Chris KelleyThe Drink: Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

The Comic: Pariah #1 published by Dark Horse Comics

The Drink
In 1785, Basil Hayden Sr. lead a group of 25 Catholic families out of Maryland and headed towards Kentucky. They settled in what is now known as Nelson County Kentucky near Bardstown. There goal was to settle together as one large community. Economics were most certainly a reason for the journey due to the scarcity of land in Maryland as well as the after-effects of the constant pillaging by the British during the Revolutionary War. Religious freedom also played a major role. After nearly a century of anti-Catholic bias in Maryland, many were seeking the freedom to openly practice their religion. To this day, this area of central Kentucky is known as the Kentucky Holy Lands.

Basil Hayden was also a master distiller and in 1796 created the recipe for this eponymous bourbon. His recipe was unlike any other and was not well received to the traditionalists in the area. He started with a traditional corn base then mixed small grains into the mash. He also used twice as much rye than anyone else at the time. The idea behind it was to use the spicy flavor of the rye to complement the sweet smoothness of the corn. Much to the dismay of his critics, it worked very well. Now, more than 200 years later, Hayden’s unique bourbon is alive and well.

Basil Hayden’s has light amber color to it. The rye definitely cuts through on the nose with hints of citrus and vanilla. It has a spicy yet sweet, honey flavor. The finish is short and clean with a hint of peppery spice. This is a light bodied, easy to drink bourbon that is perfect for a beginner or a long time bourbon fan. A bottle will set you back about $35-$40. With a bourbon this smooth, it probably won’t last long.

The Comic
I love going into a book without really knowing what it’s about. Sometimes it’s a dud and I yearn for my money back, but other times I stumble across something rather interesting. That’s exactly what happened with Pariah #1. Created by Academy Award-winning producer Aron Warner, written by Philip Gelatt and drawn by Brett Weldele, Pariah is a mystery, thriller and science fiction story rolled into one.

The story centers around a group of highly intelligent people known as vitros on a space station high above Earth. We’re not sure why they are there or who sent them. The only thing we really do know is that they are in grave danger. There isn’t a whole lot of character development outside of the narrator, Herman Toulane, who has a surprising journey in this issue. We soon discover that whoever sent them on this mission had no intention of them coming back. The space station they are in has lost control and is plummeting towards Earth. Characters are quickly introduced with little to no background at all as they come together to try and alter their fate. The story is very fast paced which works well and adds to the overall suspense.

Brett Weldele’s art is dark, gritty and absolutely perfect for this story. The washed out colors give the pages an uneasy feeling which adds to the desperate state of the characters. All of the panels are tightly framed to give you a claustrophobic, helpless feeling. Weldele does an amazing job of translating the dire situation the vitros are in. I felt genuinely nervous and restless while reading this issue.

The lack of world building and character development may cause a lot of readers to give up on this book. For me, it does the exact opposite. I have so many questions that I cannot wait to get the answers for. It left me craving more which is exactly how it should be.

Thanks for reading,
Christopher Kelley

Chris Kelley is Matt Baum’s cousin. We try not to hold that against him.