Aged for four to six years and finished in port casks, this bourbon earned a score of 98 points from Wine Enthusiast and earned five stars from F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal.
"I'll never forget," says the late Lincoln Henderson, the master distiller at Angel's Envy, when referring to his days as an undergraduate student at the University of Louisville. "We were having Christmas break and I couldn't go home, so we decided to do research on bourbon. We drove down to Texas and we bought about five cases of bourbon. I think we spent our whole three weeks of Christmas break with Ancient Age."
After graduating college, Henderson joined Brown-Forman as a grain chemist and was eventually promoted to Master Distiller. During his 40-year tenure at Brown-Forman, Henderson honed his skills while developing new brands such as Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Jack Daniel's "Gentleman Jack" and Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Whiskey. In addition to being responsible for the development of new products, Henderson oversaw quality control, technical distillery supervision and sensory evaluation. "I never regretted a day when I had to go to work," says Henderson, who was awarded Malt Advocate's Lifetime Achievement Award and was an inaugural member of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame.
After retiring from Brown-Forman, Henderson decided to go rogue and launched Angel's Envy Bourbon. "Angel's Envy is a lot of things," says Henderson. "It's my life's work. It's a whiskey of incomparable smoothness. It takes into account over 200 years of bourbon heritage and mingles it with over 400 years of port wine heritage." The name is derived from the term "angel's share"- the portion of whiskey that evaporates as it ages in wooden barrels. After tasting the bourbon, Henderson realized that the angel's might want a larger cut.
Angel's Envy Bourbon is made from a mash of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley, all of which are non-genetically modified and locally-sourced. After the grains are harvested, they are fermented using an exclusive strain of yeast. "The major factor in making your whiskey different from anybody else's is your yeast," says Henderson. "Yeast are like your children. You have to raise these yeast and cultivate them to keep the same profile every time. If you don't, then your whiskey is going to go all over the place." Following fermentation, the bourbon is distilled before being aged in bespoke Bluegrass Cooperage barrels, which are made from air-dried white American oak that has been aged for one year. "When we had the barrels made for us, specifically, the toasting level was very important to us because we know what that does to the finished product."
Once the bourbon has aged a minimum of four years (and up to six years), the bourbon is double-barreled, or finished, for up to six months in 60-gallon casks that were formerly used to mature port. The casks, which are made of European oak, are hand-selected and imported directly from Portugal. "The barrels are true wine barrels — toasted, not charred," says Henderson. "They come to us shrink-wrapped and it looks like they've never been used, except that they have the wine that has soaked into the wood. We sniff them very carefully but don't alter them."
After a six-month beauty rest in the port barrels, up to a dozen barrels are blended together. Then, the bourbon is non-chill filtered and brought to proof before being bottled.
Angel's Envy Bourbon has notes of sweet caramel, raisins and toffee that fade into notes of cinnamon and a touch of vanilla. The long finish has hints of dark chocolate and caramelized fruit, with just a touch of cherry. Angel's Envy Bourbon earned five stars from F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal and an astounding 98 points from Wine Enthusiast.
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86.6 (43.3% ABV)
Louisville Distilling Co. Bottler
This product is not available in AA, AE, AK, AL, AP, HI, KY, MA, PA, PR, TX, UT
Notes of sweet caramel, raisins and toffee that fade into notes of cinnamon and a touch of vanilla. The long finish has hints of dark chocolate and caramelized fruit, with just a touch of cherry.