Whiskey Review

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.

Knob Creek Rye Whiskey by Jason Hambrey

Knob Creek Rye.jpg
Charred Virgin Oak
N/A (but at least 51% Rye)
Distiller Jim Beam (Clermont, Kentucky)

This whisky is “patiently” aged, as opposed to the old age statements of 9 years across the Knob Creek bourbons. This is the latest addition to the Jim Beam small batch collection, and much of the best of the Jim Beam rye whiskey goes into this. This is a "rye" not a "straight rye"...are they adding something to this? Straight rye has restrictions on additives, age, and coloring in a way that American "rye" does not. However, I suppose we just need to see how it tastes...

Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: L3182CLH 13282005

  • Bottling Date: 2014

Nose: As a rye whiskey, this displays many of the key characteristics of rye – the floral, fruity, and vegetal notes – however, it noses quite a lot like a bourbon. I would imagine this, though more than 51% rye, is not too much more than that. Vanilla, tobacco, lilacs, honey, oak, linseed oil, caramelized dried apricots (I know, that’s a strange one – but if you ever roast dried apricots with meat, it’s a similar aroma), cereal aromas and a bit buttery. Quite lovely.

Taste: A bit sweet at first, leading to some apples before some linseed oil, honey, oak, corn, and rye come in on the finish. The honey and oak fit very much into the general Knob Creek style, and the rye influence isn’t lost.

Finish: Quite vibrant, with the floral rye and mint lifting the whole finish at a floral level while there is still earthy oak coming in underneath. The finish has decent length, and good body. The whisky is a bit spicy, and leaves some nice spices in the mouth as well, though sometimes the finish just feels a bit empty and sweet.

It’s quite a moreish whisky, as with the other Knob Creeks! Lots of flavour here, with great spice, and the integration and overall whisky is very nice, and consistent throughout.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average.