Devils River Bourbon Whiskey is advertising like crazy on social media. Most recently, they announced it is now available in Wisconsin and suggest that you should run out and get a bottle now. I've tried it, and before you get the #FOMO bug about this, you should read my tasting notes.
Sin Responsibly. That's their tagline. More on that later. The backstory is that Devils River is named for a waterway discovered by a Texas Ranger named John Coffee Hays. This is meaningful to the distillery because the Devils River is the source of the limestone water used to proof down this whiskey.
Devils River is distilled from a mash of 75% corn, 21% rye and 4% malted barley. It carries no age statement, and the actual distiller is Jus-Made/Southwest Bottling. Retail is right around $20.00, making this super-affordable and relatively low-risk, right? The only way to find out is to #DrinkCurious.
Devils River appeared as a bright gold color that left a very thick rim on my Glencairn glass. That rim generated fat, wavy legs that slowly worked its way back to the pool of liquid sunshine.
There were dominant aromas of corn and vanilla. Once you got past that, it was easy to pick up charcoal. When I inhaled through my open lips, a flavor of candied corn rolled over my tongue.
The mouthfeel was thin and watery, and up front was pure ethanol. When you consider the bottle I poured my sample from had been open quite a while, that punch to the palate should have oxidized off long ago. Once I got past the ethanol shock, I was able to pick up corn. Mid-palate was all charred oak. While I was expecting something on the back, nothing ever materialized.
I enjoy the flavor of barrel char, but not when it is so dominant. The finish was like chewing a charred stave. It was, thankfully, a short one.
Bottle, Bar or Bust: William Faulker said, "There is no such thing as bad whiskey. Some whiskeys just happen to be better than others." Yeah, okay, whatever. For me to say that Devils River Bourbon is bad whiskey is an insult to bad whiskey. You will not sin responsibly if you spend $20.00 on it, because this one's a definite Bust.