Basil Hayden’s is a proverbial standard for whiskey drinkers — aficionados and novices alike— who want something clean, smooth and approachable, sans any burn or backlash. 

The entire line of Basil’s is relatively tame, to be sure, yet they’re all hard to resist. 

Basil Hayden’s Rye was aged four years in 53-gallon barrels and transferred to quarter barrels and left for another seven years. It sold swiftly. It was also a limited release. 

But here’s something new. 

Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye, Beam Suntory says, is the first permanent addition to the Basil portfolio.

“Much like Basil Hayden’s flagship bourbon, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye is designed to stand out in the ever-expanding crowd of American whiskies,” Beam says in a news release. “Uniting the duo of Kentucky straight rye whiskey and Canadian rye with a splash of California port, Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye offers an ideal sipping experience through harmoniously layered flavor.  

“The spiciness of Kentucky straight rye whiskey pays homage to the high-rye content and trademark spice of Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, and balances seamlessly with the soft, rounded presence of Canadian rye from the award-winning Alberta Distillery. A finishing touch of California port ties a bow of sweetness and deep ruby-color on this unprecedented blend.” 

It’s complex yet simple. Sippible almost to a fault. It’s rich in caramel and molasses, oaky with a finish of licorice and savory rye spice. 

It runs about $40 and, as I’ve said before about this offering, it’s the perfect introductory whiskey — both bourbon and rye.  

Into cocktails? Try this one, from Basil Hayden’s: 

Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye Boulevardier  

INGREDIENTS 

1 1/2 parts Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye 

3/4 part Campari 

3/4 part sweet vermouth 

2 dashes orange bitters 

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir. 

Strain into a chilled glass and serve. 

Garnish with an orange peel.