Discover the differences between Basil Hayden’s vs Eagle Rare in this in-depth comparison and decide which Bourbon is better for You!
Basil Hayden’s Bourbon
|Nose||Apple, floral, rye spice|
|Palate||Oak, cherry, spice, pineapple|
|Finish||Medium, vanilla, apple|
|Alcohol content||80 proof (40% ABV)|
|How to drink||Neat|
|Similar to||Old Forester, Buffalo Trace|
Nose is sweet and fruity, with hints of apple, a scent that reminds of fruit cocktail cherries in pineapple juice and a soft hit of rye spice.
On the palate, Basil Hayden’s feels thin and watered-down lacking in texture. Flavor is oak up-front, soaked grains and moves to sweet cherry in the middle.
You also get a the roasted peanut note you get in every whiskey crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery. This peanut note is present in the Jim Beam (Review), Knob Creek, Booker’s and even in the Old Grand Dad and the Old Crow!
Don’t know if this peanut note is by design or by accident but is the common theme at Jim Beam.
The finish is short and unremarkable with more apple and pineapple hints, along some rye spice to it and just a little heat that you feel on the way down.
Overall, the Basil Hayden’s is a smooth and well balanced bourbon where the rich rye presence in the mash doesn’t feel.
It lacks body as it feels thin, the finish is quite short and the low proof doesn’t help its cause.
In summary, the Basil Hayden’s looks better than how it tastes as I find it underwhelming for a bourbon at this price.
There are a few facts worth knowing about Basil Hayden’s:
- The current mash bill is 63% corn, 27% rye and 10% malted barley.
- It does not carry an age statement.
- This brand was introduced in 1992 and is named to honor Basil Hayden, the distiller that went against the grain by adding rye to the mash bill. He’s the man on the label of Old Grand Dad Bourbon.
- Distilled at Jim Beam Distillery which is owned by Suntory Holdings, headquartered in Japan.
|Nose||Toasted oak, orange peel, maple syrup|
|Palate||Oak, dried fruit, vanilla, caramel, baking spice|
|Finish||Oak, tobacco, leather|
|Alcohol content||90 proof (45% ABV)|
|How to drink||Neat|
|Similar to||Buffalo Trace, EH Taylor, Blanton’s|
The Eagle Rare is made at the Buffalo Trace Distillery using the same mash bill as the Buffalo Trace. The difference lies in the aging as the Eagle Rare is aged for 10 years while the Buffalo Trace for 6.
Additional aging provides a dryer and oakier taste to the Eagle Rare making it feel like a grown-up iteration of the Buffalo Trace.
Nose kicks-off with toasted oak, followed by orange peel, red fruit and maple syrup.
On the palate, the Eagle Rare shows a creamy body as the texture feels buttery. First sip is strong in oak, but as you let it develop vanilla, dried fruit, caramel and baking spice pop-up bringing good balance to the dram.
The finish is long, providing a bit of a bite, with more oak to it, along old leather and tobacco notes.
Adding water brings a bit more of caramel, tunes-down the finish, although it remains oaky.
Eagle Rare might not be the best bourbon for beginners as it’s a bit too oaky, but it has plenty to appreciate as it drinks quite nicely and makes one of the best 10 year old bourbons.
Definitely a keeper at MSRP ($50-$60) but not good enough to pay a crazy price for it!
I have compiled a list of alternatives to the Eagle Rare that should look into as it has become increasingly hard to find.
There are a few things worth knowing about Eagle Rare:
- It ages for no less than 10 years in new, highly charred American oak barrels under the sun.
- The barrels are hand-picked for quality and consistency before bottling.
- The brand was launched in 1975 by Seagram, was later purchased by the Old Prentice Distillery and was acquired by Sazerac in 1989.
Basil Hayden’s vs Eagle Rare: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
|Basil Hayden’s Bourbon||$45|
Basil Hayden’s vs Eagle Rare: Which is better?
Eagle Rare is better whiskey than the Basil Hayden’s
|Whiskey||Basil Hayden’s||Eagle Rare|
- Eagle Rare is an upgrade over the Buffalo Trace while Basil Hayden’s tastes like a watered-down version of the Bulleit Bourbon.
- Eagle Rare is solid from nose to finish, with the right amount of warmth to delivering a satisfying experience with no let downs.
- Basil Hayden’s is too thin and lacks the proof for a bourbon at this price point.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!