Following on the baffling Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye comes another limited release whiskey: Basil Hayden’s Two by Two Rye.
What’s Two by Two? This bottle blends two Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskies and two Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskies, creating a combination that is uncommon, but which isn’t unheard of. (Wild Turkey arguably gave the bourbon-rye combo its modern-day start with Forgiven.)
There is no age information on Two by Two or any details about the characteristics of any of the four whiskeys in the blend. That said, a little mystery won’t stop us from tasting and giving our thoughts.
On the nose, the bourbon element dominates, with ample popcorn notes, though a slightly winey character provides more of a hint of the rye, along with some toasty grain character emerging later on. As it sits in the glass for awhile, a distinct nuttiness appears: almond extract and some oily walnut notes.
The palate is loaded with corn and grain, coming across as slightly leathery and more rustic than I would have liked from the normally elegant Basil Hayden’s. Fruit emerges later in the game — baked apples and fruitcake notes, with a dried, almost candied character. The finish doubles down on buttered popcorn, with a little bit of spice and some caramel and coconut notes giving it some needed sweetness. The conclusion is more more cohesive than what’s come before, though the body proper simply comes across as too young to merit its price tag.