Good morning to everyone, and I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are thoroughly enjoying this holiday weekend! The Fightin' Tigers of LSU have a chance tonight to beat Texas A&M (again) and move to 9-3 on the season, which would be pretty remarkable when you look back at how the first 5 games of the season played out. One thing I'm thankful for this year, is Bite and Booze whiskey samples! This morning I'm trying out the Basil Hayden's Dark Rye, a blended whiskey out of the Jim Beam small batch collection.
Basil Hayden's brand itself is named after Meredith Basil Hayden, Sr. who was one of the early figures of the American whiskey industry around the time of the American revolution. This Dark Rye is actually a blend of three different spirits, starting with Kentucky Rye produced by Basil Hayden's, then some Alberta Rye (which you might remember from an earlier wakey whiskey post!) which is owned by the same parent company, Beam Suntory, and finally a little bit of California Port. Due to the addition of the port, you actually won't find this referred to directly as a "whiskey" on the bottle, but make no mistake, this is still without a doubt a whiskey, just with a bit of 'natural flavors' added.
The "Dark" in the name is quite apparent, with a deep amber verging on solid brown apparent even though the small media sample bottle. It's not quite as dark as the Alberta Rye Dark Batch from that earlier wakey whisky post, but it's getting close. The aroma is strong with sweet molasses and spicy cinnamon which really play together well and create a complex and intriguing bouquet. On the taste, the complexity is still there with a pronounced cinnamon spiciness, a pleasant oakiness, and hints of vanilla and fruit. This whiskey (at a modest 80 proof) finishes smooth with one last hint of cinnamon spice that is characteristic of a rye-heavy mash.
In conclusion, a very pleasant sip, easy drinking and complex enough to keep me interested throughout the pour. This would be a great addition to any liquor cabinet, and I could see it really being a good choice for someone looking to learn more about rye whiskies. Happy holiday weekend everyone, have a great gameday and Geaux Tigers!