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Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Knob Creek Rye: Which Wins?

Discover the differences between Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Knob Creek Rye in this in-depth comparison and decide which Rye Whiskey is better for You!

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 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 a decent 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. 

Knob Creek Rye

knob-creek-rye
NoseCherry, rye spice, oak
PalateOak, cherry, tobacco
FinishCaramel, old leather, dried fruit
Alcohol content100 proof (50% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toOld Forester Rye, Bulleit Rye

Knob Creek is a “barely legal” rye whiskey as it only has a bit over the minimum of this spicy grain to belong to this category.

This makes it taste like a spicy version of the regular Knob Creek Bourbon.

The nose brings the same cherry note as the regular Knob Creek along notes of rye spice and toasty oak.

On the palate you get some rye spiciness while the high corn content in the mash makes it sweet. It has a thick oily mouthfeel and a flavor rich in oak, cherries and nice caramel with little to no burn.

The finish is long and pleasantly warm, rich in cinnamon, brown sugar, dried fruit and a faint rubber note lurking in the back.

The Knob Creek achieves a decent balance of spice, wood and dark fruit. It drinks nicely straight out of the bottle, with a splash of water, or after letting it breathe for a few minutes as it seems to improve over time.

The thick creamy body gives additional points to this dram and the fact that it does not drink like a 100 proof bottle as it has very little burn.

Overall, the Knob Creek Rye makes a good option for those who want to enjoy a good Rye Whiskey with moderate rye spice or a “ryed bourbon” as I would call it.

There are a few facts worth knowing about the Knob Creek Rye:

  • The contents in the mash are not disclosed but the rye content is just over the minimum of 51% required by law.
  • This whiskey is labeled as “Patiently Aged” which is the nice way of implying that it does not have an age statement.
  • Won “Best Rye Worldwide Whiskey” at the 2016 International Wine and Spirits Competition.

What do Basil Hayden’s Rye and Knob Creek Rye have in common?

These whiskeys have 2 things in common that you should be aware of:

  • These pours are “barely legal” rye whiskeys as they only have 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. 
  • Both brands are part of the Beam Suntory family, other distinguished brands in the portfolio include Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Laphroaig and Sauza Tequila.

Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Knob Creek Rye: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

WhiskeyPrice
Basil Hayden’s Rye$52
Knob Creek Rye$37

Basil Hayden’s Rye vs Knob Creek Rye: Which is better?

Knob Creek offers more value

WhiskeyBasil Hayden’s RyeKnob Creek Rye
Nose
Body
Palate
Finish
Value
  • Basil Hayden’s has great looks but the juice inside lacks in body, proof and flavor to make a good whiskey at its current price.
  • The Knob Creek is tasty, yet smooth and far more affordable making a more rewarding sip and a better option to make cocktails.

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