Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Devil or Angel: Angel's Envy

Released earlier this year, Angel's Envy has been on of the most touted new bourbons of the year. The brainchild of Lincoln Henderson, formerly of Brown-Forman's Woodford Reserve, Angel's Envy is a Kentucky Bourbon from an unnamed distillery finished in port casks.

Wine finishing is huge in Scotch but still relatively rare in bourbon. Jim Beam tried it about ten years ago with a few, very expensive special releases, Woodford Reserve finished one of their Master's Collection bourbons in chardonnay casks, a few of the Buffalo Trace Experimental Collections have included wine finishes, and the upcoming annual release of Heaven Hill's Parker's Heritage Collection will be a Cognac finished bourbon. As far as I know, though, Angel's Envy is the first bourbon to be finished in port pipes since the Beam releases a decade ago (independent bottler Big Bottom now also appears to have a port finished bourbon). How does port interact with bourbon? Let's see.

Angel's Envy, 43% abv ($42)

The nose is full of sweet, floral notes. It's like a rose garden. The palate is also very floral and perfumy. There's a very light character to it. The port is most evident in the late palate and into the finish, which is where it really shows, so much so that the finish recalls port finished Scotch.

This is a decent enough bourbon, but I don't think it lives up to the hype. I should admit that light and floral are not my favorite notes, so in part, this just isn't my style of bourbon. Beyond that though, it's not particularly complex. If you like light, floral and sweet, give it a try.


sam k said...

Sku, I stashed a bottle of this in my reserves a while ago, and have been waiting for my daughter to return home from NM to open it at one of our occasional "whiskey nights." She'll be here in two weeks, and it will be on the table, along with some others, including Parker's Golden Anniversary and three white whiskeys...malt, rye, and corn.

Thanks for providing a bit of guidance on what to expect from Angel's Envy, and I'll let you know my thoughts once I've given it a shot.

sku said...

Sam, I love the idea of father-daughter whiskey nights. I'll have to try it once my kids are of age.

I'll be interested to hear what you think of all of the whiskeys. Which white ones are you trying?

Ryan Murphy said...

I do really enjoy sweet floral notes in my whiskey. Of 3 "bright" whiskeys, Angel's Envy, Basil Hayden's, and Breaking and Entering, this is my favorite. I really enjoy it but not sure it's quite worth the $43 price tag.

sam k said...

The whites are Rye Dog from Delaware Phoenix, XXX Shine from Philly Distilling, and she's hauling in some Silver Coyote from Santa Fe Spirits.

We tried to do a whiskey night the last time she was home, but couldn't. She specifically requested one this trip. It makes me feel needed!

My best father-daughter whiskey story. Took the family to TN/KY in 2000 and we visited Maker's Mark. She insisted I dip a pint in the gift shop, and I agreed, but said I'd hold on to it till she hit 21 and we'd drink it together (Mom included). I knew right then that she'd be a whiskey drinker.

That experience was a high point not only of her birthday in 2010, but one of the highlights of my relationship with her to this day. I'm sure you can make some of those memories for you and your daughter!

AaronWF said...

To me, this tasted like they took a perfectly fine bourbon and coated it in sweet, rosy port wood. The port's influence was totally unappealing to me as I searched for the bourbon within.

I need to make a point of trying again next time I see it behind a bar.

Greg said...

Steve - while in Chi-town last May I stopped by Binny's and tried the Angels Envy there at their bar. I wasn't a fan and didn't finish the whiskey. To my palate, I don't think the Port finish was a benefit. The perfumy nature of the whiskey was a turnoff.

SteveBM said...

I like this one but agree that it's a little pricey. I like the floral notes and the port finish. To me, it's more of an after dinner sipper than an everyday drink.