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Saturday, February 16, 2019

Basil Hayden's Two-By-Two Rye Review

Welcome to the review for Basil Hayden's Two-By-Two Rye. This is Basil Hayden's attempt to combine their rye and bourbon whiskies from their aging stock to create a unique flavor. To accomplish this, they combine two of their bourbon whiskeys with two of their rye whiskeys to create this version.

Let's get started with the details!

Beam Suntory (Jim Beam)

Age: Unknown

Location Produced: Basil Hayden's Distillery, Clermont, KY

Mash Bill: Unknown (however, the ratio is near 20% bourbon to 80% rye)
Aroma (from manufacturer): Rich caramel and brown sugar complemented by back notes of soft rye and vanilla

Taste (from manufacturer)A balanced blend of sumptuous rye and brown sweets with an ample woody accent

Finish (from manufacturer): A pleasant, long, lingering warmth

Alcohol: 40%

Who is this for?: Bourbon aficionados looking for something different. People looking for a whiskey on the lighter side that still has some flavor. People named Basil or Hayden.

Cost (Ohio): $44.99 + tax

Let's start the review. 

Taste - Score 27 out of 35
On the nose, we picked up the rich caramel smell as well as other sweet notes with a bit of dill. The nose has more of a bourbon smell than rye.

Drinking straight, there was quite a bit of flavor for a rye (rye's give up some taste for less bite and better smoothness). This has a truly distinct dark and smoky taste with corn sweetness, dill, and a bit of oak. However, when we poured over the rocks, most of the flavor was diluted and it tasted overly sweet and wasn't as enjoyable as other rye's (Bulleit/Willett). The verdict on this really depends on how you drink your whiskey. I tend to drink on the rocks with a splash of water. Ashwin and Johny K prefer straight. 

Smoothness/FinishScore 19 out of 25

This strikes a delicate balance of being smooth on the throat without too much of a bite and has a buttery finish. We would say it's more medium on the length. Ashwin came in with short, almost diluted and a bit thin. However, overall, the consensus is that it was pleasant and easy to drink.

Intangibles: Color/AppearanceScore 11.5 out of 15.

The appearance of the bottle of the 2x2 is nearly identical as regular Basil Hayden's except for the colors. In our Basil Hayden's bourbon review, we said:
Basil Hayden's comes in a tall bottle with a foil cover, a paper label, and a wood and metal 'belt' that holds everything together. This is one of the fancier labeling operations that there are available. 
One thing that is missing is the batch and/or bottle numbers. Not a huge deal. Overall, this bottle looks great on the shelf. 
Same is true for this. The bottle is a bit more colorful with the green and also doesn't contain a batch and/or bottle number. 

In terms of the color, it comes in a bit on the lighter side. The pictures below are next to a Knob Creek Twice Barreled Rye on the right and Longbranch on the left. Basil Hayden's 2x2 is lighter than both. 

Availability - Score .5 out of 5

We've been on the hunt for this bottle for almost six months prior to purchasing. This hunt included multiple states and countless liquor stores in Ohio. We were able to finally track down a bottle in at the Giant Eagle Grandview Yard Market District in November, 2018. Unfortunately, I hadn't seen it before and we have rarely seen it since. 

Overall Value - Score 13 out of 20

At $44.99, I don't think I would buy this over regular Basil Hayden's ($39.99). It is cool to have because it's so exclusive and the bottle is really attractive on the shelf, but in terms of cost/benefit, we think you're getting a better value going for regular Basil Hayden's or the Basil Hayden's Dark Rye ($44.99).

Final Score: 71 out of 100 - Solid

Note: This review was done by Mark and Johny K with tasting notes from Ashwin. The bottle was purchased at the Grandview Yard Giant Eagle, in beautiful, Grandview, OH

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