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Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye: Head to Head!

Discover the differences between Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye in this in-depth comparison and decide which is better!

Basil Hayden’s Rye

basil-haydens-rye
NoseHoney, rye spice
PalateCaramel, vanilla, rye spice
FinishMedium, caramel, rye spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toKnob Creek Rye, Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

The nose is very light with a honeyed note, followed by some rye spice and a whiff of ethanol.

On the palate, the Basil Hayden’s Rye has an oily body, with a bit of warmth up-front but nothing extreme, followed by sweet vanilla and light rye spice.

The finish has a medium-length with fresh honeycomb at first, and then a bit hot and spicy, but smooth nonetheless.

Overall, the Basil Hayden’s Rye is pretty smooth, it has some heat up-front but finishes clean. Offers a soft mouthfeel, is slightly sweet and spicy making a rewarding sipper.

This is a standard good Rye Whiskey with low rye content, it does not provide any memorable tasting note but is quite pleasant.

It drinks better when adding a dash of water as it opens-up becoming sweeter and an easier drinker.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Basil Hayden’s Rye:

  • First aged for 4 years followed by additional 7 years in newly charred quarter-cask oak barrels.
  • Quarter casks have a significantly higher ratio of wood-to-liquid than most standard casks, they tend to accelerate the aging process.
  • Basil Hayden’s is a “barely legal rye whiskey” as it only has a bit over the minimum of this spicy grain to belong to this category. You get some rye spiciness while the high corn content in the mash makes it sweet. 

Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye

basil-haydens-dark-rye
NoseSpicy fruit cake
PalateDried fruit, cake batter, mint, chocolate
FinishShort, plum, fig, date
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toAngel’s Envy Rum Cask Rye

Dark Rye is listed as a “whiskey specialty” so this is not a true rye whiskey but a nice experiment.

This is a blend of Kentucky straight rye, Canadian rye, and California port-style wine. Port is a fortified wine particularly sweet and delicious traditionally used to have over dessert.

The nose is beautiful as it smells like a spicy fruit cake.

On the palate the Basil Hayden’s is sweet but not as much as the nose and it drops off a bit from there. It shows caramel and molasses and has a taste that reminds me of a Manhattan but without the cherry.

The finish evaporates after just barely enough time to call it a short finish; any shorter and it wouldn’t be there.

Overall, this dram is quite sweet, with no burn whatsoever making a good pour to accompany dessert every now and then but not something I would have at home on a regular basis.

What’s the difference between Basil Hayden’s Rye and Dark Rye?

Basil Hayden’s is a real rye whiskey with a mash bill containing just enough of this grain to be considered a Rye Whiskey while Dark Rye is not a whiskey but a blend of Kentucky straight rye, Canadian rye, and California port-style wine.

This “whiskey specialty” is a nice experiment, tasty and sweet making something good to enjoy over dessert.

Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Basil Hayden’s Rye$52
Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye$47

Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Dark Rye: Which is better?

Dark Rye is more enjoyable

  • The Dark Rye might not be a real whiskey but it’s something to have at home and enjoy over dessert as this is a delicious, sweet and smooth pour.
  • Very easy to drink with no harsh or weird notes making a nice treat.

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