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A premium small batch offering from one of America’s most prominent distilleries, Jim Beam. Named after Basil Hayden, a distiller from the 18th century who initially made rye whiskey in Maryland, before moving to the then newly-formed state of Kentucky, where he produced a distinctive, high-rye style of Bourbon. This dram is a fitting tribute, said to be made with a mashbill of 63% corn, 27% rye, 10% malted barley.
Jim Beam has an acclaimed range of small batch bottlings, including Knob Creek and Booker’s Bourbon, but Basil Hayden’s is perhaps the most approachable. Presented at a lower proof, this is the perfect dram for the curious American whiskey fan, looking to try more interesting offerings.
Interestingly, Basil Hayden’s descendents continued to be major players in the distilling business, with his grandson Raymond establishing another distillery. Here he produced Old Grand-Dad, another high rye whiskey, that featured an image of the original Basil Hayden on the label. This brand is now also owned by Jim Beam.
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A rather soft nose, with subtle sweet aromas of caramel, molasses and dark fruits. A Christmas cake profile comes with time, underpinned by subtle spice and gentle mint.
Salted caramel emerges on this warming palate, alongside bittersweet cacao nibs and marmalade. Nicely balanced by spicy rye flavours and subtle sweet plums.
A medium-long finish, which maintains the balance between sweetness, spice and citrus found earlier, adding some tannic oak.