Angel’s Envy Rye | 50% ABV | $70
Continuing on the trend of finished whiskey today I’ll be reviewing a very interesting rye whiskey. The folks at Angel’s Envy are at it again. After taking traditional bourbon and flipping it on its head with the release of Angel’s Envy bourbon and a limited AE Cask Strength the Henderson’s have now put out a rye whiskey. Just like the bourbon which is finished in port pipes the rye is finished as well only this time in Caribbean rum barrels. That’s not all the rums barrels previously held french cognac. So pretty much taking traditional american whiskey making and kicking it to the side with a pair of steel toed boots (Anchorman, anyone?). Now the bourbon, I thought, worked exceptionally well so how would a spicier grain like rye work with the richness and sweetness of rum and cognac?
Appearance: Amber with thin slow moving legs
Nose: Right off the bat this smells like it should be poured over pancakes instead of sitting in a glass. Massive amounts of maple syrup along with caramel, butterscotch and milk chocolate. The vanilla and raw sugar cane just dog piles on the already intense sweetness. Very rum forward almost as if the whiskey was matured in the rum barrels rather than finished. The very familiar wood varnish note I get from rum is also present. I know the rye spices are there but they are getting trampled over by the syrupy sweetness but a few drops of water help give the spices a fighting chance. Picking up on some fruits like raisins, cherries and touches of bananas.
Palate: Again very rum forward. Butterscotch, brown sugars and caramel on the front with some hints of honey. Midway thru the palate heats up but because the rye spices are getting washed over by all the sweeter rum notes you get more the effect not so much the flavor. As it develops and enters the back of the palate it suddenly turns very bitter. The tannins and orange pith hit hard. The finish is a rush of maple syrup, hints of the cognac and bitter citrus pith and rind with the maple and cognac fading fast leaving the mouth very bitter.
Overall: While I absolutely love the AE bourbon I can’t say the feeling is the same for the rye. The idea of high rye aged in rum barrels previously containing cognac sounded very interesting much like the Amrut Kadambam. Unfortunately I felt as if there was very little cohesion and instead of settling in the glass it seems to fall apart the longer it sits. What it does have going for it is the interesting factor. I can honestly say I’ve never tasted anything like it let alone a rye like it. While I’m sure there are people who will really enjoy this, especially rum fans, for me it’s a bit of a miss. Rum and especially cognac can be a tricky finish to get down. Unlike the fortified wines that usually integrate well these can have a tendency to bully through rather than harmoniously marry with the spirit.
Rating 75 / * *S