History – A product of Beam Suntory, the fourth permanent line under Basil Hayden’s trademark is Basil Hayden’s Toast. “Crafted in 1992 by Booker Noe as part of the Small Batch collection, Basil Hayden introduced a more subtle side of bourbon compared to its counterparts. This style of bourbon was inspired by 1792 whiskey pioneer Meredith Basil Hayden, Sr., a rye farmer from Maryland who moved to Kentucky and began distilling. He chose to distill his bourbon with a higher percentage of rye, and Booker set out to create a similar high-rye mash bill that would offer the same refined, approachable taste profile. Today, this bourbon stands as a tribute to Meredith Basil Hayden, Sr.’s high-rye mash bill ingenuity, as well as to Booker Noe, a true innovator who sought to welcome new drinkers into whiskey.” – basilhayden
Value – I paid $54.99 for this bourbon. I believe the price is a little high for what it is. Despite saying that, I would still buy it again.
Appearance – This bottle radiates elegance in every aspect. I love the band that encircles the center of the body. It feels like a sophisticated pour right from the start. The bottle for this bourbon has a tall, slim body and a long neck and the label pops out at you. It is dark amber in color.
Nose – Sweet caramel, vanilla, and toasted oak, as the label indicates. This aroma is quite lovely; however, it’s not very strong, so you might have to take slightly deeper inhales to get all the characteristics which does not deter me away. In the very end, there is a slight amount of cinnamon wrapping the nose up.
Palate – At the first sip, the palate presents toffee, caramel, and a hint of oak. This makes for a well-balanced palate, but, in my opinion, it fades too quickly and is then followed by a warm feeling on the tongue.
Finish – The spice in the finish is slightly heavier than in the nose and palate. The finish kicks off with what I think to be a dominant caramel flavor, which is immediately followed by oak and fades away to leave a slight dryness. Although the flavor is pretty dang good, there seems to be something lacking to push it to that next stage. Potentially a higher proof would do good for this finish.
Summary – If you love name brands, you might be blinded by “Basil” and think this is a top-notch bourbon. In your defense, maybe it is for you. As I see it, this is a mid-pack bourbon on the verge of breaking big. Don’t get me wrong about what I just stated; I do enjoy it. Perhaps with more age, it will cross that threshold to stardom.
“Basil Hayden toast displays a wonderful nose, good palate, and an above-average finish. This bourbon has the potential to be in that top category, but something is holding it back that I can’t quite point my finger on yet. Possibly a higher proof could be the answer. Overall, an above-average pour that you can sip neat.“–Eric Watkins
Uniqueness- 1-10 – 7
Appearance- 1-10 – 8
Nose- 1-20 – 18
Palate- 1-20 – 14
Finish- 1-20 – 11
Value- 1-20 – 11
Eric Watkins on 03/03/2023
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