Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a bourbon from Jim Beam’s “Small Batch” collection. The modern recipe is based off of a classic recipe by an early American distiller named Basil Hayden. The bourbon has a distinctive presentation which includes a paper label secured by a ribbon featuring the Basil Hayden logo.
The bottle I bought had aged eight years, but was still a pale golden color. The aromatic notes included sweet caramel and peppery spices. I believe I detected a hint of clove hovering in the backdrop. There is something vegetable-like as well, possibly corn. The sweetness was very much in the foreground.
From this I would have expected something sweet, but I was surprised by the flavors, which weren’t at all what was advertised by the aromas. I do taste that vegetable, but still can’t tell for sure whether it’s corn. The sweetness is there too, but it’s definitely taking a backseat to the peppery spiciness. What I thought was clove tastes more like cinnamon, and the body of the bourbon is very light. There also seems to be something woody here, possibly pine. The pepper is the last flavor to remain on my palate.
Basil Hayden’s Small Batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey definitely surprised me in terms of its flavors, but in a good way—as far as light-bodied bourbons go, this is definitely one of the more subtle ones I’ve tried. I was surprised at how pronounced the pepper and cinnamon and other spices were though, while at the same time pleased they didn’t overwhelm the other flavors.
You can purchase Basil Hayden’s Small Batch for around $30.00-$40.00. Considering this, it’s not inexpensive, but fans of light-bodied bourbons will really enjoy this one for its subtlety and complexity.
Color: Pale gold.
Nose: Caramel, pepper, clove, vegetable.
Taste: Vegetable, pepper, cinnamon, pine, caramel.