Basil Hayden Red Wine Cask Finish

When it comes to whisky/whiskey here in the UK, when we think of popular choices, the two dominant players are Scotch whisky and Irish whiskey. As far as bourbon and Tennessee goes, we have Jack Daniel’s and we have Jim Beam. Whereas JD may arguably be slightly more popular, Jim Beam has gained a lot of ground recently, thanks largely to the popularity of Basil Hayden bourbon.

Produced at the Jim Beam distillery in Clemont, Kentucky, and owned by Beam Suntory, Basil Hayden bourbon has undertaken quite the transformation in recent years, after having given their bottles and packaging a revamp, and dropping the apostrophe from their name so they are no longer known as Basil Hayden’s.

Introduced more than three decades ago in 1992, the Basil Hayden bourbon brand is turning a lot of heads lately thanks to their remarkable Red Wine Cask Finish bourbon. But what do we think of it here at GreatDrams? Let’s find out, shall we?

The Basil Hayden Story

Owned by Beam Suntory, which is a subsidiary of the Jim Beam brand, Basil Hayden bourbon is named in honour of Basil Hayden Snr.

Hayden Snr was a distiller who revolutionised whisky distillation in America. Hayden Snr would add more rye to his mash than a lot of other bourbons, which were usually more corn dominant. This gave his bourbons a unique characteristic and made them almost a hybrid between Scotch and bourbon.

Decades later, his grandson, Raymond B. Hayden opened a distillery in Nelson County and would honour his grandfather by giving his whiskey labels the name of ‘Old Grand-Dad.’

Beam industries would later add their small batch collection of bourbons, of which, Basil Hayden’s (note the apostrophe) was a proud member.

Basil Hayden Red Wine Cask Finish

It’s fitting that Basil Hayden bourbon should prove so popular here in the UK, as Hayden Snr, the man who started it all, actually had English blood in his veins. His family can be traced back to Norfolk, home of Delia Smith and Alan Partridge, A-Ha!

The Basil Hayden brand of bourbons continues to push the envelope and try new things and their Red Wine Cask Finish bourbon is a prime example of that.

Created thanks to master distiller Freddie Noe, this aged bourbon has been finished in an undisclosed Californian red wine cask, to give this burnt umber liquid a wonder light burgundy hue and an unmistakable fruity undertone. At 40% ABV it’s an easy sipper, and if you can resist pouring yourself a second glass, you’re much stronger than we are. This stuff goes down an absolute treat.

On the nose you get vanilla ice cream, cherries and berries, dried apricots, sultanas, and ripe grapes. The red wine casks have clearly worked their magic.

On the palate you should again pick up vanilla and caramelised sugar, with plenty of aromatics and notes of clove, anise, pink peppercorns, and cinnamon. Maple syrup and vanilla custard also shine through, along with black treacle, cranberries and raisins, and a touch of toasted oak. There’s a lott going on here, and we’re all for it.

The finish is surprisingly dry but smooth as you like, leaving plenty of tannins and red wine notes, coupled with blackberries, a hint of woodsmoke, oak, and more vanilla cream.

If you’re looking for more info on your favourite bourbons, or any other kind of whiskey/whisky for that matter, you should find everything you need here at and a whole lot more besides.

With all the latest whiskey/whisky news, virtual tastings, and a vast selection of all kinds of whisky to suit all budgets and palates, it’s easy to see why our customers continue to return over and over. Whatever you need, if it’s to do with whisky/whiskey, we can help.

Tags: Basil HaydenCask FinishRed Wine


My name is Greg, and I’m a brand strategy consultant, writer, speaker, host and judge specialising in premium spirits. My mission is to experience, share and inspire with everything great about whisky, whiskey, gin, beer and fine dining through my writing, my brand building and my whisky tastings.

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