In whiskeymaking, you lose a large amount of spirit to evaporation as it sits in barrels for years. This is an accepted part of the process, and the spirit that vanishes into the air is known, poetically, as “the angel’s share.”
With tongue firmly in cheek, Jim Beam is (soon) releasing this new whiskey: Devil’s Cut, meant to refer to the spirit “trapped deep in the barrel.”
I’m not sure if Jim Beam is really “tapping” into this wood-imprisoned spirit (or how it would even be possible), but either way a brand is born: Devil’s Cut, 90 proof, intended as a deeper, more intensely wooded spirit.
The whiskey is a winner. It offers a bigger wood profile than standard white label Jim Beam, but it isn’t overdone, as many extra-oaked whiskeys tend to be. Devil’s Cut is much smoother and sweeter than its infernal nickname would imply, featuring classic Bourbon character — vanilla and wood — plus an infusion of cinnamon and allspice. It’s not terribly complex — or, even at 90 proof, very fiery — but it is all in balance.
Pricing hasn’t been announced (and packaging is not yet finished, although based on preliminary bottles I’ve seen, you can expect a “burning” theme), but I expect it will fall in the $18 to $25 range. Not a bad deal from a continually underrated distillery.
UPDATE: Final bottle shot added below.
A- / $TBD / jimbeam.com