Friday, July 15, 2016

Taking The Cut - Jim Beam Devil's Cut

Jim Beam Devil's Cut

So of course we all know of the Angels Share but Jim Beam have created their own Devil’s Cut.

Released a few years ago now Jim Beam Devil's Cut is a contribution to the Jim Beam stables by current master distiller Fred Noe. I have met Fred a couple of times now and he tells the story like this about the creation of the idea. When he was a lad first working at the distillery (around 13 years old), he would be charged with jumping in the truck and dropping off recently emptied barrels of Jim Beam. Fred was told that “there is still whiskey in those barrels” and was let in on the secret on how to extract the spirit trapped in the wood through the combination of adding water and letting sit in the summer heat. This method is know as "sweating the barrel".

Effectively the method on how Jim Beam now extracts the whiskey from the wood is not much different though details are scarce. A couple of litres of water is added to the barrel, sealed, and then let sit in the hot temperatures. Over the course of a few days the liquid from the wood seeps back into the belly of the barrel. The final liquid is around 6 litres of so of including the original 2 litres of water initially added. This whiskey, clearly heavily oaked, is then blended with 6 year old bourbon to find the right balance of flavour that has become the signature profile of Devil’s Cut.  Proportionally speaking there is not a lot of Devil's Cut actually going into this bourbon but I think is enough to tell the difference. Either way it makes great story and a great bourbon.

Jim Beam Devil’s Cut
Distillery: Jim Beam Distillery
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45%
Wood: New American Oak
Age: NAS, 6 years minimum

Nose: Herbal with a hot oak spice and a typical sweet bourbon corn body. The richness is profound but I find an older oak like distraction edging in constantly.

Taste: Quite smooth working well as a sipping whisky. The hot oaks from the nose appear very quickly while drying cocoa elements slip in. Though I am sure it is partly to do with the higher ABV I am sure but there is something different in how this whiskey performs with the taste buds as I find the sweet grain spirit dryness much more obvious.

Finish: Long and rich but also dry and high in the throat. Not too much warmth in the chest while it gets woody and herbal in the mouth the longer it lingers. Leave it a bit longer and dark chocolate starts to become very obvious.

Overall it is a great whiskey but its middle ground leaves me a bit wanting overall. Because the flavour is there I also expect to get that Kentucky chew happening which seems to just not be seen. Essentially the bags were packed and the ride has departed without the passenger. I am sure, if I was not a big fan of the small batch bourbons from JimBeam, then this would suffice rather well.

If you are familiar with the more premium Knob Creek and Bookers families then this falls somewhere between Jim Beam White and those. Priced well at aorund $43AU I would be more inclined to buy this over the Jim Beam White as you get considerable higher ABV at 43% and profile. If I was to give a dram 4.75 out of 7. I just want more I just want more that chew.

The Baron