Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey; Kentucky Springs Distilling Co.; Frankfort, Kentucky; $45/btl
Some time ago, my wife’s uncle died. Yes, it happens. He was getting ready to take a shower and had a heart attack. As the saying goes, “Life sucks, and then you die!” It happens to all of us, and when our time is up, well …
As it happens, my wife’s mom was the sole inheritor, and she got her brother’s house. Unfortunately, Uncle Tully was a bit less tidy than one might hope, and the home was quite a mess. The appropriate term would be “A disaster touched by a tornado in the midst of a hurricane out in the desert.” It was bad. The only perspective I can give you is that television show called Hoarders.
At any rate, since I had lots of remodeling experience the family asked my wife and I to move in and fix the place up. It was both a curse and a blessing, and it took 2 years of my sweat, blood, and tears to remodel the place. In the end, though, my mother-in-law sold us the home and we’ve been here, now, for 9 years.
So, what does that have to do with this particular selection of Daddy Juice? Well, there came a day — a Sunday, actually — when I was nearing completion of the remodel. In fact, I was hammering the very last nail on the very last sheet of paneling in the garage, and the place was finished. Finished, I say! I was working alone that day and there was no one else around the place. I was super-excited about that last nail and I wanted to treat myself to something special. At first, I had no idea what that was going to be, but then I new it had to be a nice bottle of whiskey.
So, I headed to the liquor store and did what I normally do: I hunted the labels, looking for the bottle that would jump right into my arms. On that day, at roughly 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the bottle that yelled loudest was Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It was wearing this nice, little paper suit held up by a little wood and copper belt and seemed so formal and proper. I read the label copy and learned that Mr. Hayden was 4 when George Washington was running the country, and that he wanted to make some good whiskey to show off his skills and blah, blah, blah. You know how it is.
Anyway, I took that bottle home and, having no one to drink with, sat down next to the fire pit and poured a shot into some random glass I had laying around. It was at that moment that I realized just how special that bottle was. I hadn’t even put it to mouth, yet, when I was reminded of the incredible blessing my wife and I had received. 2 years of hard work had impressed my mother-in-law enough that she sold us the place for 1/2 what it was worth on the open market. I felt so truly blessed right then that I decided to do something most will find strange, but which I knew in that moment was the right thing to do. I gave thanks to the God of Heaven and poured that first shot out into the fire pit in honor of Him. I was just completely moved and wanted Him to have the first taste.
Then I got down to business. 9 years later and Basil Hayden's sits on my Bottom Shelf because of that story. And it has held up very well. It’s so smooth and easy to drink, and the spices come at me like toasted cinnamon bread and honey. Every time I drink it I’m immediately transported back to that day and I reminisce over the hard work that lead to the 1/2 acre chunk of ground my family has called home for nearly a decade. And I'm also reminded of just how good I thought it was then, and still to this day. Basil Hayden's is good whiskey!
To finish this one off, I want to say that, sometimes, it’s not just what’s in the bottle that shines. Sometimes, it’s why you have the bottle in the first place. Most whiskey doesn’t carry much of an individual, personal story, but some of it does. Sometimes, there is that special place, or that special someone, or — in my case — that special blessing, and that person or event or place or whatever adds at least one star to whatever you happened to be drinking at that particular time. Fortunately for Basil Hayden’s, it doesn’t need any help!
Basil Hayden's Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Who is this guy?
I'm just an average, ordinary, everyday Ken, and nothing more. I like wine, whiskey, and beer. I write when I'm bored (and to prove it I've published three books). I like to garden, work with wood, and laugh with family and friends. Ken's Bar is an expression of my enjoyment of adult beverages of all shapes and sizes, but especially whiskey. My tasting notes are as much about stories and connections with people as they are about fluffy, snobbish adjectives. I've tasted a lot of whiskey (including the costs-way-too-much Rip Van Winkle stuff) and decided to start writing about it. Or something. So, sit back and read. If you can.
How do I rank?
Cost per Bottle:
$ - $0-$25
$$ - $26-$50
$$$ - $51-$75
$$$$ - $76-$100
$$$$$ - Over $100
* - Swill. Dump it out.
** - Mix it with coke
*** - A good sipper
**** - Straight from Heaven.
***** - Heaven called and wants its whiskey back!
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