Review: Basil Hayden’s Rye 10 Years Old
Here’s a little surprise that recently hit the market. On the heels of a less-than-stellar rye — and three oddball variants — Beam-owned Basil Hayden’s has taken this horse upmarket, slapping the original, un-gimmicked version with a big 10 year old age statement. It’s actually the first rye in the lineup to have any age statement at all.
Soft and gentle, this is a quieter whiskey, which is pretty much in keeping with the overall concept of Basil Hayden’s, which has largely been one of overwhelming inoffensiveness. There’s a classic baking spice element, some red pepper, barrel char, and a grind of pencil lead — all coming together in an enticing, well-developed package. The palate keeps any sense of runaway flavor in check, with lightly sweet notes of chocolate-covered almonds, hazelnuts, and a ginger-heavy baking spice all tempered by a subdued body that keeps the alcohol firmly in check.
It’s quite pleasant but a lot less in-your-face than you might expect from a 10 year old rye — though, depending on the consumer, that may be just what the doctor ordered. I find it perfectly approachable and a solid choice for warm weather sipping.