Review: Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye

Review: Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye

Ready for the absolutely craziest thing to come out of whiskeydom since Alberta Rye Dark Batch? Get ready for Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye!

The gist:

Like Basil Hayden’s flagship bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye stands out from the crowd. Blending Kentucky straight rye whiskey and Canadian rye with a splash of California port, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye is packed with harmoniously layered flavor, while maintaining the trademark spicy finish and smoothness of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon. At 80-proof, Dark Rye offers an unparalleled sipping experience and makes for the perfect base to any modern-day twist on a cocktail, including the Boulevardier.

This is a permanent addition to the Basil Hayden’s brand, not a one-off.

Well, let’s give this crazy concoction a try.

The nose is immediately exotic — if not bizarre. Distinctly like an Amontillado sherry, it has those old furniture polish, oxidized fruit, and candied walnut aromas that quickly come across as austere. An undercurrent of raisins and prunes adds more of a sweet note to the nose.

On the palate, the whiskey is downright kooky. Flavors of fresh figs, raisin, salted caramel, and cocoa nibs all mingle to create a syrupy concoction that winds its way toward notes of maple syrup (a dominating flavor), coffee, and more of that Amontillado character. The finish sees a bit of rye spice — mainly sweet and gingerbread-like — before fading into more of a simple brown sugar character.

All of those aromas and flavors sound may interesting on their own, but they don’t all go together cohesively, and what they are really lacking is much in the whiskey department. The classic notes of rye are largely lacking here, replaced by a surfeit of sugary sweetness and overblown fruit flavors. The maple note is particularly off-putting, and while I could see mixing a cocktail with this, on its own it’s a product that is simply too far gone into its own little world.

80 proof.


Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

1 Comment

  1. neandrewthal on November 24, 2017 at 6:37 pm

    This is hilarious. Was the dark batch that successful? Is blending Canadian whisky with American whisky and wine the new big thing?

    Next I want to see Canadian corn whisky with American wheat and Marsala.

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