Basil Hayden

Review by Valentine & Daly

On a cold rainy evening, Valentine had just finished his first day of work at the new job.  For no particular reason he stopped by the liquor shop and pick up a bottle of Basil Hayden’s, only because it’s in the Knob Creek family of bourbons, and he had never sampled it before.  With bottle in hand, he headed to Daly’s place.  “I’m home,” he announced as he stepped into Daly’s cramped apartment.  Holding up the bottle in a brown paper sack, he added “and I’ve brought dinner!”

The two don’t waste time.  Daly and Valentine are both whiskey lovers, but while Valentine likes to shoot it, Daly prefers his on the rocks.

It doesn’t take long to realize what is remarkable about this whiskey.  Just uncork it, and the strong aroma hits you.  They pour Basil Hayden’s into two whiskey glasses until they’re a third full.  The aroma has filled the room.

As you suck in for a sip of the bourbon, you breathe in the flavor through your nose and mouth, and for a split second you know what you’re getting into before you’re even there.  It’s not too harsh in the mouth, but goes down the hatch with just enough burn to let you know exactly where it is.

This is a sipping whiskey.  Putting it on rocks would simply water it down, while shooting it would not allow you the pleasure of fully experiencing the aroma before leisurely tasting its smoothness, with that light refreshing tone of peppermint. With Basil Hayden’s, the Dalys of the world and the Valentines can enjoy a compromise between the two whiskey-drinking techniques.

Before long, the two were able to put their fingers on what that aroma was…the rye!  This bourbon isn’t based from corn, as most.  Rather, this is based from mashed rye, and a lot of it!  In fact, the rye content is doubled from what the recipe called.

Though Basil Hayden’s is part of the Knob Creek family, it is very different from Knob Creek, one of Valentine’s favorites.  Knob Creek is a burning whiskey from taste to finish with moderate aroma at the nose.  Two-thirds of the joy from Basil Hayden’s is the experience at the nose.

This is not a recommended whiskey from a flask because there is little space for the aroma to linger as you drink.  Similarly, it is not a recommended whiskey for enjoyment along with a cigar.  The flavor and experience of Basil Hayden’s is too exceptional that you don’t want to lessen the experience by mixing it with any other activity.  And of course, don’t dilute it, and don’t shoot it!

Basil Hayden’s is a very pleasant bourbon whiskey with a uniqueness which requires a different approach to drinking than other well-known brands.  Enjoy the aroma, and sip to get the most of the flavor.  It was a choice Daly and Valentine did not regret.

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