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Bottom-Shelf Bourbon Brackets 2017, Round 1, Jim Beam Double Oak vs Jim Beam Devil's Cut

Posted on by Eric Burke

Round 1d of the 2017 Bottom Shelf Bourbon Brackets features Division 2 Number 2 seed Jim Beam Devil's Cut versus Number 3 seed Jim Beam Double Oak. 

I think this is an interesting match-up. Both of these bourbons are products of Beam-Suntory, produced at one of the two Jim Beam distilleries in either Clermont or Boston, Kentucky. Both of these products are non-age stated bourbons, meaning they are at least four years old. And both of these are attempts to add more oak than standard Jim Beam white. Devil's Cut does it by shaking the barrels with water to draw out some of the residual bourbon locked in the staves and using that to proof down the finished bourbon. Double Oak does it by putting the "fully-matured" white label bourbon into a second new, charred-oak barrel for a while.

These were tasted blind in the following order. My thoughts on each are from before the reveal.

Jim Beam Double Oak

Purchase Info: $19.99 for a 1 Liter bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 43% ABV, no age statement.

Produced by: Jim Beam Distillery (Beam-Suntory)

Nose: Grain initially. After a bit, it settled down to mint, buttered popcorn, and brown sugar.

Mouth: Peppery heat, shortbread cookies, grain, and oak. 

Finish: Short side of medium length with peppery heat and peanut.

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: It's amazing how different a bourbon can be when you taste it side-by-side with something than it was when you tasted it alone. I'm getting much more grain on this than I remember getting on either of these when I previously reviewed them.

Jim Beam Devil's Cut

Purchase Info: $19.99 for a 1 Liter bottle at Total Wine, Burnsville, MN

Details: 45% ABV, no age statement.

Produced by: Jim Beam Distillery (Beam-Suntory)

Nose: Alcohol, generic fruit gum, grain, and hints of mint.

Mouth: Vanilla sugar, oak, and baking spices. 

Finish: Medium with some heat, lingering dark chocolate, and peanut notes. 

Pre-Reveal Thoughts: Sweet with a richer flavor profile than the other one. The dark chocolate on the finish seals this one for me. 

Who wins?

Two bottles from the same producer. Both different ways of trying to accomplish the same goals. Both closer than I remembered them from previous reviews. Am I starting to like Jim Beam? I guess we will find out next time when Jim Beam Devil's Cut and all the other round-one winners compete for the Fancy Shelf Title. Stay tuned!

Jim Beam Devil's Cut advances to the Second Round

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