Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye 2017 is the second expansion in the Basil Hayden’s family, following Basil Hayden’s Rye. This release is made by blending Kentucky rye, Canadian rye (Alberta Distillery), and California port together. Jim Beam has announced that this will be the first ever permanent addition to the Basil Hayden’s family.
Fresh oak and dark berries dance in the forefront. Beneath are fresh baked fruit turnover, rye spice, and a hint of green apple. While the scents aren’t the rye notes I was expecting, they’re quite inviting and and set the tone for just how different this blended rye is going to be.
There’s a clear influence from the port on the palate. It’s sweet, consisting of a big bowl of berries and plums with a hint of vanilla dominating the sip. It’s far from dry, with the best way of describing this palate as juicy. The rye is drowned out as the port influence clearly dominates. That said, this is dangerously easy to sip due to its sweet flavor profile and low proof.
If you love classic rye finishes, you’ve come to the wrong place, as the port continues to impact here too. The dark berries found in the palate linger, and carry through the entire finish. Adding to them is a nuttiness that is combined with white pepper and oak. There’s a very light hint of rye spice, but it’s easily overpowered by the other flavors.