Whiskey review: Basil Hayden Malted Rye new permanent addition to rye lineup

Basil Hayden Malted Rye, photo by Michael Collins - FanSided
Basil Hayden Malted Rye, photo by Michael Collins - FanSided /

Rye lovers will have something new to try, as Basil Hayden Malted Rye has been added as a permanent addition to their lineup. 

Basil Hayden is probably a familiar name to most whiskey drinkers. With an extensive number of both bourbon and rye expressions, it’s hard not to find something from Basil Hayden that won’t please your palate.

The combination of affordable prices, lower proof, and wide availability, makes choosing a Basil Hayden expression a no-brainer for people just getting into whiskey, and is often found to be a solid daily drinker for even the most discriminating whiskey palates.

September’s launch of the Basil Hayden Malted Rye to their lineup will add to those numbers, with a slightly different twist from most rye mashbills. The malting process used on the rye grain will soften the palate, and bring some additional floral and earthy notes to supplement the rye spice and fruit that you usually find in a traditional rye.

From the Basil Hayden press release:

"“Basil Hayden continues to push boundaries in the tradition of my grandfather Booker Noe. We are continuing to challenge perceptions with our newest permanent expression, Basil Hayden Malted Rye, introducing an entirely new flavor profile within the whiskey category,” said eighth generation master distiller Freddie Noe. “It delivers a more refined side, an unexpected softness and approachability, creating a new way to experience rye”."

Here are reviews and tasting notes for this expression.

Basil Hayden Malted Rye Description

Mash bill: 100% malted rye
ABV: 40 %
Color: Medium amber
Age: Not age-stated
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Private Barrels Available: NA
MSRP: $59.99

Basil Hayden Malted Rye Tasting Notes

Nose: Putting a nose to the glen, the first thing I expected from a 100 percent rye mash bill (even having gone through a malting process) was that all-too-familiar rye spice, but to my surprise, it was…vanilla. The soft vanilla was shortly followed by some spice, along with juniper (on the cedar side), and rose petals. It’s quite the interesting combination of sweet, earth, and floral, with none of it becoming too prevalent.

Palate: As advertised, this is absolutely a much softer rye, with very little of the bite that you would normally have from a straight rye mash bill. The malting process has taken that edge off, and those floral and sweet vanilla notes are just as present as they are in the nose. Mid-palate brings a touch of cocoa and a hint of oak. It’s not terribly complex, but as an entry point into rye for someone who is off-put by the spiciness of a traditional rye, this is a good choice. At a higher proof, this might be wildly different.

Finish: The finish is short and slightly dry, which is more than likely a result (again) of the malting process. There’s cocoa and sweet cream that kind of just whisps away as quickly as it appears.

Conclusions: A good entry point for people new to whiskey and/or rye. Low-proof, affordable, easy on the palate, not overly complex but not one-dimensional. Seems like a pour that would work well in certain cocktails, but probably not an Old Fashioned. It would be very interesting to taste this at barrel strength.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐☆☆

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