Review: Basil Hayden Malted Rye

Review: Basil Hayden Malted Rye

Late last year, Basil Hayden dropped its latest edition, which will be a permanent part of the Basil Hayden lineup going forward. Basil Hayden Malted Rye is made with 100% rye grain that has been malted, which partially germinates the grain before it is dried and made into a mash that is fermented.

As it does with barley, malting rye grain significantly changes the way a distilled spirit turns out, improving the distillation process and altering the flavor of the finished product.

In this expression, the overbearing, peppery pungency so common with rye is all but absent, creating a softer whiskey that melds grassiness with sweeter, dessert-like notes. The nose sees an initial whiff of cut grass, rosemary, and sage, but it’s cut with aromas of black cherry, vanilla, and mint. Again: soft, restrained, and composed.

The palate provides many of these same qualities, again a modestly green attack, with a punch of fresh lawn trimmings, more sage, and black tea. The tea is what takes over as it builds on the tongue, moving from there into notes of vanilla custard, toasted coconut, and a smattering of baking spices. Increasingly nutty as the finish builds. As I said earlier, what really sets this apart is how soft and approachable it is. That throat-charring quality that most modern ryes — especially 100% ryes — have is wholly absent, making room for a brown sugar and nougat-laden experience that drinks closer to the bourbon side of the spectrum. That’s all fine with me. I’ve encountered no shortage of in-your-face rye whiskeys in recent years, to the point where I’m actively tired of them. This stuff hits the spot.

80 proof.

A- / $60 /

Basil Hayden Malted 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.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.