Basil Hayden's

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For the basketball coach, see Basil Hayden.
Basil Hayden's
Basil Hayden.jpg
Type Bourbon whiskey
Manufacturer Beam Suntory
Country of origin Kentucky, United States
Introduced 1992
Alcohol by volume 40.00%
Proof 80
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.[citation needed] 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[citation needed] 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.[citation needed] One ancestor, Simon de Heydon, was knighted by Richard the Lionheart in the Holy Land during the Third Crusade in the 1190s.[citation needed] 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"[1] – 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.[2] Others are less sure. But Heydons definitely lived in Watford from the fourteenth through seventeenth centuries.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

Popular culture[edit]


Food critic Morgan Murphy said "The rye-heavy whiskey is aged 8 years and carries a buttery flavor and smooth, tannic finish."[3]


  1. ^ Lovett, Dennis; Robert Heasman; David Wild (1984). The Grove Story. British Railways Board (Double Arrow Club). ISBN 0-9509320-0-0. 
  2. ^ Hayden Family History: The Watford/Hertfordshire Branch
  3. ^ 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.