Basil Hayden’s Rye is the latest new / special release from Jim Beam and, unlike the Booker’s Rye, it utilizes their traditional rye mashbill. A mashbill they keep secret, but is thought to be just barely over 51% rye. It’s the same basic rye whiskey that’s in the Knob Creek Rye and the Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye, but it has a bit of a twist to it.
In Jim Beam’s Words: Basil Hayden’s Rye
“A Kentucky straight rye whiskey, Basil Hayden’s Rye Whiskey achieves its deepened and distinctive taste with the addition of a unique, re-barreled rye. The re-barreled rye begins as a four-year-old traditional rye whiskey, which is then dumped out and further aged an additional seven years in newly charred quarter cask oak barrels.
Just a touch of this re-barreled rye expertly blended with traditional Kentucky straight rye whiskey amplifies the warm aroma of baking spices and adds differentiating depth to Basil Hayden’s Rye Whiskey. Bottled at an easy-sipping 80 proof, the result is a versatile rye whiskey that is both approachable and flavorful with notes of char and oak.”
It’s essentially the same process they took with the Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask. The idea being they add a super oaked bourbon (over-aged quarter casks) to some of their standard stock to give theBasil Hayden’s Rye more of an oaky backbone.
For my tastes I don’t think they had the portions fully dialed in on the bourbon, it was a bit light and didn’t make too much of an impact. Though it seems to have come together fairly well in the rye. Full details in the Basil Hayden’s Rye review below.
Basil Hayden’s Rye Info
Region: Kentucky, USA
Distiller: Jim Beam
Mashbill: At least 51% Rye + Corn + Malted Barley
Cask: New Charred Oak and Quarter Casks
Basil Hayden’s Rye Review
Oak, fruit, spice, grain, cinnamon, vanilla, dill, toffee and a light bit of citrus peels. Despite its 80 proof delivery (come on Jim Beam) this has a nice bit of depth to it.
Fruit, oak, grain, toffee, spice, vanilla and a touch of coffee, waxy citrus and dill. I honestly didn’t think the addition of the 11 year re-barreld would have much effect… but it did.
Long drawl of oak, spice, vanilla and toffee.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Nicely balanced, medium body and a light smooth feel.
I’m a bit surprised how much more I like the Basil Hayden’s Rye than the Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye. I figured they were going to be essentially neck and neck, but I’ll be damned – it tastes and smells noticeably better. Tasting the Pre-Pro, Basil Hayden Rye and the old Jim Beam Rye (yellow label) side by side there is such a significant difference that defies expectations. I didn’t expect there to be as much oak in this as there is.
At most I figured I’d be getting a whiskey with only a touch more oak than the JBPP, but instead I got something noticeably different from Jim Beam – they’ve wrangled me in. I’ll definitely be getting a bottle when it shows up in LA. I don’t know exactly how much of that 11-year quarter cask rye whiskey is in each batch/bottle of Basil Hayden’s Rye, but it’s enough to make a definite influence and I’m looking forward to drinking it on a more regular basis.
SCORE: 86/100 (B)
*Disclosure: This Basil Hayden's Rye sample was graciously sent to me by the company for the purposes of this review. The views, opinions, and tasting notes are 100% my own.
- Nose - 86
- Palate - 87
- Finish - 86
- Balance, Body & Feel - 86
Basil Hayden's Rye is actually quite nice and I’ll be picking one up when it arrives in CA.