By: Andrew Whiteley
K&L Staff Member
I had the unusual experience of tasting this out of 5 different prototype whiskey glasses from Denver and Liely (makers of my favorite whiskey glass). I was flabbergasted by the results. Since this was my first glass trial, I was stunned by how much effect glassware shape has on how you perceive the contents of the glass. The glasses I tried were variations on two themes: smaller and tighter bowls and a more expansive bowl with a narrow, but flared opening. The Basil Hayden Dark Rye showed like two different sides to the same coin. In the tighter glass the spicy nature of rye really dominated. There was a distinctly grainy quality to the nose, and subsequently, the taste. The richness of those spices really made it feel like I was just drinking a high-quality rye. However, in the larger bowl with the narrowed opening to concentrate the aromas, the Dark component of this dram really shines through! The port addition (not port barrel aging, but actual port wine added) lends spectacular dark fruit aromas of cassis and blackberry. The anise of the wine plays perfectly with the peppery notes of the rye. The glass trial really highlighted for me the complexity of this spirit and how much drinking pleasure it will give, whether I want to pick it apart or just slam it back and enjoy.