Basil Hayden is some Seriously Nice Whiskey

Basil Hayden is some Seriously Nice Whiskey
Written by Juliet Walmsley

This post is really old, there is a new version here called Basil Hayden Review ~ Juliet 🙂

When it comes to liquor, there are so many kinds that you might begin to wonder what makes them different from each other. For example, there’s scotch, whiskey, wine, bourbon, rum, and beer.

Liquor has also been part of men’s lives ever since time immemorial. Which led to the idea of searching for the best whiskey in town. Curiosity is one of the proponents of this experiment, and it was quite an adventure. Extensive research, interviews, and funding were prepared to ensure success.

Whiskey is a spirit or liquor that is distilled from either rye, barley, corn, or wheat. The alcoholic content is normally at 86-proof which means that it is a bit more than 40% alcoholic content.

So what makes whiskey different from scotch or bourbon? It has something to do with the ingredients and where it came from. In Scotland, whiskey is called Scotch. Bourbon is whiskey from the United States. Also, scotch is distilled from malted barley, while bourbon is from corn. You will also notice that in England they drop the “e” and becomes whisky. In Ireland, it becomes “whiskey.”

Of all these variants, there now comes the American rye whiskey. This beverage is made from 51% distilled rye or Canadian whisky and may not include rye as an actual ingredient.

Moving forward, let’s have a look at one of the popular whiskeys with millenials nowadays. We were careful to list down the price, alcohol content, ingredients, taste, flavor, and texture. We compared notes after the tasting process. We even asked expert drinkers to chime in with their feedback. Lastly, we also turned to customer reviews for validation.

In conducting the taste test, different beverages were purchased and compared according to color, taste, alcoholic content, and overall flavor. All those who participated in the taste test are of legal age and did not go home drunk.


The top product goes to Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye whiskey. Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye is made of two tangy whiskies with a hint of port. Kentucky Rye provides the taste of spice, dried fruit, oak, and subtle molasses. Canadian Rye from Alberta Distillery is added to the concoction. Lastly, the taste is sealed by California Port that provides the fruity undertones.

Its color is a deep, rich amber. The ruby undertones give it a classic, almost mysterious look (think vampire). The aroma is of dark berries and molasses with a balance of oaky notes. The full taste gives you a well-rounded feel with its complex and rich blend of dried fruit, caramel, oak, and a hint of spices. To top it off, the aftertaste is of dried fruit, sweetness, and rye spice.

The taste reminds me of gingerbread cookies, and blueberry waffles with hot chocolate in Christmas. It reminds me of grandfathers blowing pipes and a glass of whiskey while sitting in front of the fireplace after dinner.

The alcohol content is 80-proof, which means that the overall alcohol is 40% of its liquid. This brand is recommended for newbie whiskey drinkers due to its well-balanced rich flavor. The undertones give it a full mouthy experience with a lingering taste. If you are the adventurous type, you may want to check this out and add it to your wine collection.


An alternative to the above product is Copperworks Distilling American Single Malt Whiskey. This single malt whiskey is from 100% malted barley. It is a combination of the Five Malt and Pale Malt Copperworks recipes. It was matured for 39 months, distilled twice, and charred in American oak barrels.

This is more expensive than Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye Whiskey but almost similar in quality. The tastes are of apricots, caramel, and orange rind which provide a citrusy flavor. For most whiskey drinkers, the citrus flavor was a no-no. Once the whiskey touches your tongue, it tastes tangy and of orange peel and stewed fruit. The aftertaste is of white pepper, black tea, and tropical fruit. The aroma is of apricots, dill, and pepper.

What we didn’t like about this product is the combination of the spice and citrus taste. The citrus taste was overpowering and the taste of pepper gave it a bitter taste.

You can also smell the distinctness of the higher alcohol content – sort of gives a burn in the nose. To alcohol drinkers, they reported smelling toffee nuts, plum, and honeycomb.

There have been feedback about the taste of candy, pancake syrup, and fruity tablet candies. It also tasted like mixed Coca Cola. Overall, it seemed like distilled beer. The golden color looked like strong orange juice mixed with honey.

Best Value

A cheaper alternative, but of almost similar quality is Makers 46. The intense flavors of wood blends perfectly with rich flavors of caramel and vanilla. Makers 46 gives you a smooth taste and can be taken raw or on the rocks.

Makers 46 is bourbon and contains 90-proof alcohol which means that it has 45% volume of alcohol. The number “46” is because of the 46 wood recipes that they went through before coming up with the final product.

It is matured in French oak barrel staves that gives the additional flavor of sweetness, spice, and vanilla. The rich flavors of spices, marjoram, and coriander give it a distinct burn with a sweet touch.

Smelling the Makers 46, the aroma is a combination of oak, vanilla, cherries, caramel, and wheat. As the liquid touches the palate, you can taste the caramel, vanilla, citrus, corn, and toasted wood. The aftertaste is of wood, dessert, and caramel.

The taste is quite reminiscent of Sunday morning breakfast of butter, wheat bread, caramel, cinnamon, and heavy oak. Alcohol drinkers liken the aftertaste to spice, buttered rum, hints of leather and tobacco, and aged oak. Makes you think of cowboys with smoking guns and leather boots under the hot dessert sun.

Overall, this is a good whiskey with a complexity of sweet flavors. The great thing about this bourbon is that it is cheap and can be taken on the rocks or to make high quality cocktails with.


For those of you who feel adventurous and are up for a new taste in alcohol, you may want to indulge in the above products. The tastes may be the same or distinct depending on your palate; it is up to you to find your desired taste.

For beginners, you may want to try the lighter version on the rocks. Basil Hayden is great for beginners because of the average alcohol content and rich flavor without the strong aftertaste. The woody taste of oak gives it a strong flavor along with the spice for an added kick. The molasses and caramel give it a sweet undertone which makes it flow smoothly. The fruity taste of dark berries gives you that citrusy taste without being overpowering.

Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye is the choice for most millennials. It gives that masculine feel with class.

Finding participants for the taste test was quite a challenge. Not a lot of people drink hard liquor such as whiskey, scotch, or bourbon, or however you call it. However, it was quite a learning experience. It was amazing to learn that scotch, whiskey or whisky, and bourbon were similar and different in some ways. It was also quite amazing to learn about alcohol facts such as barrel aging, oak barrels vs steel barrels, aging process, distilling, and the ingredients used. It is surprising that wheat and corn are among some of the ingredients used to make liquor.

Overall, it was quite a learning experience, an eye opener, and a palate teaser.

About the author

Juliet Walmsley

Juliet is a Michigan University graduate of 2003 and a former lead fashion design manager for Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Between writing on her blog, Juliet and Co, she loves shopping, chocolate sprinkles and walking on sunny beaches.

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