When whiskey is aged some of the liquid in the barrels is lost to evaporation, this is called the Angel’s Share, but some soaks into the wood and stays there. Beam has coined this the Devil’s Cut; which is where the whiskey gets it name. So how does Jim Beam go about creating their Devil’s Cut?
First they take barrels of whiskey that have been aged for at least 6 years, so they say, and dump them for blending. They then take those barrels and us a proprietary process involving water, mechanical agitation and heat to basically “sweat” the barrels and extract the bourbon from the wood. Then they add the extract back into the previously dumped whiskey and bottle it as Devil’s Cut.
Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Review
Age: NAS (6 years)
Distiller: Jim Beam
Smells like a wood shop, but under that thick lumber lies layers of caramel, dark fruit, Jim Beam spice, molasses, toffee, toasted nut, under ripe citrus and a mild astringency. I know adding the ultra woody extract from the barrels is the whole shtick for this, but I feel like the wood is overpowering something that could otherwise be quite pleasant.
Caramel and wood battle it out with cinnamon chiming in from the sideline. That nutty character from the nose shows up with some dark fruit and leather in tow. Milling about in the background is some vanilla, a bit of yeast and that same astringency from the nose.
Wood and caramel dominate the finish with hints of leather, cinnamon and raw sugar cane punctuated with astringent undertones that slowly fade out.
BALANCE, BODY & FEEL
Not a well balanced whiskey with the woody extract dominating the show. Thick body and a remarkable amount of heat for only being 90.
It’s woody as hell and after a bit that’s almost all I can taste. It’s not like the warm woody character of something like a Pappy 23 where the wood is soft and inviting. Here it’s very abrupt, in your face and accompanied by an underlying astringency that builds the more I drink. All this wood and astringency makes it feel unbalanced and is far from being something I would call a daily drinker.
Jim Beam Devil’s Cut: Last Glass Update (12-08-14)
So here we are at the end of the road for this little bugger and oddly enough, I like it a little bit more despite it’s shortcomings. Enough to bump it up a point and land it on it’s final resting score of 78. The wood has become a little more astringent and aggressive while the youthful factors have become a little more apparent. The heat has stayed consistent throughout and it continued to be a distraction in that way. Though a nice pie crust quality in the aftertaste has arrived at the scene and even though it seems a bit at odds to the rest of the whiskey it works somehow.
FINAL VERDICT: Not for me. If I drink it and don’t think about it, it’s nice and unoffensive. However, the second I start thinking about what’s actually happening in the glass, in my nose and in my mouth it all comes apart and the wood starts feeling false, like wood flavoring, and the sweetness, spice and grain notes feel and taste young. It just does not come together for me. It’s definitely not a whiskey I have any desire to purchase again except to make cocktails with, because honestly, it does make a decent Manhattan.