Basil Hayden’s Bourbon – Review

Basil Hayden's BourbonBasil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

80 Proof

Price Point: $35 – $45 for 750 ML

Distiller: Kentucky Springs Distilling Co.



For those unaware, Basil Hayden’s is part of Jim Beam’s Small Batch Collection, with the other expressions being Baker’s, Knob Creek, and Booker’s.  They are each unique in their own way with various ages and mash bills.  They also differ in their package representation, with Basil Hayden’s having a unique paper label sticking out toward the neck.  As I said in my review of Michter’s Unblended American, sometimes all it takes for my wife and I to buy a whiskey is a unique bottle.



The nose on this bourbon is a bit harsh, with a lot of rye.  Not the most pleasant at all.  The bottle states that the whiskey is aged eight years, but it smells a bit younger.

Basil Hayden’s doesn’t improve all that much once you get the whiskey in your mouth.  My first taste was soap.  That’s right, like a bar of soap.  There’s a lot of rye in this too, probably making up most of the balance from the corn.  To my tastes, this is a seriously flawed whiskey.

The finish is pretty pathetic, too, with a little burn and not much flavor.


Rating & Recommendations

Okay, I had some high expectations for Basil Hayden’s (especially since I am a fan of its small batch brothers).  But, it’s going to earn a 69 out of 100 from me.

Have some fun with this one.  Even when you’re shelling out $30+ for it, try it with some unique mixers.  Who knows, it could improve.

Basil Hayden’s was a pretty disappointing bourbon for me.  For this much money, you’re much better off looking elsewhere.




1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. You would have been warned if you had read my review, Ryan 😉 I thought the nose was decent, actually, but I get that nasty palate too. I could see “bar of soap” as a descriptor, because it really makes you cringe. It’s nice to find someone who sees this whiskey the same way I do – everyone else seems to love it for whatever reason.

    1. I did read your review, but unfortunately I had this bottle in my possession long before reading, and I believe I wrote my initial review around the same time. Not sure why everyone likes it. Oh well – the bad whiskeys make the good whiskeys taste that much better, I suppose.


  2. Watch out! The Jim Beam police will be hunting for you Ryan (and the other Ryan)! I’m kind of with you. It’s a bit thin and bitter for my tastes but I acknowledge its feeling of refinement over it’s “regular expression” Old Grand Dad. I had too many violent encounters with Old Grand Dad in college – which may be part of the root of my feelings.

    1. I don’t know what good things the “Beam Police” can say about this stuff! I guess marketing can affect people’s perceptions of a product up to and including taste. Interesting…


  1. […] According to the, the Basil Hayden is a bit disappointing. The nose is not pleasant and the palate tastes like a bar of soap. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.