Bourbon Review: Jim Beam “Devil’s Cut”

Jim Beam "Devil's Cut"

When you take a look at the label on the Jim Beam “Devil’s Cut,” you’ll read the following:

“As Bourbon Ages, the Angel’s Share is Lost to Evaporation. The Devil’s Cut is Trapped in the Barrel Wood – until Now.”

This bourbon hit the market in 2011. The cute name is a reference to the aging process of the whisky in the barrel. As with any liquid, part of the whisky evaporates. This lost whisky is often called the “angel’s share.” The longer a whisky ages, the greater the share that goes to the angels and not to us poor mortals. Whisky isn’t just lost to the air though; it also gets soaked into the barrel.

Jim Beam claims to have perfected an extraction process to get this absorbed whisky back out of the wood and into our glasses. After extracting the whisky from the barrel, they mix it in with some six-year-old Jim Beam bourbon and sell it at 90 proof as the Devil’s Cut. They say they use a “proprietary process,” but it isn’t particularly clear what this means. There are actually some fairly simple methods for doing this which have been in use for … well, pretty much forever, the most common being “swishing” or “Barrel sweating,” which isn’t particularly proprietary. Amusingly enough, this product came out the same year as an 86.6-proof bourbon called Angel’s Envy.

Getting along with things, the Devil’s Cut is a medium warm brown liquid in the bottle; it isn’t quite reddish enough that I would call it “amber.” Opening the bottle, I smell charred oak and some kind of nut, probably almond. There is also some sweetness, maybe brown sugar or toffee. I am also catching a hint of banana.

Now on to the tasting. The first thing I am getting on the palate tastes very sugary, almost like root beer. There is some vanilla here as well as that charred oak and some peppery spices. Something in here reminds me distinctly of fall or winter, a kind of holiday flavor—probably cinnamon or nutmeg, or both. The sweetness goes out before the long finish—and it is a long finish. The oak lingers for a good long time along with a hint of bitter toffee, if that is possible. The spices are still there too, and now I think I detect clove as well. All in all, a very nice whisky bourbon for around $20, especially if you are a fan of oak (what can you expect, with a whisky extracted from a barrel?).

Summary: Jim Beam “Devil’s Cut” Kentucky Straight

Colour: Warm, medium brown, almost amber.

Nose: Charred oak, almond, toffee or brown sugar, banana.

Palate: Charred oak, toffee or brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper, clove.

Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 Review (and Giveaway!)

Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0.

Last year, Brett from Screwpop Tools sent me a tiny cigar accessory called the Screwpop Cigar Punch. It’s perfect for anyone who loves pairings, because you can use it as both a cigar punch and a bottle opener. It’s small enough to fit in your pocket, but also can conveniently be clipped to belt loops or anything else.

Brett just recently sent me the new, upgraded Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0, which I was very excited to try since I liked the first one so much. This new version of the tool is very much the same as the original, with a few minor differences. It’s larger, heavier, and appears more solid. The punch also seems slightly larger in diameter. It’s more expensive than the original Screwpop ($14.95 as opposed to $7.95). The blade is just as sharp and the punch cuts are perfect. I found the bottle opener rather easy to use, but I remember having to try a couple times with the original to learn what I was doing. Still, one should note that the process is not as smooth as with a regular bottle opener.

Screwpop Cigar Punch 2.0 (left) and 1.0 (right)

Which do I like better? I’m not really too sure; they both work great. It’s a matter of individual preference whether you want a heavier or lighter tool. You might take the cigars you smoke into consideration too. The original punch was already slightly too large for some petit coronas, and this one is even larger. So think about the ring gauge you usually smoke, and make a decision based on that. Another thing to note is the fact that the 2.0 version has a way to clear out the punch after use, which was lacking in the original version.

Now … onto the giveaway! Courtesy of Screwpop Tools, we’re giving away three of these handy little cigar accessories to our readers! To enter, just leave a comment on this post. What's your favorite type of cutter and why?

In one week, the winners will be randomly selected. You may enter this contest from any country.

Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2

Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2

Juan LopezOrigin : Cuba
Format : Robusto
Size : 124 x 19.84 mm (4.9 x 50)
Ring : 50
Box date : SEP 2011
Weight : 11.66 g
Hand-Made
Price : ~$230 for a cab of 25
More info about purchasing Juan Lopez cigars...

The Juan Lopez brand is definitely not among the most famous Cuban brands. This particular Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2 is well aged; I purchased my box back in 2011. I tried the Seleccion No. 2 fresh out of the box then forgot about it, and wanted to see how the flavors have been enhanced by the aging process.

Read the full review of Juan Lopez Seleccion No. 2...

Dominion Cigars Contest Winner

Dominion Black Lotus Ashtray

Last week we reviewed a cigar called Dominion Black Lotus and Steve Ricker, the owner of the company, was very kind to provide an ashtray and a couple of cigars to give away to a lucky reader of Cigar Inspector.

...and the randomly chosen winner is: Jay R.! Congrats, we just sent you an e-mail regarding the prize.

