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Basil Hayden brought back a popular limited edition bourbon — where you can get it

Basil Hayden brings back a smoky favorite

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Not only is Basil Hayden one of the all-time coolest names, but he was a whiskey pioneer who is often referred to as the “father of high-rye bourbon.” You also might not realize that his image adorns the bottle of Old Grand-Dad sitting on your home bar. His grandson opened a distillery and named the whiskey after him. Oh yeah, and his name is literally also used for a fairly popular whiskey brand. You might have heard of it. It’s made by Jim Beam (like Old Grand-Dad), and it’s called Basil Hayden (formerly Basil Hayden’s).

We love everything this whiskey brand makes. Its Kentucky Straight Bourbon is one of the first bourbons we ever tried. Its Dark Rye is great and so is its toasted barrel bourbon aptly named Toast. But, back in 2022, Basil Hayden released a truly unique, memorable whiskey that we couldn’t get enough of. And then, it was gone. We’re talking, of course, about Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke.

What is Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke?

Basil Hayden
Basil Hayden

Originally released as a limited-edition expression in 2022, it’s finally making a comeback. As the name Subtle Smoke would suggest, this isn’t a robust, campfire whiskey like you’d find from Scotch whisky makers like Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Ardbeg. No, this is more nuanced and “subtle.”

This high-rye bourbon isn’t made with smoked grains like the aforementioned Islay single malt whiskies. Instead, the folks at Basil Hayden added light smoke to this complex whiskey by finishing its aging process with six weeks in toasted and lightly charred oak barrels that were filled with hickory smoke.

What does it taste like?

Whiskey bottles
Adam Wilson/Unsplash

If you’re lucky enough to taste this epic whiskey, you should first give it a proper nosing. If you do that, you’ll be greeted with notes of toasted vanilla beans, caramel, oak, and light hickory smoke throughout. The palate continues this trend. There’s a ton of sticky toffee, vanilla beans, maple candy, and light smoke. The finish is warming, caramel sweet, oaky, and ends with a gentle kiss of hickory smoke.

How much does it cost?

Two whiskey glasses
Anastasia Zhenina / Unsplash

If you missed out on Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke the first time it was released in 2022, you aren’t going to want to miss it again. Even though its popularity makes it seem like it will (like the McRib) make another triumphant return, we don’t know when. Snatch up a few bottles while you still can.

You might be wondering what you could possibly pay for this epic, smoky bourbon whiskey. Well, you don’t have to pay the equivalent of a month’s mortgage to get your hands on a bottle. This sweet, smoky, highly sippable whiskey sells for a suggested retail price of only $50. That’s a small price to pay for such a unique flavor experience. You can grab a bottle right now at an online retailer like Reserve Bar.

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Christopher Osburn
Christopher Osburn is a food and drinks writer located in the Finger Lakes Region of New York. He's been writing professional
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