Review: Jim Beam Devil's Cut Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey / by Jason Hambrey

Jim Beam Devils.jpg
Charred Virgin Oak
~75% Corn, 13% Rye, 12% Malted Barley
Distiller Jim Beam (Clermont, Kentucky)

Once bourbon is emptied out of a barrel, quite a large amount (about 7 gallons) remains soaked into the wood of the barrels. Jim Beam created a proprietary process to extract this whisky out of the barrel staves, using heat, water, and agitation on the barrels from 6 year old bourbons. It is called the “devil’s cut” because it is typically product lost to the barrel, contrasted to the “angel’s share” which is whiskey lost to the atmosphere through evaporation out of the barrel. This whisky has been around for some years, but was one of the first bourbons pushing for the very oak-centered bourbons which are now quite popular.

Review (2014)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2013

Nose: Dried apricot, dry oak, dried corn husks, but also fresh peaches and fresh apricots – and the smell of corn is definitely there. A bit earthy and mossy from the oak, and a bit spicy. Vanilla as an integral part of the rest rather than its own thing. A little simple, but engaging and well done – and nicely creamy as well.

Taste: Nice viscous feel, with vanilla on the front, with good (perhaps a touch too much?) background sweetness and a lovely spicy bite on the end. There’s corn, candy corn, corn oil, caramel, before the finish takes over with the oak and the spices. Well balanced, and delicious, though a bit simple, perhaps.

Finish: Oak, for sure, on the finish, with lots of vanilla, coconut, oak earthiness, tapioca pudding, dried apricot, and a bit of nuttiness, and even a touch of acidity. Quite big, and still with nice body and a slight bit of tannic dryness. The oak, as might be expected, really comes out on this one.

It is probably my choice for a budget sipper bourbon, at least of the ones available in Ontario (though its calmer, more complex sibling Jim Beam Black is a very nice whisky too). I quite like the bold profile, the feel, and the integration of fruit, oak, and corn. It is, as I have said, fairly simple – but those things are done well and fit together well.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher). As long as you like oak, I think this was fine stuff!

Value: High. 31$ for this stuff is a good deal.