Whiskey Review: Cutwater Spirits Devil’s Share American Whiskey - The Whiskey Wash

Whiskey Review: Cutwater Spirits Devil’s Share American Whiskey

Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Cutwater Spirits. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.

Devil’s Share American Whiskey is one of three of the Devil’s Share spirits available, with a moonshine and a bourbon filling the other spots. Like those Russian dolls that fit into each other, however, there’s a lot more going on. In fact, I counted 41 products on the Cutwater Spirits website. For a company who was founded in 2007 as an off shot from the Ballast Point Brewery, that’s quite the expansion rate.

Their growth didn’t go unnoticed and in 2019 they got another tool to excel even farther and faster. That tool is Anheuzer-Busch. More like a complete workshop with all the bells and whistles than a single tool, to have the resources of a parent company like that is like riding on a bullet train. It was also Anheuzer’s introduction into the world of owning a distillery, claiming they want to be wherever the consumer is. Smart choice, as the craft distilling boom is still turning heads and making folks plenty of money if they can get ahead of the curve.

Something that really puts Cutwater Spirits ahead on the forefront of the industry is their huge line of RTDs, or Ready To Drink beverages. To some people (myself included), it doesn’t make sense to buy a ‘tequila soda’ or ‘vodka mule’ in a can. “Just make it yourself,” is what I think. I also know I’m in the minority because RTDs are one of the fastest growing categories in the alcohol market, with something like 80% growth in 2019. RTDs are outpacing the rest of the alcohol industry right now, and Cutwater Spirits has an amazing range of options. It’s basically canned gold.

We know that Cutwater is doing excellent from a business perspective, but how do their spirits stack up? They claim that they refuse to sacrifice quality and are aiming for a superior product – all pretty typical big picture words that many people in the whiskey and spirits world claim. If we consider their back story, I think we can conclude they’re probably honoring those claims. Cutwater is a brain child of Ballast Point, which their head distiller helped grow to the iconic brewery that it is. They have the roots of ingenuity and the knowledge that good ingredients, good technique and high expectations will set you up for success.

The Devil’s Share California Small Batch American Whiskey we’re looking at today is made in small batches and aged in new full-sized barrels for at least four years. They “began with pure brewer’s malt,” which leads it to be labeled as a single malt whiskey online. I find the wording a bit unclear, but if that it is indeed 100% (pretty sure it is) and if it is distilled all on site (which it most surely must be), that’s where you would land with the classification.

It has no peat, which is likely why they called it ‘American Whiskey’ instead, because they’re in San Diego and they know their target clientele. A bit on the pricier side, this no fuss whiskey is really quite good. Next time I’m in San Diego, I’ll definitely be making a trip to this distillery to check out what other surprises I can find. 

Devil’s Share American Whiskey

Devil’s Share American Whiskey (image via Cameron Holck/The Whiskey Wash)

Tasting Notes: Devil’s Share American Whiskey

 Vital Stats: 92 proof, 100 malted barley (brewers malt), minimum four years old, heavily charred new barrels, $120-$150 for a 750mL.

Appearance: Deep marigold.

Nose: Sweet wild flower honey, clove, soft malt and caramel.

Palate: Very approachable, like a cozy night in. Viscous and chalky, with note of white chocolate, vanilla, and baked red apple. A bit of baking spices, mint and licorice lead into a gentle but long finish.

The Takeaway

Summary

This is a very enjoyable whiskey to drink. Sometimes it feels funny to say a thing like that, but it easily become a chore to sip a whiskey neat. This Devil's Share American Whiskey is a soft a friendly, and well balanced. While it doesn't create a need to keep coming back, I can hold onto it and keep coming back as I go on with whatever it is I might be doing.

It's a nice experience that doesn't make you think too hard, and you feel like you've made the right choice for your dram of the evening. The price point is a bit high, but besides that I think a very well made whiskey.

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