I was recently sent a couple of samples of Bourbon from the folks at Angel’s Envy. I tell you this in the interest of full disclosure, and because free whiskey typically tastes better than the stuff I have to shell out for myself. All kidding aside this was a pretty interesting bourbon.
The story starts with pulling Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson out of retirement. Lincoln Henderson was a Master Distiller at Brown-Foreman for 40 years where he worked on Jack Daniels, Gentleman Jack, Woodford Reserve, as well as other notable whiskies. The folks at Angel’s Envy wanted Mr. Henderson so bad they gave him Carte Blanche to do what he would to create his masterpiece. Ok, this is where it gets really interesting for me, because this is literally some guy’s soul in a bottle. That is pretty cool to me. Question is, do Mr. Henderson and I see eye to eye?…
Here is a pour with a full sample bottle next to it (they sent two, thank you very much!). The first thing I noticed was the unique color of this bourbon. It is almost a copper color, and looks very good in the glass. It has a very strong alcohol nose, which is surprising for something that is only 86.6 proof or 43.3% ABV. This alcohol would make an appearance in the finish, and leave a lasting impression.
So beyond the alcohol there were hints of dried fruit, plumb, pineapple, and pear. Honey and vanilla are also pronounced. Flavor wise it was a bit of a mixed bag. Not that it was bad, but it was so understated I found myself searching for flavors on my palate. They were there but subtle, not at all in your face, but pleasant nonetheless. Dried fruit, vanilla, and some grape. Also making an appearance towards the back was a touch of honey and some toasted marshmallow.
But what really takes this bourbon up a notch is it’s long, very interesting, and pleasing finish. It starts out small, then the burn hits like a wave crashing on the beach, then is subsides and then it does something I have never experienced before it comes back at you again, this time a little less intense, but there nonetheless, then it again subsides, and rises a third time, and finally mellows into a smooth long finish. This is amazing for a Bourbon with this low ABV. Very well played sir!
So there are a couple other things worth mentioning here, first this is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, even though it recasks into Port Barrels for finishing. That’s correct, they barrel the stuff in new oak for 4 to 6 years, then rebarrel it into Port wine casks for 3 to 6 months. This undoubtedly adds to the very distinctive coloration of the bourbon along with its unique and mellow flavor profile. What I wondered right off was how they are able to call this Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey when our friends over at Maker’s Mark had to drop the Straight from their label for uncasking the bourbon and inserting the French oak staves and then putting the bourbon back in the barrel for finishing. Seems like an inconsistency here. Finally this is a very local whiskey with all the grains grown in Kentucky, as well as using Kentucky mineralized branch water. So for you Locavores this is about as local as you can get. That said the Port barrels are from Portugal so one thumb up, and the other down for local production.
This was a very good whiskey that is only available in Kentucky right now. So for our readers that are there or going there this is well worth your time. Give it a try and let me know what you think.