Two bourbons crafted at the same distillery head to head in an in-depth comparison: Basil Hayden’s vs Jim Beam. Discover the better!
Basil Hayden’s Straight 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||Woodford Reserve, Angel’s Envy|
Nose is sweet and fruity, with hints of apple, something 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 body. 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, 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, this bourbon looks better than how it tastes making me consider other alternatives to Basil Hayden’s.
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 more rye to the mash bill. He’s the man on the label of Old Grand Dad.
- Distilled at Jim Beam Distillery which is owned by Suntory Holdings, headquartered in Japan.
|Nose||Caramel, vanilla, hay, corn|
|Palate||Toasty oak, peanut, vanilla, black pepper, oak spice|
|Finish||Short-lived, caramel, oak spice|
|Alcohol content||80 proof (40% ABV)|
|How to drink||Cocktails|
|Similar to||Wild Turkey, Jack Daniel’s, Evan Williams|
The nose is rich in corn, vanilla and butterscotch with a slight whiff of ethanol coming behind.
On the palate, Jim Beam feels thin with very little body. Flavor has some of the same sweet corn, vanilla and butterscotch hints, along black pepper, followed by a hint of acetone.
You also get the traditional peanut note noticeable on every Jim Beam Bourbon.
The finish is short and warm, leaving some sweetness, a bitter note from the oak spice and black pepper behind.
Jim Beam (Review) is a serviceable whiskey that comes handy when looking for something cheap to make cocktails but this is not something to drink either neat or use a sipper.
This bourbon is completely unremarkable, with no body, sweet at first but mostly warm and peppery. Jim Beam is not a good bourbon.
In summary, the Jim Beam Bourbon is a good mixer, but not good on its own. Just too harsh and peppery to make a decent sipper.
There are a few facts worth knowing about Jim Beam
- The mash bill is 75% corn, 13% rye and 12% malted barley.
- Jim Beam ages for 4 years in newly charred American white oak barrels.
- Jim Beam was founded by Jacob Beam a German immigrant in 1795 and is now property of Suntory Holdings, a Japanese conglomerate with an extensive portfolio in the drinks business.
- Suntory owns a zillion brands such as Sauza Tequila, Canadian Club Whisky, Laphroaig, Hibiki among many others.
Basil Hayden’s vs Jim Beam: Price comparison
Prices are approximate and stated in USD:
Basil Hayden’s vs Jim Beam: Which is better?
Basil Hayden’s is smoother and easier to drink than Jim Beam
|Whiskey||Basil Hayden’s||Jim Beam|
- Basil Hayden’s is surprisingly thin and bottled low proof, yet drinks much better than the Jim Beam which is harsh.
- For those looking for a sipping whiskey Basil Hayden’s is a better choice than the Jim Beam as it is quite smooth and easier to drink.
- If you are looking for a mixer to make cocktails or are looking for a whiskey to mix with Coke then Jim Beam is a better choice.
I am a bar and liquor shop owner in Oaxaca, Mexico where I have tasted hundreds of different spirits; perhaps more than I should!