Standard Basil Hayden’s doesn’t have an age statement any more (as of 2014 it is just “artfully aged,”) but when we originally reviewed it it was bottled at 8 years of age. Other than the extra barrel time, there’s no difference in the mash or even the bottling proof (40%) vs. rack Basil Hayden’s.
With that in mind, let’s see what a little extra barrel time does here.
Basil Hayden’s is well known as offering a lighter drinking experience, and Basil Hayden 10 Years Old continues that direction. The fairly straightforward nose sees a bit of lumberyard, along with some mint, malted milk, and a hint of tea leaf. On the palate, the whiskey immediately feels younger than its age statement would indicate, boldly corny but tempered by a touch of citrus and a slightly nutty character. It’s still very light and approachable, but has enough complexity to merit exploration. The finish is the best part, bolder with chocolate notes and plumped up with a nice kick of rye spice.
I compared this expression with a pre-2014 bottling of 8 year old Basil Hayden’s and found the two, perhaps unsurprisingly, quite similar. The chocolate and mint notes offer the strongest connecting thread, while the 10 year old shows a bit less spice and lacks the original’s butterscotch character. On the other hand, the palate’s a bit bolder and a touch more aggressive, so drinkers looking for a somewhat chewier experience might want to check this bottling out.