Basil Hayden Debuts Expression That Shows Rye's Softer Side
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‘A New Way to Experience Rye’: Basil Hayden’s Latest Whiskey Showcases Unexpected Soft Side

Basil Hayden

The Basil Hayden Malted Rye uncovers the softer side of rye. (Photo: Beam Suntory)

Beam Suntory on Tuesday announced a new Basil Hayden whiskey that will be added to the brand’s core lineup. The Basil Hayden Malted Rye is what the brand touts as a “more approachable rye,” distilled from a 100% malted rye mashbill. This latest expression will be available for purchase at a suggested retail price of $60 for a 750-milliliter bottle.

Eighth-generation Beam master distiller Freddie Noe implemented a malting process to showcase rye’s softer floral tones coupled with refined spice qualities, according to the brand.

“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,” Noe said in a news release. “It delivers a more refined side, an unexpected softness and approachability, creating a new way to experience rye.”

Basil Hayden’s Malted Rye is bottled at 80 proof, which no doubt adds to the softness.

As a grain, rye is known for lending a spicy and herbaceous quality to whiskey. Mashbills with 100% rye are somewhat of a rarity — especially in Kentucky, where the traditional rye mashbill contains 51% rye — since 100% rye is significantly harder to distill as it doesn’t have enough accessible sugars to kick off fermentation without some added assistance. The process of malting rye makes the sugars more accessible, making it easier to distill.

The Basil Hayden brand began in 1992 and was the brainchild of Booker Noe. The brand claims its purpose is to explore the softer side of bourbon and “defy preconceived bourbon perceptions.” Basil Hayden is no stranger to experimenting with different mashbills and finishes. The Beam Suntory-owned brand released a red wine cask-finished expression in October, which we reviewed here.

In May 2022, Freddie Noe was chosen to join his father, Fred Noe, as master distiller at Beam Suntory. The appointment of the father-and-son Master Distilling duo marked the first time in the company’s history that two master distillers would be working together at once. Fred Noe was cited as being responsible for Jim Beam, Knob Creek and Basil Hayden, while his son, Freddie would be experimenting with fermentation, distillation and blending in the labs.

Freddie Noe’s latest experiment appears to have been with malted rye.

Basil Hayden Malted Rye Tasting Notes, from Beam Suntory

Nose: Elegant and floral.

Taste: Soft vanilla and lightly toasted rye.

Finish: Warm spices.

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Cynthia Mersten is a writer/editor for Whiskey Raiders and has worked in the Beverage Industry for eight years. She started her career in wine and spirits distribution and sold brands like Four Roses, High West and Compass Box to a variety of bars and restaurants in the city she calls home: Los Angeles. Cynthia is a lover of all things related to wine, spirits and story and holds a BA from UCLA’s School of Theatre, Film and Television. Besides writing, her favorite pastimes are photography and watching movies with her husband.