Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Review


Jim Beam Devils Cut Review

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

ABV: 45%
Age: NAS (6 years)
Distiller: Jim Beam
Price: $20

Deep caramel

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.

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.

SCORE: 78/100



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.

Josh Peters

Josh Peters

I read about, think about, write about, and drink whisk(e)y. In short, it's my passion.
Josh Peters

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30 Responses to Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Review

  1. Strongly disagree… See what I did there? I love this whiskey as a daily drinker. In fact, it’s converted me to a Jim Beam drinker. I agree that it’s surprising that it’s only 90 proof. It has the bite and heat of a stronger whiskey, which means you get to drink a little more without sacrificing the feel of a stronger bourbon.

  2. Josh I’m w/you on this one. I’m not a sophisticated whiskey consumer, but I know what I like and don’t like when it hits my palate and this one didn’t do anything for me. Like I said I’m not sophisticated but there was something that was just not “quite right” about it. Maybe it was all the wood you mentioned. I finished the bottle because well, I’m a drinker but I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this again. But its always fun to try something with a little bit of a new twist however.

    • Knowing what you like and don’t is the most important thing there is in whiskey so I’d say you’ve got it right! I see a lot of people who like things only because they thing they should like them and it’s sometimes hard to divorce yourself from hype, so in that aspect I’d say you’re ahead of the curve 🙂

      Cheers Bryce!

  3. I’m glad it isn’t just me. I’ve tried to like it because I like the idea behind it. Usually I’m all about the earthy and woody palate, but Devil’s Cut is too astringent indeed, not smooth, and doesn’t even sit well in the gut. I’ll try to use it up in cooking.

  4. This one was just okay for me neat, but I thoroughly enjoyed it on the rocks (not like I normally take ice in my whiskey, one large chunk, but in an ice filled tumbler). Ice melt brought out enough sweet notes to balance the wood. This would make this a good summer bourbon except for the fact that every time I think about picking up a bottle, I see all the other/better choices available to me in the $20-$25 range.

  5. Idk maybe I’m nuts. As I sit on my patio on this nice Pennsylvania February afternoon strumming the acoustic and sipping some Devils cut … I like it. Definitely not in the same league as buffalo trace or WT101 for the same price point. But I’m not mad at it.

  6. I gave this one a try over the weekend. Picked up Devil’s Cut because I saw that it won a Silver Medal in this years SFSC World Competition. I always like to pick up something new, try it, then check out this site to see what others think. I probably should do it the other way around, but I to remain unbiased before the tasting.
    Trying neat…the nose was woody and pleasant, no overpowering alcohol bite. On the tongue, lots and lots of oak, some caramel and vanilla trying to come through….then nothing. For me, there was no finish…it’s like it had evaporated on the palette. I was rather disappointed.
    Later, I added a couple of cubes of ice. The hint of water brought out more of the caramel and vanilla notes and some of the spices while it tempered the woody effect. Overall, I probably won’t be buying this one again. But it answered the question of what all the fuss was about. With lots of marketing (like Beam does) it will sell it’s share. But really, nothing to write home about. Cheers and thanks for this great site!!

  7. Picked up a flask for $13. I think it’s tasty. Ice helped bring out some flavors. It does fall a bit flat after pushed down the throat but it’s a good solid drink. Now, if I could only find Mila Kunis to share it with…….oh well. I’ll open my 2007 EW PR. Cheers!

  8. Tried some of the Devil’s Cut offering today and all I can taste is oak and vanilla. It’s not offensive and I feel like the bourbon is tame for the proofage. If you like your bourbons on the sweeter side I think you’d like it. If not you probably would find it to simplistic. Either way, I am happy with it at the price point.

    • Boys I’ve always been a Jack Daniels man. One of my salesmen bought me a bottle. Tried it last night. also let me preface this I am in no way shape or form a Jim Beam man. Not a fan. This on the other hand did for me what Jack gave up years ago and that was the 90 proof “bite” I enjoyed it. Probably will buy more at some point. Not disappointed at all. Jack I feel cut its throat long ago. Went through the distillery last year and ask why the reduction of proof. I got the answer of the customers requested it. My answer was didn’t get that survey…cheers everyone

    • That sounds great, it’s a great cooking whiskey for sure. I’ve used it in making BBQ sauce many times and also in making desserts like bourbon brown sugar glazed peaches and brown butter bourbon ice cream 🙂


  9. First taste struck me as pretty good . More distinctive than, say the Beam Single Barrel. My palate prefers a lot of oak presence in bourbon at this time anyway.

  10. We love the Devils Cut! It has taken over the entire Bourbon debate. When we go fishing, we go with the Devils Cut! Daily would be preferable….

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