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Basil Hayden's Bourbon

A solid........meh

2 472

mReview by @mhock66

11th Jul 2018


  • Nose
  • Taste
  • Finish
  • Balance
  • Overall

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I have had Basil Hayden's at a local restaurant previously, and didn't post a review. My experience with it last night is what is prompting this one. I do not recall from my earlier tastings that it was this light.

I had it neat, in a brandy snifter, on a lovely evening outdoors. There is no age statement on the bottle.

The color is a nice golden amber, but not as dark as others, like Knob Creek.

The nose is light, and floral. Definite alcohol and menthol, with a backdrop of citrus. i picked up some lemon and orange, and a distinct rye scent. A few minutes later, I took another smell, and got a slight hint of wood and coffee, but not overly so. Overall, I would say the smell is delicate.

I was quite disappointed in the taste. To me, this is another that is not complex. There is very little alcohol burn on the tongue, with flavors of caramel, light wood and a just a bit of char. Slight flavors of the citrus fruits, maybe a bit of pepper, and a touch of licorice and mint.

Maybe it's just me, but I kept sipping to find flavors, where there were none. At best, you get brief passing flavors as you continue to drink this bourbon.

It's light, and would probably be good for someone who's new to the world of whiskey. There is no complexity to this one, and mixing it with anything in a cocktail would be a waste. All the delicate flavoring would be overwhelmed by any mixers.

This one isn't for me, but I can see how it has an appeal.

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Victor commented

@mhock66, thanks for your review.

Basil Hayden's is one that I've found doesn't do well with long air exposure. I've very much liked a crisp freshly-opened bottle, but the one bottle of it I have owned went a bad direction after it had been long (like 2 years) opened. You might have been drinking from an old bottle. Bar and restaurant samples are always suspect because we do not know how the whiskies were stored. I once ordered a Don Julio 1942 tequila at a top quality restaurant which was horrible and tasted nothing like the Don Julio 1942 I had had before. I went back to the bar and saw that they were storing the bottle 18 inches from a lamp continuously lighting and heating it. One cannot ever consider a bar sample to be equal to a sample from a bottle one has purchased.

All that said, Basil Hayden's is thin at 40% ABV, which is a pity. The higher proof Old Grand-Dads, Bottled in Bond and 114, with the same mashbill and from the same distillery, show a lot to love.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

casualtorture commented

@Victor OGD BiB along with the 114 are such a bargain in today's world of inflated prices and availability issues.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

mhock66 commented

@Victor you are absolutely correct about restaurant samples. The first time I had it was from a bottle that was opened in front of me. This one was probably 1/3 empty, but I have no idea of how long it was on the shelf.

2 years ago 2Who liked this?

Nozinan commented

This was the first bourbon I ever tasted. I was at a retreat an organic camp outside New York city. It was delicious.

i doubt i would feel quite that way if I tasted it for the first time today.

Sometimes context is everything.

Nice review.

2 years ago 0

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