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Basil Hayden’s vs Old Grand Dad: Discover the Better!

Discover the differences between Basil Hayden’s vs Old Grand Dad in this in-depth comparison and decide which bourbon is better for You!

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

NoseApple, floral, rye spice
PalateOak, cherry, spice, pineapple
FinishMedium, vanilla, apple
Alcohol content80 proof (40% ABV)
How to drinkNeat
Similar toAngel’s Envy, Woodford Reserve

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, 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 across Jim Beam Bourbons.

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 as I find it underwhelming for a whiskey at this price 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.

Old Grand Dad Bourbon

NoseVanilla, oak, rye spice
PalateRye spice, oak, corn, brown sugar, cinnamon
FinishShort-lived, moderately warm, oak spice
Alcohol content90 proof (45% ABV)
How to drinkRocks, cocktails
Similar toBonded, Wild Turkey, Terry Bradshaw Bourbon

Old Grand Dad and Basil Hayden’s are not the same bourbon but they are very similar.

Both are crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery using the same mash bill high in rye and bottled at the same proof.

The difference lies in the aging. The OGD is aged for 2 years while the Basil Hayden’s for 6 years which removes some of the hard edges.

There is also a substantial price differential between these bourbons, too.

The nose is sweet at first, with a hint of vanilla, followed by oak and rye spice.

On the palate, Old Grand Dad hits you with rye spice up-front. As you let it develop it provides oak, along a sweet corn note, brown sugar and cinnamon.

The finish dies fast, with some warmth to it but not much. There is some oak astringency to it but nothing terrible.

Old Grand Dad is cheap and drinkable as it’s smooth, with very little warmth, although it feels thin and watered down lacking in body.

Very easy to drink but nothing to write home about. Throw it with Coke and call it a day.

Learn more about this brand by reading my post: Discover the Best Old Grand Dad Bourbon where I rank every bottle.

There are a few facts worth knowing about Old Grand Dad:

  • It does not have an age statement.
  • The mash bill is 63% corn, 27% rye and 10% malted barley.
  • Old Grand Dad was founded in 1882 but it has changed ownership several times throughout its history.

What do Basil Hayden’s and Old Grand Dad have in common?

Crafted at the same distillery from the same mash

  • Both are crafted at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, KY, with no age statement, using the exact same mash bill high in rye (27%) and bottled at 80 proof (40% ABV).
  • The man on Old Grand Dad’s label is Basil Hayden himself. Hayden was the first distiller to add rye to the mash.

Are Basil Hayden’s and Old Grand Dad the same bourbon?

Barrel management makes them different

  • These bourbons have no age statement but I suspect Old Grand Dad is aged at the minimum of 2 years, while the Basil Hayden’s must be aged somewhere between 6 to 8 years.
  • You can tell there is a big differences in aging as the Basil Hayden’s feels more polished and refined, with less warmth to it and more oak; although it feels just as thin and watered down.

Basil Hayden’s vs Old Grand Dad: Price comparison

Prices are approximate and stated in USD:

Basil Hayden’s$46
Old Grand Dad$20

Basil Hayden’s vs Old Grand Dad: Which is better?

Basil Hayden’s tastes a bit better

  • Basil Hayden’s is marginally better than Old Grand Dad, as it is somewhat more tasty and feels more refined.
  • But Basil Hayden’s is just marginally better but not incredibly better to justify the huge price gap between the two.
  • Both bourbons feel thin, lacking in proof, using the same mash bill so there is no reason for the upcharge.

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