Recently I had the pleasure of being invited out to a dinner and bourbon tasting by the good people at Jim Beam. I of course, being the bourbon/whisky/scotch lover that I am, I happily agreed and made my way to Aft Bar to experience what the night had to offer.
When I arrived, I was greeted with a drink right away to kick off the evening, which was set up to introduce us to some of the Jim Beam family of bourbons, including Devil’s Cut, Knob Creek Single Barrel, Knob Creek Straight Bourbon and Basil Hayden’s. Bourbon expert and enthusiast Matt Jones was on hand to guide us through the distinct characters of each and to explain to us how bourbon is made from Bourbon.
For those of you who don’t know, bourbon whiskey is a type of American whiskey: a barrel-aged, distilled spirit made primarily from corn, that has been made since the 18th century and is strongly associated to the southern states — Kentucky, in most cases. Jim Beam has been a huge factor in making and distributing there line since 1795, and are now in their 7th generation of continuing the family tradition. 219 years in and Beam still continues to be the number one selling premium bourbon portfolio.
What started with the original Jim Beam white label in 1795 has turned into an impressive, distinctive and broad collection of fantastic spirits.
As bourbon ages, a portion of the liquid is lost from the barrel due to evaporation – that’s the “angel’s share.” After aging, when the bourbon is dumped out of the barrel, a certain amount of whiskey is left trapped within the wood of every barrel — that is the Devil’s Cut.
The Devil’s Cut is made by recapturing the rich bourbon and flavors trapped in the barrel wood, and carefully adding them back into the triple-aged six-year Jim Beam Black Label Bourbon, resulting in a 45% alc./vol. spirit.
AROMA: The aroma of Devil’s Cut showcases the deep notes of vanilla and wood pulled from the extracted liquid of the barrel.
TASTE: By extracting the liquid trapped within the barrel wood, bold bourbon notes of wood, oak and vanilla are unleashed and give Devil’s Cut an intense but smooth flavor that separates itself from other bourbons.
FINISH: Long, smooth, with a hint of sweetness and heavy campfire smoke.
MIXABILITY: Devil’s Cut should be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, mixed with cola or as the base in new or classic cocktails.
RETAIL PRICING: Jim Beam Devil’s Cut Bourbon is available at the LCBO at $29.95 / 750ml bottle.
Award winning Knob Creek is handcrafted in limited quantities using time-honored recipes, aged a full nine years, and hand-bottled at an honest 50% alc./vol.
AGE: Aged 9 years in deeply charred American oak barrels.
AROMA: Toasted nuts, grain, oak.
TASTE: Rich, sweet, woody, full-bodied, almost fruity.
FINISH: Long, right and glowing.
MIXABILITY: Knob Creek Bourbon is perfect straight or cooled slightly with one or two ice cubes. It can also serve as the based in a number of classic and modern day cocktails.
RETAIL PRICING: Knob Creek Bourbon is available at the LCBO for $46.95 / 750ml bottle.
The barrels that become Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve are hand-selected by Fred Noe, seventh generation Jim Beam Distiller and son of Booker Noe, the founder of the Small Batch Bourbon category and is 60% alc./vol.
AGE: Aged 9 years
AROMA: Robust vanilla and caramel notes; slightly smoky.
TASTE: Deep and complex flavors of vanilla, nuts and oak.
FINISH: Long and full; perfect for easygoing sipping.
MIXABILITY: Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is best enjoyed neat or with an ice cube.
RETAIL PRICING: Knob Creek Single Barrel Reserve is available at the LCBO for $54.90/ 750ml bottle.
The eponymous Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon dates back to 1796, when Master Distiller Basil Hayden Sr. created a recipe unlike any other. He used a traditional corn base, but mixed in small grains in his mash to capture the spicy flavor of rye and complement the sweet smoothness of corn. Basil Hayden’s is unequaled in that it utilizes twice as much rye in it as the other bourbons in the Collection and is 40% alc./vol.
AGE: Aged 8 years.
AROMA: Spice, tea, hint of peppermint.
TASTE: Spicy, peppery, honey, light-bodied, gentle bite.
FINISH: Dry, clean, brief
MIXABILITY: Basil Hayden’s® has a broad appeal and is equally enjoyable alone or in cocktails.
RETAIL PRICING: Basil Hayden’s® Bourbon is available at the LCBO – $51.95 / 750ml bottle.
For me, drinking is all about really enjoying the aroma, flavors and finish, whether drinking it straight, on the rocks or as a mixed drink. Having tried all the above offerings from Jim Beam, I can say that I really enjoyed them all. I must say straight up I particularly loved the Knob Creek Single Barrel, as it had a delicious caramel scent and deep, delicious vanilla and oak flavors; perfect for sipping. With the Devil’s Cut, I may have discovered a new favorite drink.
– 1 1/2 OZ Devil’s Cut
– 2 dashes of orange bitters
– shake on the rocks
– top with ginger beer,
– garnish with orange zest.
I highly recommend trying it.
So, the next time you are looking to have a drink, maybe it’s time to sit down with Jim Beam. And if you’re already a fan, the only thing I’d say is: You have great taste!