Latest Basil Hayden’s Rye Whiskey Variant Gets Touched By Rum

The Basil Hayden’s whiskey brand is a solid mid-shelf offering in the larger Beam portfolio. Originally more of a bourbon focused brand, it was branched out into rye whiskey back in 2017. Since that time other rye focused bottlings have emerged, including Dark Rye (a Kentucky/Canadian rye blend influenced by port wine) and Two by Two Rye (a blend of two Kentucky straight rye whiskeys with two Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys). Now it looks like rye whiskey influenced by rum is being added as well.

Though not many official details have been released about it as of this writing, the new Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye has starting popping up on some retailers’ websites. What information is out there about it makes it sound like a rather offbeat expression – what you have is a mix of 8-year-old Kentucky Rye Whiskey and 4-year Canadian Rye Whisky that’s been directly blended (finished is another word used also) with Black Strap Rum to create a so-called “perfect molasses -sweet finish” the Beam blending team was hoping for as they found themselves drawn to “the sweet and spicy contrast between rum and rye.”

Basil Hayden's Caribbean Reserve Rye

Basil Hayden’s Caribbean Reserve Rye (image via Beam)

As part of getting to this final bottling, the expression is said to have taken “inspiration from the growing trend of cask-finished ryes,” which right now is something we are seeing happen with an ever increasing number of craft distilleries. Apparently a first iteration was aging rye whiskey for over a year in rum casks; the results though were said not to “get the flavor quite right,” so hence the adding rum directly into the whiskey itself.

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Caribbean Reserve Rye is bottled at 80 proof, and what little official tasting notes there are floating around right now suggest “a toasted oak flavor complemented with rye spice and molasses-rich sweetness.” Pricing is showing at a handful of retailers to average around $40 – when we get more official information from Beam on this offbeat release we will let you know.