Do You Know Basil Hayden
Many of you recognize the eighty-proof whiskey brand that has become very popular but do you know Basil Hayden, the man? When Booker Noe created the small batch collection for Jim Beam, he named one of the bottles after Basil Hayden. Joining Bookers, Bakers, and Knob Creek, Basil Hayden continues to gain fans worldwide.
Looking for religious freedom
The Heydon family was part of a large group of Catholics anxious to leave England during the reign of Henry the Eighth. When the English monarch broke away from the Catholic church, the country became inhospitable for many church members.
St. Clements Bay Maryland
The Heydon (now Hayden) family moved first to Virginia and then to St. Mary’s County in Maryland. Maryland was more welcoming to Catholics, and young Basil was born and raised there. In the 1700s, Basil was employed in the merchant trades and possibly supplied materials and supplies to the Continental Army. After American independence, Basil leads a group of more than twenty Catholic families to Kentucky. Traveling to Kentucky was arduous, and several offspring of Basil and his wife did not survive the trip.
Farmer and distiller
Having settled near present-day Bardstown, Kentucky, Basil began farming and distilling on a small scale. Legend says that Basil Hayden produced whiskey with a higher rye content than most distillers. He was also philanthropic and donated the land to build the first Catholic church in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Lewis Hayden took over the family distillery after Basil Hayden’s death. Lewis married a member of the Dant family, also known for making whiskey, and together they raised a family. Raymond Bishop Hayden, the second son of Lewis and Polly, succeeded his father in the family distillery. Raymond continued distilling but also grew his farming operations. After the Civil War, Raymond’s property holdings’ value was $30,000. Equivalent to over a million dollars today.
A legendary Brand
R. B. Hayden took on a former revenue agent as a partner and grew the business into a commercial-scale distillery. At this time, they introduced the whiskey brand Old Grand-Dad in honor of his grandfather Basil Hayden. To my knowledge, the only man honored by two separate whiskey brands. Basil Hayden and Old Grand-Dad Bourbons. Beam Suntory now produces both of these bourbons.
Basil Hayden Subtle Smoke
The latest release from Basil Hayden is Subtle Smoke. This bourbon is secondary aged in a barrel infused with smoke. The smoke is subtle but is an easy sipper that will be welcomed by existing Basil Hayden fans, along with bourbon drinkers that enjoy an easy-to-drink, 80-proof whiskey. Watch our Subtle Smoke video HERE. Do you know Basil Hayden? I hope you have enjoyed a little history about a legendary man in bourbon history.