The Devil – It's complicated

A week or so ago I received a bottle of Devil’s Cut, the new premium bourbon from the Jim Beam family of products. I’ve been waiting for things to slow down a little before cracking the bottle for some sips.

I used my sipping glass that I received from a friend a few years ago: no ice, just an ounce on Friday evening and again on Sunday evening.

Devil's Cut

Jim Beam's new product: Devil's Cut at 90 proof. The foundation of the product comes the alcohol that is absorbed into the wood of the Oak barrels.

Devil’s Cut is a rich amber color in the glass.

When trying a new product, I have taken to trying small samples on two separate occasions. The first sample reveals initial reaction, but the second tasting I’ve usually found more flavors delivered.

On the first tasting, I found an aroma of cherries and fruit. At first sip there was some spice and a bold, peppery finish.

On Sunday evening, while starting to read Last Call – The Rise and Fall of Prohibition by Daniel Okrent, I decided it was appropriate to pour my second sample in my sipping glass. And this time, Devil’s Cut delivered an entirely fresher experience. It’s a quite complicated product.

Where, on Friday, I detected cherry and fruit, this time I realized there is a strong vanilla aroma with a secondary fruit background. The initial taste delivers a sweet, somewhat subtle smokey taste. And the finish remains spicy on the back of the the throat.

I’m not ready to pick favorites. I have some bourbons I like more than others. Devil’s Cut would be a bourbon I would order with a good steak dinner.

Devil’s Cut, by it’s name, delivers a boldness that is in contrast to the other recently introduced bourbon, Angel’s Envy. Both have qualities that make them uniquely different, as you might imagine. Where does that boldness come from in Devil’s Cut? The distillery will tell you it is their process of extracting the aged product that has been absorbed into the wood of the barrel. They have developed a way to get that bourbon out of the wood. Those last drops are then blended to deliver the rich character.

If that’s what it takes to deliver a bold, product, keep wringing those drops out of the wood.

The Devil will be available in Kentucky later in the summer at a price around $24. It is billed as a premium bourbon – in the same price range as Woodford Reserve and Maker’s Mark.

While the spirit is bold and complicated, I was hoping for a little more in the presentation of a premium product. The cap could have been a little more than the simple metal screw top. The bottle shape and label design also did not connect me to a bold premium product with a unique name. Of course I expect a good product, and Devil’s Cut delivers that. In addition, I want to have the whole experience, that I have something special.


About Kim Kolarik

Exploring bourbon one sip at a time and sharing the experience.© Contact me at I've followed the original bourbon trail from my native Pennsylvania, where the whiskey rebellion erupted to Louisville, Kentucky, my current home. Bourbon is now in a revolution of expansion. I'll be bringing you news, information and tasting notes of bourbon from Kentucky and the emerging craft distillers from around the United States. I am photographer, designer and editor. --Kim D. Kolarik
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