So, while “toast” refers to bread, Basil Hayden’s Toast refers to… rice?
This whiskey is composed of a wholly new mashbill for Basil Hayden, one which is built heavily around brown rice. To be sure, Basil Hayden Toast — the first permanent addition to the BH lineup since 2017 — is more clearly a reference to the toasted wood used in the barrel aging regimen, but the real story here is the use of brown rice instead of rye in the otherwise bourbon-y mashbill. It isn’t 100% clear how Toast is made, though producer Jim Beam notes that “after aging, the toasted brown rice bourbon is blended back with more brown rice bourbon, which has been rested in #4 char barrels.” So, rice on rice.
Also, the Basil Hayden label and monogrammed belt have been “elevated” for this release. Check the photo above for a sense of what that means.
Brown rice bourbon has been done before — namely by Beam — and it wasn’t bad. Toast is clearly younger than that experimental release, though, so let’s see how things go.
So, with all of that said, I’m pleased to report that Toast is pretty damn solid. The nose connotes an immediate sweetness, evoking a significant apple-heavy fruitiness alongside honey and Christmas spice notes that immediately feels festive. An edge of barrel char adds some savoriness, but this is gentle, the holiday character really dominating the experience.
The palate is sweet, with a more traditional peanut and popcorn bourbon note leading the way, again quite sweet with notes of honey and butterscotch emerging in short order. Hints of orange peel and fresh melon give the body some nuance, pushing through to a finish that remains fruit-forward, hinting slightly at sweet cereal and, who knows, maybe a hint of brown rice.
All told it’s one of my favorite Basil Hayden releases to date.