We wrote earlier about the angel’s share. What does the expression “the devil’s cut” refer to?
When it comes to lost distillate during barrel-aging, evaporation isn’t the only culprit. If the angels get their share, the devil also demands his. Wood is naturally porous, with the level of porosity depending on the type of wood. The wood of the barrel will naturally absorb a certain amount of whatever is contained in it, and the longer a spirit ages, the more of it will be lost. “The devil’s cut” refers to this loss of distillate which is absorbed by the wood of the cask during the maturing process. The devil’s cut has no effect on the overall proof of the aging spirit as there is no evaporation that happen. The loss is usually about 7-11 litres per barrel depending on a number of factors.
Before forwarding the barrels for further use, some distilleries like to extract the liquid that was absorbed by the barrels. Depending on the product in the making, many brewers prefer barrels that still contain the devil’s cut. At Woodim, we mainly stock barrels with the devil’s cut remaining.