|Country of origin||Kentucky, United States|
|Alcohol by volume||40.00%|
|Related products||Jim Beam|
Basil Hayden's is the lightest bodied bourbon whiskey in the family of Jim Beam small batch bourbons produced by Beam Suntory. It is 80 proof, in contrast with its three sibling brands of higher alcohol concentration (Knob Creek, Booker's, and Baker's).
The Basil Hayden's bourbon brand is named in honor of Basil Hayden, Sr., who was a Maryland Catholic that led a group of twenty-five Catholic families from Maryland into what is now Nelson County, Kentucky (near Bardstown) in 1785. This area is home to many of the famous bourbon brands, including Jim Beam. There Hayden donated the land for the first Catholic church west of the Alleghenies and the first Catholic church in what is now the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Hayden was also a distiller, and he used a larger amount of rye in his mash than in some other bourbons. Later, Hayden's grandson Raymond B. Hayden founded a distillery in Nelson County and named his label "Old Grand-Dad" in honor of his grandfather. The picture on the bottle was copied from a rendering of Basil Sr.'s likeness. When Beam Industries introduced their "small batch" collection, among the four was "Basil Hayden's", which the company says uses a mash similar to that originally utilized by Hayden in 1792.
Hayden's family can be traced back to England (Norfolk) to the period shortly after the Norman Conquest. One ancestor, Simon de Heydon, was knighted by Richard the Lionheart in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade in the 1190s. His son, Thomas de Heydon, was made Justice Itinerant of Norfolk by Henry III. Around 1400, another ancestor, John Heydon, appears to have been associated with "The Grove" – a large estate in Watford (Hertfordshire), located about twenty miles northwest of London. Some researchers have speculated that John Heydon was given the estate for his father Sir Richard de Heydon's services in the French Wars, where Sir Richard perished. Others are less sure. But Heydons definitely lived in Watford from the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries.
The Heydons emigrated to the Virginia Colony in the 1660s, when much of Britain became inhospitable to Catholics. Francis Hayden, Basil's great-grandfather and the first Heydon (then switching to Hayden), moved from Virginia to Maryland in 1678, settling in St. Mary's County on St. Clement's Bay, where the family remained until Basil led his band of Catholic families into present-day Nelson County, Kentucky. During the American Revolution, Basil supplied provisions to the Colonial Army.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (March 2013)|
- In the Friends episode "The One with the Girl from Poughkeepsie", Chandler Bing is bribed by a co-worker with some "Basil Hayden's" before the game, to set him up with Rachel, and he has no idea what it is.
- The Fountains of Wayne song "Red Dragon Tattoo" from the album Utopia Parkway features the line "Drink down a lot of Basil Hayden/Get kicked out when I can't see straight."
- Basil Hayden's is mentioned at various times on the HBO series Deadwood as a high-class brand of bourbon served at Le Chez Amis and the preferred drink of Francis Wolcott. The madam Joanie Stubbs breaks a bottle over his head at one point.
- In the James Bond novel by Jeffery Deaver, "Carte Blanche", Bond's bourbon of choice at his flat is Basil Hayden's.
- Lovett, Dennis; Robert Heasman and David Wild (1984). The Grove Story. British Railways Board (Double Arrow Club). ISBN 0-9509320-0-0.
- Hayden Family History: The Watford/Hertfordshire Branch
- Murphy, Morgan; Editors of Southern Living magazine (2014). Southern Living Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Foods. Oxmoor House. ISBN 978-0848743161.