You get hints of the spice, but the majority of the palate is composed of deep brown sugar notes mixing with dried fruit and a little bit of baking spice. Throughout, you will be hard-pressed to find a burn—this is one smooth rye whiskey.

Finish: A medium length finish that pulls smoky caramel flavors through to the end, clearly a byproduct of being put into new charred oak casks.

Final Thoughts: If you have somehow not had a rye in the past two or three years and are unsure of spicier whiskies, then Basil Hayden’s Rye is a perfect place to start. I won’t call it an introductory rye, because there is more going on than you might find in other spirits that might fall into a similar category, but it is a good place to gauge how your palate accepts or will adjust to spicier whiskies. Also, it’s great in cocktails, which is always a bonus.

Basil Hayden’s Rye Whiskey is 40% ABV and retails for $45.

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