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Basil Hayden’s 10 Year Bourbon Review – 2020 Release

In Bourbon Whiskey Reviews by Matt Evans and Patrick "Pops" GarrettLeave a Comment

The result of the extra aging is a distinct whiskey with big oak aromas along with hints of char and vanilla. Basil Hayden’s® trademark spice shines through as the perfect complement to the caramel sweetness and wood flavors, making the whiskey a memorable one for fans and newcomers alike.Basil Hayden's
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Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon

  • DISTILLER: Jim Beam
  • MASH BILL: 63% Corn | 27% Rye | 10% Malted Barley
  • AGE: 10 Years
  • YEAR: 2020
  • PROOF: 80 Proof (40% ABV)
  • MSRP: $69.99

NOSE: Fruit - hint of apricot | Honey | Light hint of mint

TASTE: Caramel | Vanilla | Sweet cherry | Oak | Rye spice

FINISH: Thin finish that fades rather quickly. After the flavors disappear the rye spice hangs around the roof of the mouth.

SHARE WITH: Friends who are looking to get into the bourbon world but don’t want to start with high proof whiskey or with fans of Basil Hayden who would like to compare it with the standard expression.

WORTH THE PRICE: It’s tough to justify the MSRP of $69.99 on a bottle of 80 proof bourbon. The price tag reflects the 10 year juice and the fact that it is a limited annual release.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This is a BAR for me. At half the price I would have given this a BOTTLE rating.

OVERALL: I would like to thank Jim Beam for the sample of 2020 release of the Basil Hayden's 10 year Straight Kentucky Bourbon. The initial mellow flavors hit on the traditional notes of caramel, vanilla, rye spice and oak but I found the taste thin and fleeting. After my initial tasting notes, I added a few drops of water (as per usual review practice) - this was a mistake; most flavors became non-existent and I felt like I was left with flavored water. I would love to see this as a 10 year, cask strength expression… although I would hate to see the MSRP if that were to ever happen.

Learn more about Matt's whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

NOSE: Strong Oak | Vanilla | Rye Spice | Golden Raisins

TASTE: Caramel | Big Dry Oak | Rye Spice

FINISH: Holy crap the finish is so thin it's almost non-existent. All I got was a bitter oak tannin flavor mingled with a touch of rye spice. It was there, and then it was gone in a flash.

SHARE WITH: Folks who don't drink bourbon but are impressed by a 10 year age statement.

WORTH THE PRICE: Are you kidding me? No way.

BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: This is a big bust for me. The 10 year age statement is wasted on this expression and brings nothing to the party other than extra cost.

OVERALL: I've never understood the need for a 10 year age statement in the Basil Hayden's brand portfolio. I guess it makes sense from a business/revenue perspective, but it doesn't bring anything valuable to the drinker.

I've always been a fan of the original Basil Hayden's as a starter bourbon for those that need to keep the proof low as they build up their palate. But once you've been drinking for a while - at least long enough to appreciate what a 10 year age statement can bring to a bottle - there's no need to stay at 80 proof. Especially when that extra time in the barrel doesn't add any complexity or unique flavors to the whiskey.

There are plenty of lovely aged low-proof Scotches on the market with tons of nuanced flavors and complexity that I would be willing to pay $69. 

Unfortunately, Basil Hayden's 10 year isn't in the same league. One is best left to drinking the original expression until they are ready for higher proof whiskey. Once there, there's plenty of other brands in the Beam portfolio with a similar mash bill to pursue. 

Learn more about Pop's whiskey preferences and check out more of his reviews…

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Basil Hayden's® Annual 10 Year Bourbon Returns

The Extra-Aged Expression Arrives Just in Time for Fall

CLERMONT, Ky.Sept. 9, 2020  -- Basil Hayden's®, one of the fastest growing super-premium bourbons on the market, is once again sharing with its fans Basil Hayden's® 10 Year Bourbon. Originally launched in December 2018, Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon is returning to shelves in limited quantities.

Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon continues to tout unique and approachable characteristics that can be enjoyed by both longtime fans and those new to the whiskey space. Bottled at 80 proof, Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon features the high-rye recipe Basil Hayden's has been known for with a notable age statement. After aging in American Oak barrels for 10 years, the resulting whiskey has a distinctive, yet sippable flavor 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."


Best enjoyed neat, with a drop of water, or on the rocks, Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon features the following characteristics:

  • Proof: 80
  • Color: Golden Amber
  • Aroma: Big oak, hints of char, vanilla and rye
  • Taste: Oak balanced by caramel sweetness and rye spice
  • Finish: Lightly smoky with a hint of char

This bourbon is now available nationwide in limited quantities with a suggested retail price of $69.99 for a 750mL bottle.

Disclaimer: Basil Hayden's provided Bourbon & Banter with a sample of their product for this review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.

Sr. Contributor | Bourbon & Banter

Born and raised in Newport Beach, California, Matt Evans married a native Kentuckian and has called Louisville home since 2007 – after stops in Washington D.C. and Durango, CO. His love affair with bourbon started as an attempt to learn more about his adopted hometown (and get in good with his in-laws!); the pursuit has developed into a full blown passion. Through the Stave and Thief Society, Matt is certified as an Executive Bourbon Steward. He has certifications from the Filson Historical Society’s Bourbon Academy and the Woodford Reserve Bourbon Academy. He also has served as Master Distiller for-a-day at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience under the tutelage of Artisanal Distiller Charlie Downs.Matt’s day job is instructing 7th grade World Geography, and he is the proud father of two daughters. During the summer, Matt teaches bourbon history courses at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York state. Read Matt's full profile.


Patrick Garrett, "Pops" as he's known to his friends, is the founder of Bourbon & Banter, LLC and claims the title of Chief Drinking Officer (CDO). A long-time marketing professional and photographer, Pops hopes to use his professional experience and love of Bourbon to spread the Bourbon Gospel and help everyone realize the therapeutic power of having a good drink with friends. Read Patrick's full profile.

About the Author

Matt Evans and Patrick "Pops" Garrett