So Jim Beam has a new sort of bourbon available: it’s Devil’s Cut, and I’m tempted not to tell you this because if you already know about angel’s shares and whatnot, you’ll have it explained to you anyway by alcohol store employees who assume you’re clueless. At least that’s what I ran into. During the process of aging a bit of alcohol, some of it evaporates. This is that angel’s share. What Jim Beam has done is get at the bits left inside the barrels used for aging. Hence, the…well, you know.
Now, I could go into details about the process that they use for extracting the alcoholy bits from the wood, but frankly I’ve read it over twice and my eyes sort of cross and I feel an overwhelming desire to sleep. It’s much cooler to just say “they extract the bourbon from the wood” and leave it at that. (If you want the smaller version, the official site has some info on it.)
Anyway, because it is such a cool and novel sounding idea, I–sucker for marketing ploys that I am–was dying to find it. Now, Jim Beam–here’s a note for you, because I know you read the site–when somebody emails you asking for availability information, you know, email them back. Because chances are they want to give you money. Just saying.
[ad#longpost]Having finally found the stuff, you can see what the shot is: it’s 90 proof Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It’s six-year-old whiskey blended with that stuff they pull from the barrel wood. And when you try it from a freshly opened bottle, there’s a bit of a bite at the beginning that mellows out and then just goes warm. It’s not unpleasant, it just has a distinct sharpness to it. Doc described it as “green.” Now that the bottle has been…ahem…emptied some more it appears to have mellowed somewhat, getting richer rather than sharp, and getting some sweetness and caramel-esque action going on. What I found is that it works really well with some ice, calming it down a bit.
But here’s the thing: does it live up to the cool nature of its creation? Well…no. It doesn’t taste like anything terribly special. I confirmed this with the four or so other people who tasted it around the same time. Apart from the initial bite, there’s nothing to make it stand out or remain memorable. And now that it’s mellowed out a bit–or at least it seems to have–there’s nothing distinctive about it. It wouldn’t become one of my go-to bourbons. I wouldn’t shy away from it, mind you, but once this bottle is done I probably won’t be snagging some more. If you are considering it, try some at your local bar before you grab a whole bottle.