Basil Hayden's 10 Year Is Back This Year & Hitting Shelves Now
The oldest expression of Basil Hayden's is back.
When a distiller you like has a new release that isn't some flavored version you'd only drink at last call, that's news to which you should raise a glass.
This isn't a newborn release from the Beam Suntory-owned Basil Hayden's, but a relatively new annual that's given that lovable, amorphous marketing-speak label of "limited." No, your beloved bottle with the metal belt isn't getting an apple or cinnamon variant. It's a different expression: Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon. It was first unveiled in December 2018, and it's back this year in a "limited" quantity. Though, the company does not say exactly how limited "limited" is in this instance.
When it was first catapulted into the world, the 10 Year was both praised and given a bit of side-eye for being about as approachable as the Basil Hayden's with which you're familiar. It has the peppery taste and smooth finish of the standard with a little extra oomph and oak. It's an approachable bourbon to drink straight. However, it comes at a stiffer $70 price point. Despite the price, it doesn't carry the higher proof you might expect from a pricier bourbon but retains the original's easy-sipping 80 proof profile.
"Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon is a truly unique expression that offers the perfect blend of our whiskey's trademark spice, balanced with a caramel sweetness and oak as a result of the extra aging in American Oak Barrels," said Jon Marks, Brand Director for Small Batch Whiskey at Beam Suntory. "This annual release offers something special for our fans to share with family and friends as they gather in a socially safe way.
It's alluring to try a slightly more powerful expression of the bourbon, but it's also a strange offering in some ways. When Basil Hayden's was first released it was advertised as having been aged eight years. That label was removed and now it simply says "artfully aged." (This 10 Year also says "artfully aged" on the label.) Asked if the aging has stayed the same, a representative told Thrillist, "We don't disclose the age statement for our standard bourbon," adding that the 10 Year Bourbon "receives extra aging." So, it's likely just a couple of years the senior of the bottle with which you're familiar.
The 10 Year is aged in American Oak barrels and is out there now for anyone with a strong desire for a more deeply-aged expression of the "high-rye" Basil Hayden's.