Sunday, October 5, 2014

Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

This is part of the Jim Beam family of small batch bourbons.  My wife was wonderful enough to stop by the store on her way home from work one night and grabbed a bottle (based in large part on the look of the bottle and the approval of the clerk). 

Going in, I wasn't at all sure what to expect.  I was unfamiliar with this bottling, and had really not heard anything about it.  So, only way to find out was to pour myself a glass as quickly as I could.

My initial impressions admittedly weren't great.  I felt a burn on the tip of my tongue that I immediately, and incorrectly, attributed to alcohol burn.  However, after giving it a bit more time, I realized that this was simply one of the spicier whiskeys that I had.  It was a very prevalent peppery spice that was providing that bit of bite on my tongue. While this bourbon has a higher rye content than most, the spiciness wasn't of the kind normally attributed to a high-rye bourbon, though the rye flavor is certainly noticeable. 

Once I got past the unexpectedness of it (kind of like when you grab a drink without looking expecting it to be a Coke and it's a 7-up), I quickly realized how much I really like this bourbon.  There is a bit of sweetness, the citrus kind of sweetness as opposed to a brown sugar or vanilla sweetness, to provide balance.  While a subtle orange flavor attempts to push its way through, it is overwhelmingly a spicey whiskey, and it's not ashamed of who it is. 

Aside from the pepper, most noticeable is that it is light in weight.  It does not sit heavy in the mouth, is not syrupy, and is very drinkable.  Behind the spice and sweetness is an earthiness that the Scotch-lover in me found enjoyable, but only if I'm in the mood for a peppery spiced drink, which, quite frankly, is not that often. 

Grade: C+

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