Review: Basil Hayden’s Bourbon 10 Years Old
Standard Basil Hayden’s doesn’t have an age statement any more (as of 2014 it is just “artfully aged,”) but when we originally reviewed it it was bottled at 8 years of age. Other than the extra barrel time, there’s no difference in the mash or even the bottling proof (40%) vs. rack Basil Hayden’s.
With that in mind, let’s see what a little extra barrel time does here.
Basil Hayden’s is well known as offering a lighter drinking experience, and Basil Hayden 10 Years Old continues that direction. The fairly straightforward nose sees a bit of lumberyard, along with some mint, malted milk, and a hint of tea leaf. On the palate, the whiskey immediately feels younger than its age statement would indicate, boldly corny but tempered by a touch of citrus and a slightly nutty character. It’s still very light and approachable, but has enough complexity to merit exploration. The finish is the best part, bolder with chocolate notes and plumped up with a nice kick of rye spice.
I compared this expression with a pre-2014 bottling of 8 year old Basil Hayden’s and found the two, perhaps unsurprisingly, quite similar. The chocolate and mint notes offer the strongest connecting thread, while the 10 year old shows a bit less spice and lacks the original’s butterscotch character. On the other hand, the palate’s a bit bolder and a touch more aggressive, so drinkers looking for a somewhat chewier experience might want to check this bottling out.