Thanks again to Steve, we wish Dominion a lot of success on this difficult market.

2014 Black Friday / Cyber Monday cigar deals

Black Friday cigar deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday cigar deals, carefully hand-picked for you. This post will be updated on Monday, bookmark for future reference!

  • Gotham Cigars - this year, Gotham has some traditional discounts (e.g. $10 off every order over $100, etc.), some interesting samplers, but my favorite deal is the buy 1 get 1 free sampler of Alec Braldey American Sungrown, one of our favorite cheap cigars. 10 cigars for $19.99, that's pretty good! (full list of deals here)
  • Famous Smoke has something unusual this year. For every $150 order, a $40 Amex reward card is gifted. Click here for this promotion. I must admit it's quite easy to get those $150 with the samplers they have there, Oliva, Perdomo and best of 2014 look rather good!
  • Cigars For .Me - just a few carefully selected box deals, including Undercrown! And 12% off the rest of the store.
  • Cigar Federation - 20% off everything, free shipping over $40. Apply coupon code blackfriday20 here.
  • Cheap Humidors - our favorite accessories shop has tiered discounts on Friday: 25% off from 4 AM to 7 AM (EST time), 20% off from 7 AM to 11 AM, 15% from 11 AM to 2 PM, and 10% off through the week-end Use code FRIDAY2014 here.

Spotted a nice cigar deal? Let us know in the comments area!

Dominion Black Lotus (Review & Giveaway!)

Dominion Black Lotus

Origin : NicaraguaDominion Cigar
Format : Toro & Gordo
Size : 6 x 50 & 6 x 60
Wrapper : Honduran Colorado Habano
Filler : Nicaraguan and Honduran
Binder : Honduran Sumatra
Hand-Made
Price : N/A

I recently had the fortune of being sent a couple of sample cigars by the new Canadian cigar brand Dominion Cigar. Dominion is based in New Westminster, British Columbia, which makes them an incredibly unique company in the cigar world. Here’s what Steve, their owner, has to say about the challenges of starting up a cigar brand in Canada:

“There are a number of cigar distributors that distribute other cigar brands in Canada, Cuban mostly; Dominion Cigar is the only company tackling launching its own developed brand Canada wide. It’s been one major battle every step of the way, jumping through red tape hoops the Canadian Federal and Provincial Governments put in our way. I truly understand why there isn’t any other Canadian companies at this point, well and of course the absolute crazy tax structure the government has in place on tobacco products.”

My hat is off to you, sir! It seems like cigar companies always have interesting stories behind them, and Dominion is no exception. Dominion seems like it’s off to a great start with the Dominion Black Lotus. The Black Lotus is blended out of Honduran and Nicaraguan tobacco, and manufactured in Danli, Honduras. Ralph Montero of Alec Bradley had a hand in putting together this blend.

I was sent a couple of different sizes, the Toro and the Gordo, as well as a very nice complimentary ashtray. For this review I smoked the Toro since I'm more comfortable with this format than the 60-ring gauge Gordo.

Steve generously provided a beautiful Dominion ashtray along with two cigars to give away to one of our readers. Just leave a comment on this post to enter the competition. That's it! We'll announce the winner in one week.

Dominion Black Lotus Ashtray

Contest open internationally, you must be of legal age to smoke cigars in order to enter. Don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss the winner announcement and other contests (there are more giveaways coming up in the next weeks!).

Read the full review of Dominion Black Lotus (Review & Giveaway!)...

Top 19 Cigars Under $5

This post, originally published in November 2012, has been updated in 2014.

Following the blog post about the best options when selecting cigars as a gift, it's now time to cover the budget cigars area. Indeed, there are so many cheap cigars out there (think about all those bundles from large distributors) that it's rather hard to find a sub-$5 stick that fits the bill. Of course, when you buy a sampler or even a box of such cigars, the stakes are not high, but still, we're always better off with some guidance.

Below is a list of our favorite cigars that cost under $5 if bought by box. Keep in mind that this selection is subjective, so your mileage may vary, as usual. And if you don't find your favorite budget cigar below, let us know in the comments area!

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente

Arturo Fuente Chateau Fuente Natural

Natural or Maduro (or even Sun-Grown), these cigars from one of the major manufacturers rarely disappoint. Well-built, with a medium body, they can be lit daily.
[review of the natural] [review of the maduro] [compare prices]

CAO La Traviata

CAO La Traviata Favorito

The La Traviata is quite a complex cigar, and is definitely worth trying. One of the best price/quality ratios out there.
[review / another review / compare prices]

CAO Osa Sol

CAO Osa Sol

Another budget smoke from CAO, the Osa Sol was the first blend released after the acquisition of the brand by General Cigar. Admittedly they did a good job.
[review / compare prices]

EP Carrillo New Wave

EP Carrillo New Wave Connecticut Brillantes

Find these on sale and you can easily get them under $5, maybe under $4. EP Carrillo New Wave cigars feature a blend of Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers housed in an Ecuadorian Connecticut wrapper. Great choice for a mild, creamy smoke at a low price.
[review / compare prices]

