Friday Tastings: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut

If you pal around with whiskey folk (despite your mother’s best efforts), you’re bound to hear talk of “The Angel’s Share:” the amount of barreled spirit lost to evaporation every year. Heaven remains inaccessible, but Jim Beam has found a way into a more infernal liquor cabinet. The Devil’s Cut is their term for the bourbon trapped in the barrel after dumping. Super-oaked, impossible to extract, this bit has gone largely ignored until now. Using a proprietary steaming process, Beam has rescued this whiskey, Orpheus-like, from the underworld’s clutches. The (likely undrinkable) remnants are blended with 6-year old Beam to make this rich, mahogany-colored, 90-proof bourbon. Devil’s Cut has a powerful but uncommonly dry body; vanilla and caramel take second billing to cut oak, musty wood shop, and a tannic, tongue-drying finish. Incredibly inventive, and undeniably delicious. If you like bourbons with pronounced woodiness (Woodford Reserve say, or Jefferson’s Reserve), Devil’s Cut—suggested at $24.00—will treat you right. And if not, it’s still worth a try. New whiskey-making techniques don’t come along every day.

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