James B. Beam Distilling Co | Review

Every Basil Hayden’s Whiskeys Reviewed [2021]

Jun 7, 2021

Glencairn Whiskey Glass

Basil Hayden’s bourbon is the same mashbill as Old Grand-Dad which is fitting as Hayden is the Grand-Dad emblazoned on the label. The mashbill is high rye at 27% followed by 63% corn and 10% malted barley.

What are the differences between OGD and BH? Old Grand-Dad comes off the still at 127 proof and Basil Hayden’s at 120 proof. Basil Hayden’s also enter the bottle at 80 proof whereas OGD’s lowest bottle proof is 86 proof and goes up to 114. For reference, even the 10YO Basil Hayden’s is bottled at 80 proof. Basil Hayden’s also offers a rye mashbill.

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Basil Hayden’s Bourbon Review

Basil Hayden's Bourbon

Basil Hayden’s has the reputation as a less flavorful Old Grand-Dad because of the proof difference. Will an unbiased tasting prove or disprove this reputation?

Nose – 84 out of 100 Points

On the nose, I smell roasted peanuts, peppery spice, honey, and dried oak. It’s a straightforward nose and the lower proof battles with flavors that could be more complex.

It’s certainly a bourbon that’s worth exploring for new drinkers wanting to try high-rye bourbons. Basil Hayden’s is the quintessential savory summer sipper.

Taste – 80 out of 100 Points

The mouthfeel is light. I get a milky cinnamon flavor and a bit of toasted oak. Maybe just a hint of caramel.

Finish – 81 out of 100 Points

Basil Hayden’s offers a short finish that oaky with a subtle sweetness. Maybe brown sugar or maple syrup but certainly muted.

Complexity – 81 out of 100 Points

Complexity is Basil Hayden’s strength. No-fault of the mash or distillation, and more a result of the proof. It is a balanced spirit with a consistent drinking experience.

Value – 82 out of 100 Points

Basil Hayden’s is one of the few Beam products that’s overpriced. At my local bourbon shops, it retails just north of $40. The packaging positions it as more premium than the flavor can withstand. Especially because all three Old Grand-Dad’s are cheaper with better flavor.

Is Old Grand-Dad better than Basil Hayden’s? Yes, and it’s not close. It’s a bottle I might recommend as an introduction to high-rye bourbons but then I’d move you on to OGD or Four Roses.

Verdict – Bronze 81.6 out of 100 Points

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Basil Hayden’s Toasted Bourbon

Basil Hayden's Toast KY Bourbon Whiskey

Full review coming upon release. Tasting notes provided by the distillery.

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Bourbon

Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon

Full review coming soon. Tasting notes provided by the distillery.

Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye Whiskey

Basil Hayden's Caribbean Reserve Rye Whiskey

Full review coming soon. Tasting notes provided by the distillery.

Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye Whiskey

Basil Hayden's Dark Rye Whiskey

Full review coming soon. Tasting notes provided by the distillery.

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Rye Whiskey

Basil Hayden's 10 Year Rye Whiskey

Full review coming soon. Tasting notes provided by the distillery.

Start shopping The Bourbon Bard’s Amazon store for bourbon barware, books, cigar accessories, clothing, and food for your whiskey journey.

About Matty Sims

Written by Matty Sims

Matty Sims is a storyteller who loves bourbon. He has been drinking and studying whiskey for over 10 years. He has also been featured on sites like Bourbon Sippers, Explore Whiskey, Thrive Global and Inside Hook, partnered with dozens of distilleries, and reviewed hundreds of whiskeys. He has also created single barrel stickers for Bourbon Pursuit and Total Wine.
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