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Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Bulleit Rye: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Bulleit Rye in this head to head comparison and decide which Rye Whiskey is better for You!

Basil Hayden’s Rye

NoseHoney, rye spice
PalateCaramel, vanilla, rye spice
FinishMedium, caramel, rye spice
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkAdd water
Similar toBasil Hayden’s Dark 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 but providing little value for the money.

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. 

Bulleit Rye

NoseMint, cedar, vanilla, rye spice
PalateCaramel, spearmint, vanilla, rye spice
FinishRye spice, oak spice, old leather
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toKnob Creek Rye, Redemption Rye

Bulleit Bourbon is renowned for its spicy character and its Rye sibling takes the spice to the next level by carrying 95% rye grain in the mash; Rye grain gives liquors a strong spicy note.

Nose has a soft minty note, followed by cedar wood, vanilla and rye spice.

Palate offers a blast of rye spiciness at first, followed by spearmint hints, caramel and a touch of vanilla.

The finish has a medium to long length, pleasantly warm, with more mint and a tad of charred oak.

Solid dram as there is nothing off-putting about it, just a classic rye whiskey.

Bulleit hits you with the rich spicy notes you expect to find in this type of whiskey, but overall this is a sweet and smooth whiskey and quite easy to sip.

If you feel it too spicy add large ice cubes avoiding dilution; that will make it easier to sip.

Where this whiskey shines is as mixer as the rich spice presence will add a nice kick to your favorite cocktail.

Overall, Bulleit Rye is a solid option, it won’t blow you away with any memorable tasting note but makes a good alternative for those looking for a “rye whiskey high in rye“ to use as a whiskey mixer.

It’s quite versatile as it mixes well with a wide range of beverages including Coke and even with Red Bull.

There are few facts worth knowing about the Bulleit Rye:

  • Mash is comprised of 95% rye and 5% malted barley.
  • It does not carry an age statement but it is aged between five to six years in heavily charred, new American oak casks.
  • Earned the Double Gold and Gold Medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.
  • Crafted at MGP of Indiana.
  • Bulleit is owned by London-based Diageo, who also holds household names such as Johnnie Walker.

Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Bulleit Rye: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Basil Hayden’s Rye$52
Bulleit Rye$33

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

Bulleit Rye offers more bang on the buck

WhiskeyBasil Hayden’sBulleit
  • Basil Hayden’s Rye is not a bad pour but not for its current price providing poor value for the money.
  • Personally, I have a hard time going that high in a rye whiskey with such low-proof when there are more interesting drams in the market for less money.
  • Bulleit Rye is a good whiskey, you can sip it neat, with ice or use it in homemade cocktails knowing that the rich spicy note will add a nice kick your favorite drink.