Whiskey Review: Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Beam-Suntory. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

What is it about a good, solid, rye whiskey that we rye drinkers tend to love so much?

Is it the initial burn?

Is it the slow-to-fade warmth after that initial burn?

Is it the subtle waves of flavor presented during this fading warmth?

Maybe a little of all three?

Whatever it is… if you’re a rye fan you know what I’m talking about.

So, when I was handed this leather clad bottle of Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey… I was instantly intrigued, but admittedly a bit skeptical.

I haven’t been a particularly big fan of the last several releases from the team at Basil Hayden. The Caribbean Rye (Kentucky straight rye blended with Canadian rye and a Caribbean rum) left a bit of sour taste in my mouth both figuratively and literally, and I find the Dark Rye (Kentucky straight rye blended with Canadian rye and port) best for use in my signature Vieux Carré cocktails.

But, I feel they did something right on this one.  They stuck to the basics and didn’t mix it with anything.

As mentioned in our previous announcement it’s the first rye the company has created with an age statement and at 80 proof, it’s what I would consider a “light rye” in that it’s probably something even those that don’t enjoy the typical burn associated with a heartier rye could easily enjoy.

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A possible gateway rye… if you will.

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey (image via Jeff Bernheisel/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey

Vital Stats: It comes in at 80 proof; 10 years old; limited bottling with a suggested retail of $69.99.

Appearance: In the glass it’s akin to a light golden liquid sunshine, if you could actually bottle such a thing.

Nose: Imagine taking Gramma’s semi-famous cinnamon enhanced apple sauce, sticking that in a charred oak barrel, and then sticking your nose in the barrel for a big ole sniff a few days later. It’s kinda like that. Probably.

Palate: Initially what I can best describe as a burnt raisin which then opens up to a rich toffee flavor finishing again with Gramma’s cinnamon applesauce. Not quite semi-famous, but definitely has potential.

The Takeaway


Unlike it’s mixed bag predecessor bottlings which were best suited for mixing cocktails in my opinion, the Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Old Rye Whiskey can easily stand on it’s own and be served neat to those that love the flavor a good, solid, rye whiskey can provide.

User Rating 3.05 (22 votes)