Football is back and since its season finale, I thought I would review a bottle of Bourbon. Basil Hayden’s, takes the ribbon of the first review of the Jim Beam small batch group. Basil Hayden’s dates back to 1796, and just like Aaron Rodgers it displays its own championship belt. Is it worthy of the belt it displays with a capital BH? So beautiful on the front of the bottle we will soon find out.

When Master distiller Basil Hayden Sr. took the foresight to blend a little bit of grain into a traditional bourbon corn mash, he created a recipe unlike any other. He was able to capture the spicy flavor of rye and the sweet smoothness of corn. Basil Hayden’s bourbon was the bridge to the flavors of Rye into this small batch bourbon.

In the small batch collection Basil Hayden’s uses twice as much rye as any other in the collection. Peppermint, spicy and tea gives Basil Hayden’s its authentic aroma while the spicy and, peppery flavor, as well as light body and honey is what makes the drink attractive and enjoyable even in the month of August- especially with its gentle finish. Basil Hayden’s is prefect on its own and also works well in cocktail drinks.

Basil Hayden’s is smooth enough to drink straight up; if you add a couple of ice cubes or a splash of water, the drink really opens up. Add ginger ale to Basil Hayden’s and get a pleasant surprise it is almost like you are having a bourbon and ginger for the first time all over again. Chilled and served as a Manhattan can leave something to be desired. With this drink being light and sweet, this however lead to a great Prefect Manhattan, with the dry vermouth almost disappearing into the drink making it well balanced. This all makes Basil Hayden’s a tricky read as it excels in certain areas; and fails to impress in others.

When mixing Basil Hayden’s you must think outside the box. Traditional bourbon drinks lack that special flare. This makes it a difficult read and narrows its ability giving pause. The bottle itself is a stand out which can also misleading as it does look like the champion of bourbon. Yet with the rye added in it, it is almost stands alone bourbon; is it a bad choice?

No!!! This is not a bad choice. In fact, it is the complete opposite an excellent choice! For all of the reasons, it is hard to read, or it is a difficult blend (with a mixer), makes this creation smooth, light-bodied and most importantly sweet with its mellowness. It is more complicated and this makes you have to think out the box. It will challenge your wits to be more creative and use ingredients that you may not with other bourbons. That simple fact makes it exceptional, while it’s not for everyone; but it is great summer bourbon and highly recommended even if its score say otherwise.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Championship & Ginger

  • 2 oz. Basil Hayden’s
  • Fill with ginger ale

Place in glass of your choosing with ice add Basil Hayden and fill to rim with ginger.

Originally published on PureStyle Magazine