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Jim Beam to Give Us The “Devil’s Cut”

Beam's new innovative bourbon product, Devil's Cut

Jim Beam is set to deliver a new product called Devil’s Cut in May, 2011. ‘Devil’s Cut’ is Beam’s trademarked term for whiskey that is still “trapped within the wood” after dumping. In other words, the dregs. We aren’t sure of the exact process Beam is using to retrieve the dregs from the wood, but it has been confirmed by Fred Noe that it some form of barrel sweating. Beam officially said this about its process: “Through a unique, proprietary process, we extract this formerly lost liquid from deep inside the barrel wood and put it back into our special Bourbon. The resulting liquid is deep in color, aroma and character with robust notes of wood and vanilla.”

There is no age statement on the bottle, but Fred Noe confirmed that the base is 6 year old Jim Beam, but the flavor is supposedly very different. We have heard it tastes like Beam, but has more oak and a longer finish. Noe says, “pulling more [bourbon] out of the wood is the key to this product”. It will come in at 90 proof and the retail price will be about $24 for a 750/ml bottle. We are glad to see the innovation and looking forward to something new. Let us know what you think about it if you have been fortunate enough to get a taste.

See more about Devil’s Cut on Chuck Cowdery’s Blog.

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Maker’s Mark Introduces First New Bourbon in 52 Years

Loretto, KY (June 30, 2010) – Maker’s Mark is once again bringing innovation to the Bourbon industry with today’s release of the company’s first ever new Bourbon, Maker’s 46. In celebration, Maker’s Mark President Bill Samuels, Jr., continuing in the tradition his father began, hand-dipped and sealed ceremonial bottles of Maker’s 46 Bourbon in the brand’s iconic red wax with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear at the historic Maker’s Mark Distillery.

Maker’s 46 is a handcrafted, full-bodied Bourbon whisky that starts off as original Maker’s Mark. The transformation into Maker’s 46 begins when fully matured Maker’s Mark is emptied from the barrel so that 10 seared French oak staves can be affixed to the sides. Then, Maker’s Mark, which is made with red winter wheat for a smooth taste, is put back in the barrel and aged for several more months, allowing the natural caramel, vanilla and spice flavors released by the staves to enhance the end product.

“This new expression is a breakthrough in the contemporary craft of bourbon,” stated Mr. Samuels. “We have used innovative techniques never before employed by the Bourbon industry to create a full-bodied bourbon without any bitterness.”

The creation of Maker’s 46 was a collaborative effort between Bill Samuels, Maker’s Mark Master Distiller Kevin Smith, and Barrel Maker and

“Wood Chef” Brad Boswell of Independent Stave Company. Samuels and Smith started with a clear idea of how they wanted the new bourbon to taste – full-bodied without any bitterness – and turned to Boswell to help develop the recipe.  They knew this would be no easy task, if it could be done at all.

After much experimenting, Boswell decided to try a searing technique on French oak staves that had never been used before to make bourbon.  He delicately seared the staves just enough so that the caramel and vanilla flavors from it were released and only a small amount of tannin, which adds bitterness, came out of the wood. The name Maker’s 46 comes from the profile number Boswell assigned to this winning “wood recipe.”

Samuels notes, “Over the years whisky consumers’ palates have moved toward bigger and bolder flavors. So, I wanted to craft a contemporary interpretation of Maker’s Mark that matched with current tastes, but didn’t want to mess up what my father had created or disenfranchise any of our loyal fans.”

Kevin Smith adds, “Maker’s 46 is spicier and has a more intense aroma than Maker’s Mark. It has rich caramel and vanilla flavors, and even at 94 proof it’s soft enough to hold on the tongue. You can drink it on its own or mix it into a cocktail.”

Initial reactions from Bourbon experts to Maker’s 46 have been positive. Malt Advocate Publisher and Editor, John Hansell has noted in his review, “The French Oak staves in ‘46’ add firm, complex, dry spices (lead by warming cinnamon, followed by nutmeg and clove)…which dovetails well with Maker’s trademark layered sweetness.”

Additionally, Charles K. Cowdery, Editor-in-Chief of The Bourbon Country Reader – a publication dedicated exclusively to American whiskey – says, “Compared to standard Maker’s, there is less citrus and more fudge. It is very, very good.” Jose Garces, Owner of Garces Restaurant Group and Food Network Iron Chef, has also reviewed the Bourbon and states, “… I really enjoy its fruit-forward notes with flavors of vanilla and caramel lingering from the aging process. The finish is extraordinarily smooth and the flavor pleasantly stayed on my palate.”

Only 25,000 cases of Maker’s 46 will be shipped by the distillery this year, making bottles of this first batch a rare commodity. The new Kentucky straight bourbon whisky will be sold in 750ml bottles and retail for approximately $10 more than Maker’s Mark (prices vary state to state).

For more information about Maker’s 46 and Maker’s Mark, go to www.makersmark.com (must be 21 years of age or older), or visit Maker’s Mark on Twitter and Facebook.

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Buffalo Trace Set To Release Latest Experimental Collection

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection

Photo by Nash Werner

Buffalo Trace Distillery is set to release the latest installments in their Experimental Collection. These two new bourbons, Fine Grain Oak and Coarse Grain Oak, test the effect of different wood grains on aging. Specifically, do barrels made of fast growth oak trees have a different effect on flavor than slower growth trees with finer grain? The new Buffalo Trace experiments were left in the barrels for 14 years and 9 months. Suggested retail price is $46.35 each. Each experiment is rare and very limited. There will be 300 bottles (375 ml) of each experiment released.

1. FINE GRAIN OAK: The bourbon is rich and exceedingly sweet with an almost syrupy character. It also has a nice balance of flavors and complexity.

2. COARSE GRAIN OAK: This whiskey is dry with a balance of smokiness and wood with herbal qualities. The finish is quick and woody and it is slightly heavy with a powerful complexity.

“We continue to learn new and interesting information from these experiments. We never know how they are going to turn out,” said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller. “It’s also great to see the excitement that surrounds these releases. The customer feedback is great.”

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Chuck Cowdery has more details about the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection at his site. Thanks to BBQandbourbon.com for their coverage of this story.

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