Saturday night I had plans to make pictures of Jack Daniels and discovered the quantity on hand in my liquor cabinet was not what I expected. Someone in my house got to my stash and I needed another bottle quick. It was 9:30 PM and the local state liquor store closes at 10. Luckily, it all worked out and the planned photo shoot started on schedule at 10:30 (yes, I like shooting late…I’m not a morning person).
In a perfect world, my par limit would be three bottles of each of the brands and type I enjoy most (vodka, tequila, bourbon, scotch, light rum, dark rum, gin, Irish whiskey, Tennessee whiskey, triple sec, and a selection of mixers, and things like Irish cream, schnapps and other liqueurs). The wine cabinet would have a nice selection of reds and whites, and of course the beer ‘fridge would be an eclectic collection of great craft beer.
Unfortunately, it is not a perfect world, and I’m terrible about keeping the inventory up to date and I routinely need to rush off to the store every time I want to make something. Terrible I know, but most of us are in the same boat here (admit it). Furthermore, when I have friends and family over it’s nice to offer a great selection and have the ability to make a cocktail.
Nonetheless, I do enjoy going to the liquor store to see what is new, or simply to browse the aisles. During my rushed visit, I was reminded that I have been wanting to try Devil’s Cut (Jim Beam). For those not familiar with Devil’s Cut, or bourbon for that matter, the basic concept is this. Kentucky bourbon is aged in charred American Oak barrels for a period of years and during this process there is evaporation (aka the angel’s share), maturation (the expansion and contraction of the wooden barrel adds color and flavor to the whiskey), and absorption. Absorption is the part that was wasted according to tradition…until now. The folks at Jim Beam discovered a process to release the trapped whiskey that was absorbed into the wood and aptly named it, “Devil’s Cut”.
(Photographer’s note: As you can see, the setup for the Devil’s Cut is exactly like the Jack Daniels shot. Since I had the lights set up, and everything out and ready, I decided to get a shot of the Devil’s Cut before I ran out and needed to make a run to the store again. The bottles in the background are there to give the illusion that this was shot at a bar…the bottles are part of my inventory that I do manage to have on hand)
Keep in mind, Devil’s Cut is still bourbon, real Kentucky bourbon (not a whiskey made like bourbon and called bourbon…it is real bourbon). I could go on about why bourbon is only made in Kentucky, but that is a whole new post and the discussion fuels many tempered opinions, so, I’ll just move on. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if someone made whiskey in Alabama and called it “scotch” — that would be bad to say the least.
Devil’s Cut, as one might expect, is a bourbon with a much more pronounced oak and earthy taste with a nice spicy heat that lingers on the tongue. I love it, but I also love great bourbon so I am a bit biased. Jim Beam is also my preferred brand, but I must say this new Devil’s Cut is my current favorite. I might add, Knob Creek, Single Barrel Reserve (also a Jim Beam brand), has been my long standing bourbon of choice and has a similar flavor to Devil’s Cut. I should taste them side by side to compare, but that would mean I need to adjust my inventory and as I mentioned earlier, my inventory habits are not ideal.
If you are a real Kentucky bourbon fan, you owe it to yourself to try Devil’s Cut. I think Jim Beam’s master distiller and the folks in research and development got it right with this one. It has the trademark Jim Beam flavor with the added intense, robust nature that only something with the name Devil’s Cut could pull off. Neat, on the rocks, as a shot, or mixed with cola, this bourbon is unique and well worth a place in your cabinet. Even if you race to the liquor store to buy the next bottle like I do.