But if you have taken a tour either here or in Kentucky, you've probably been told about the angel's share, which is the portion of a barrel of whiskey which evaporates through the pores in the wood during the aging process. In some whiskeys, a significant proportion of the alcohol can be lost in higher humidity climates.
Rather than cry over spilled whiskey, the distillers at Jim Beam have decided to try to go after the dark side of the equation — The Devil's Cut. According to them, they have discovered a way to create a unique whiskey using a proprietary process that extracts the liquid trapped inside the wood of the bourbon barrels. The product is a robust premium bourbon with a deep color, aroma and character that showcases notes of wood, oak and vanilla derived from the barrel wood.
The resulting 90-proof spirit is indeed a fairly unique product. The nose does have a lot stronger notes of wood and vanilla than your normal everyday bourbon. (What? You don't have an everyday bourbon?)
Devil's Cut doesn't have the dark, tarry character I was expecting. Instead, the whiskey has a very pleasant, strong charcoal flavor derived from emptying barrels of extra-aged, six-year Jim Beam Bourbon, after which the barrels are agitated to extract the trapped bourbon and flavors from the barrel wood. The liquid (with the extracted elements it now contains) is then held for an appropriate length of time until it has developed the proper balance of bourbon notes until finally being added back to extra-aged Jim Beam to create the Devil’s Cut Bourbon.
If you haven't called bullshit by now, then you are exactly the sort of open-minded consumer who should try this stuff out. The suggested retail price is $23.99, so there's little to no premium over regular well whiskey, but the depth of flavors, which you can enjoy up, on the rocks or with a splash of Coke or water, is definitely worth the experiment. The finish on this stuff lasts long enough for you to actually get up and pour yourself another shot as it lingers and changes in character for minutes after the first sip.
If you're the kind of drinker who loves tannic red wines or lots of oak in your Chardonnay, then this is the spirit for you. I would think that pairing this with a Redneck Taco from Martin's BBQ could be a quasi-religious experience. Call ahead in case Pat needs you to bring a little extra for him. Or me.