Thursday, July 5, 2018

Tasting: Angel's Envy Bourbon - Finished In Port Wine Barrels

Back in 1983 Balvenie’s David Stewart created The Balvenie Classic thereby becoming one of the first distillers to experiment with aging whisky in a different cask – a Sherry butt - after it had already reached full maturity, and t didn’t take long before other Scotch distilleries followed suit, and started to create their own editions, of what would become known as the cask finish/secondary maturation method, and over the next three decades the cask finish scene grow from an experimental quest for diversity into a standard practice among the Scotch whisky distillers.

Even though the cask finishing method has been common practice in Scotland for 35 years, the American distillers were slow to adopt the method, and it wasn’t until 2010 that the major American distilleries slowly started dipping their toes into the unknown waters and started releasing finished whiskies as limited edition bottles.

The turning point came in 2011 when former Woodford Reserve master distiller Lincoln Henderson and his son Wes established Angel’s Envy whose entire focused was on finished whiskies.  At that point, Angel’s Envy sourced their bourbon from LDI (now known as MGP in Indiana) and finished the bourbon in port barrels.

Back when Angel’s Envy started out, the brand kick-started a major debate on various bourbon forums, because “could they really label their bourbon Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey when it’s finished in used barrels?”

Spirits giant Bacardi acquired the brand back in the spring of 2015, but the control of the brand still remains with the family. In October 2016 Angel’s Envy opened the doors to their brand new distillery in Louisville, KY and introduced the own bourbon, made out of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley.

Include in Angel’s Envy portfolio is a port finished bourbon, a Caribbean rum finished rye, and a cask strength bourbon finished in port barrels.

Angel’s Envy
Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey finished in Port wine barrels
Batch: 35Q. Bottle: 2266.

Proof: 86,6 Proof/43,3% abv
Age: NAS
Mash bill: 72% corn, 18% rye & 10% malted barley.
Distillery: Angel’s Envy
Release: Ongoing
Average US Price: $49USD/313DKK

85/100 points

Really enjoyable nose. Well balanced. Orange peel upfront, followed by bold rye spices. Peppermint and toffee. Hints of dark chocolate, black pepper and deep layers of leather.

Dry at first, and then it slowly opens up. More orange peel accompanied by raising and a lot of cinnamon and rye spices.

Long slow lingering finish with cinnamon stick and leather.

(This review was written as part of a blind tasting)

Review By: Hasse Berg
Photo By: Linus Jonsson