I’ve never been a big fan of the Jim Beam range of Bourbons. Their signature yeast strain always seems a bit, well, yeasty. Particularly in the White Label, but it’s also evident in their other whiskeys. I had read mixed reviews on this product, but since it’s inexpensive, decided to give it a go for myself.
The gimmick or secret, depending on how you want to look at it, of this Bourbon is the method of retrieving the whiskey that’s been soaked up into the porous oak barrels after emptying them, squeezing the sponge, if you will. This gives a depth of oak character to what is a relatively young Whiskey at around six years old. It’s also bottled at 45% alcohol, so there’s more flavour than the average budget Whiskey. Oh, Devil’s Cut is the opposite of Angel’s Share; a term which refers to the booze that evaporates in barrel during the ageing process. Clever marketing.
The nose is all toasted almonds & macadamias, and some banana too. It gives the impression not of a heavily aged Whiskey but of maybe a blend of younger and older stock (think High West Double Rye). Oats, polenta and more banana come through on the palate with a nutty finish. I will say that it does have good length of flavour, even if it doesn’t excite me much. There’s a leaning towards fullness of body and a brashness of rye spice, almost like an untamed beast.
The other day I wasn’t feeling like drinking anything strong, so I decided to try the dregs of this bottle with a good measure of chilled water. Surprisingly, it made for a very pleasant drink in the approximate 2:3 Whiskey to water ratio. It makes for a mild drink that is bolstered by good body and length, with a flavour of honey and again, toasted nuts. Again, odd for me, but this might be my preferred method for drinking Devil’s Cut. Maybe a Bourbon for those of you who like the rocks. I don’t say that very often, so pay attention. For what it’s worth, didn’t make a particularly good Old Fashioned, which is my usual yardstick cocktail.
Price: $42 (AUS)