When you Google “affordable luxury” on images, all manner of pictures come up for your perusal. I found this one to be the most hilarious! In and amongst all the Audi’s, BMWs, diamonds, and luxury resorts (none of which are very affordable in my world) was this photo which represents “Affordable Luxury” in Cambodia! This is something I can get behind, and not with a shovel! One thing that truly is an affordable luxury is Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
Beam has developed a process to “sweat” their barrels and extract every last drop possible from the wood. Hence the term “Devil’s Cut”, because that bourbon used to be part of the “Angels Share” (i.e. bourbon lost into the wood and through evaporation). I talked about it a couple months back and said I was looking forward to giving it a try, and sure enough on my last trip to the Liquor store there it was. So into the cart it went. and for $23 it truly is an affordable whiskey.
It looks and smells like regular Beam. Perhaps just a shade darker than Beam white with a little more wood on the nose, but not a really remarkable nose. As for legs, yeah they are there, but nothing much to write home about. It has a medium mouthfeel, not particularly oily but not watery either, just in the middle.
The flavor is where this whiskey shines. Something about the sweating and getting that whiskey that is trapped deep in the wood gives this whiskey a great and robust flavor. It starts out kinda sweet, but has a very robust woody presence, but (here’s the good part) is has no barrel astringency! That is right it has all the great woody flavor of caramel and vanilla and leather, without any of the off putting flavors that some woody whiskeys have.
This process gives all the benefits of longer term wood aging without any of the pitfalls. The finish on this bourbon is fantastic. At 90 proof it finishes like a whiskey at 100+ proof. Big and long lasting with a good burn. Smooth and not harsh, but it will clear your sinuses and that is just what the doctor ordered with all the pollen flying around these days!
I love it when innovation pays off, and in Beam’s case it has paid off in spades with a whiskey that tastes like an upper shelf product, but is affordable enough to be an everyday drinker. Have you had it yet? what do you think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.