6 years old; 90 proof
As you may have read here, Jim Beam master distiller Fred Noe recently played host to a special tasting for the Bourbon Women Association. He sent us all home with goodie bags containing little bottles of what we’d tasted along with a bonus: a sample of Beam’s new bourbon, Devil’s Cut.
The name “Devil’s Cut” plays off the angel’s share, the 4 percent or so of maturing bourbon that is lost each year to evaporation. After a barrel is dumped, about 2 gallons of whiskey remain trapped in the wood, Noe said. In a process called sweating the barrel, “we put about 35 gallons of water in there and shake it like a paint can at Home Depot,” he said. The resulting extract is blended with 6-year-old bourbon and bottled at 90 proof. Let’s give it a try.
Aroma: Vanilla, spice, evergreen
Taste: Brief sweetness at the front, quickly overtaken by oak. Lots of alcohol burn for a 90 proof. Flat, dry finish with a lingering spiciness.
Verdict: I love the origin of this bourbon’s name and the enterprising spirit who decided to market what I’ve heard old-timers talk about producing themselves from discarded bourbon barrels. The nose of this bourbon was promising; unfortunately, the flavor didn’t deliver on it. It’s like they say: The devil is in the details.