The term “Angel’s Share” is a common term to describe the amount of spirit lost to evaporation during the aging process in a barrel. Jim Beam has cleverly coined the term “Devil’s Cut” to describe whiskey which has soaked and become trapped into the barrel and is typically not used in the production of whiskey. This trapped whiskey is what makes bourbon barrels so attractive for use in aging other spirits, like scotch whisky, tequila and rum. For their new Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon, Jim Beam has extracted this trapped whiskey using a proprietary process with steam and water and then blended that extracted whiskey with some of their regular aged bourbon.
Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon (90 proof $23.99) is deep amber in color. The extracted bourbon carries with it a tremendous amount of tannins and color from the barrel, giving this whisky a deep, dark color. The nose is clearly dominated by strong oak tones with clear cinnamon spice and an undertone of vanilla and caramel. It’s a bold and spicy nose, much more aggressive than the tradition Jim Beam. The entry is very oak forward as the oak notes explode on the palate. Things ease a bit by the mid palate and more of the vanilla and caramel notes find their way from underneath the bold oak. There are some slight cinnamon spice notes present but they do battle with the oak and ultimately get lost. The finish is fairly long and dry with the oak notes really lingering.
Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon is clearly aimed at the bourbon drinker who loves oak. Some of the other flavor notes are overpowered here. The nice cinnamon spice on the nose gets decimated on the palate, and the caramel and vanilla have a hard time balancing with the oak. From a marketing perspective, the release is pure genius. Jim Beam has done an exceptional job on everything from the concept to the bottle. While Devil’s Cut may not be for everyone, it’s an interesting exploration of the impact of the barrel on bourbon and a unique option for people who love the bold oak taste of a bourbon barrel. Highly Recommended