Alec Bradley American Classic

Alec Bradley American Classic

Connecticut wrappers are rare guests in most lists, but this one definitely should not be missed. Alec Bradley American Classic is the brand's entry in the budget cigars market, and it's a success.
[review / compare prices]

Alec Bradley American Sun Grown

For more punch, consider another Alec Bradley's line, American Sun Grown. With the same filler as American Classic, it uses a Nicaraguan sun-grown habano wrapper which gives it a rich, spicy flavor profile. If you’re a fan of spicy cigars, this is one you won’t want to miss.
[compare prices]

La Aurora 107

La Aurora 107 Robusto

Whether you can get these for under $5 will depend on how good a deal you snag, but you should find them close to that price. A suggestion from one of our readers, these cigars feature Nicaraguan and Dominican longfillers in an Ecuadorian wrapper. Flavors are earthy, creamy, woody, and nutty, with a hint of spice and sweetness.
[review / compare prices]

El Rey del Mundo (non-Cuban)

El Rey del Mundo Robusto

It’s medium to full-bodied and has a nice mix of sweet and woody flavors. This is one of those cigars that range in price a bit, but if you do some hunting, you can get it for under $5 and even under $4.
[review / compare prices]

Gurkha Royal Challenge

Gurkha Royal Challenge

What? A Gurkha? It may sound strange, but this Royal Challenge is actually rather good. And at $5, unlike most other offerings that sell for $10+, a sampler of these is affordable.
[review / compare prices]

Brickhouse

Brickhouse Churchill

Does this cigar really have to be on all lists? Seems like the answer is yes, unless they decide to double the MSRP. Until then, let's enjoy these fine smokes.
[review / compare prices]

Perdomo Lot 23

Perdomo Lot 23 Churchill

These cigars sell for close to $5 or just a few cents more. Expect a medium-bodied smoke with a balance of earthy and creamy flavors. You can purchase these with several different types of wrappers.
[review / compare prices]

Diesel Unlimited Maduro

You can pick up a box of these cheap cigars for around $3.50 per stick. This is another full-bodied smoke, this time with a Broadleaf maduro wrapper. A San Andres binder and a filler blended from Honduran and Nicaraguan tobaccos complete the mix. If you enjoy sweeter flavors, you will love the notes of coffee and cocoa with a hint of spice and leather. The Habano-wrapped version is equally very good!
[compare prices]

Toraño Master Series

Torano Master Series Churchill

Another major manufacturer with a budget smoke. And, again, the results are pretty good. Torano Master Series is a frequent guest in my humidor, thanks to its bold flavor and reliable construction.
[review / compare prices]

Room 101 Big Payback

You can get this Nicaraguan puro easily for $5 or less. Enjoy flavors that are sweet and spicy with a medium to full-bodied profile.
[compare prices]

Padron 2000

Padron 2000 Maduro

Of course, we couldn't leave this one out. Padron 2000 was one of the best cheap stogies when I started smoking cigars. It stood its ground.
[review / compare prices]

Curivari Buenaventura

Curivari Buenaventura

The flavors and aromas are delightful, and while it does not throw any major twists or turns, the subtle variations keep things interesting, and the blend is very nice from start to finish. All of this at around $5.
[review / compare prices]

Bucanero Z

Bucanero Z

Bucanero only distributes its cigars directly through its website, so you have to buy from them directly (no, they did not go out of business; this seems to be a common and incorrect rumor). Bucanero Z cigars are available for under $5 and are very popular. Flavors are toasty and spicy with a sweet finish.

Flor de Oliva

Flor de Oliva Presidente

Not a flavor bomb by any means, the Flor de Oliva is a good quality stick at a super price. Can be enjoyed by any smoker, beginner or veteran.
[review / compare prices]

Ambos Mundos Habano

Ambos Mundos Short

A "value" line from Pete Johnson, the Ambos Mundos Habano is a very solid blend with all the ingredients for a great smoke. A no-brainer at this price point.
[review / compare prices]

Thanks for checking out our updated list of the best cigars under $5! Hopefully you found something new to try. As always, we love your feedback and appreciate your suggestions. Please share your favorite stogies under $5 in the comments below, and we may feature your suggestions in our next updated list!

El Rey Del Mundo Robusto

El Rey del Mundo Robusto

Origin : Honduras
Format : Robusto
Size : 5” x 54’
Wrapper : Ecuador
Filler : Dom. Rep./Honduras
Binder : Honduras
Hand-Made
Price : $4.25 each
More info about purchasing El Rey del Mundo cigars...

Believe it or not I had some trouble finding current information about the non-Cuban version of the El Rey del Mundo cigar brand. El Rey del Mundo, meaning “King of the World,” used to be made by Villazon & Co. (owned by General Cigar) in Honduras, but it seems like in the end of 2009 operations in Honduras were stopped. Are these now being produced in Nicaragua?

The packaging of this cigar is impressive. The cigars are individually wrapped in tissue paper with the band on the outside.

Read the full review of El Rey Del Mundo Robusto...

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