In what may be bourbon’s sexiest bottle lay the contents for this review. Its Angel’s Envy, the project of former Brown-Forman master distiller Lincoln Henderson and his son and grandson. Together the Hendersons have taken bourbon in an interesting direction. While scotch producers have used ex-wine barrels for decades now, the process of finishing bourbon is relatively new.
What the Hendersons do is take sourced whiskey and age it in new charred barrels for roughly 5-7 years. Then the bourbon is dumped into port pipes and left for another 3-6 months to pick up some of the nuances of the port wine. I for one am glad to see a move toward wine finished bourbons. I’m a huge fan of sherried single malts and am excited to see the idea catch on here with bourbon. So how does Angel’s Envy stack up?
Appearance: medium amber with slow moving legs
Nose: I’m getting lots of caramel right off the bat. Heaps of chocolate and blood oranges along with fresh grapes. The sweet notes wont let up with aromas of vanilla, maple, banana and tres leches cake filling the bouquet but behind all the sweetness there is an underlying aroma of spice. The rye, cinnamon and clove keep this from being a one dimensional bouquet. There is also a nice toasted almond aroma floating around in there as well.
Palate: Again loads of sweet caramel and some wonderful french vanilla flavors. Chocolate, Muscovado sugar and maple syrup are mixed in there nicely. Towards the back I can pick up on the rye and black peppercorn notes but they’re barely pushing thru all the sweetness. The mouthfeel is rather oily and full bodied, which is nice and the finish is moderate in length with notes of maple syrup, molasses and the port wine.
Overall: What to make of Angel’s Envy? Well if you have a sweet tooth then this your bourbon. Like I said earlier I’m a fan of wine finished or wine matured whiskeys, be it scotch or bourbon and this to me is a good example of proper bourbon being finished for an added layer of depth. The reason Angel’s Envy works is because it’s starting with quality aged whiskey prior to the finishing. It’s not masking the harshness of youth or defects of a poorly made spirit. My one comment would be the spice notes don’t seem to be in total harmony with the sweet notes. To me, they are being blanketed over rather than harmoniously integrated, especially on the bouquet but besides that the Hendersons have a wonderful bourbon on their hands.
Rating: 88/ * * * *