Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight BourbonOn March 28, 2014, a 5.1 earthquake ripped through Southern California. I know. I was there. Luckily I had A Basil Hayden on hand to smooth out the rocking.

Although for my barmate Dan — a 60-year-old gentleman from Illinois — it seemed no amount of alcohol was sufficient. He swore he would never return to California. And this from a man who survived a SCUD missile making a direct hit on his hotel in Iraq during Desert Storm. It seems missiles are OK, but the ground should never betray you.

Once Mr. Hayden stopped sloshing around in my glass, I was able to consider this slightly darker dram. I guess I could skip the “swirling it around in my glass” step.

The aromas so conveniently released by my earthy friend were light and sweet, leading with oranges. Buried a little deeper (metaphorically, thankyouverymuch) was vanilla spice. Not to be confused with Vanilla Ice, who has nothing to do with this review.

The palate brought out those flavors and added some chocolate and burn for a nicely rounded experience.

This is a great baseline bourbon. Tasty in its own right, its flavor profile is readily accessible.

The bottle stands out on the shelf wearing a paper poncho cinched with a balsa and copper belt. The only whiskey I can think of that uses rivets. That’s gotta be worth something.

Oh, and our friend Dan? He’s back in Illinois making violins.

80° proof; $37/bottle

3/5 Rating