port wine

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon (2015) Review


Photo courtesy of Angel’s Envy

Available this month, the Louisville Distilling Company is releasing their annual limited-edition release of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength.  This year’s batch is limited to 7,500 bottles in the following markets:  AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MA, NJ, NY, OH, OR, TN, TX, WA.

If you’re a regular visitor to this whiskey blog, you know I’m a fan of Angel’s Envy, both their port cask-finished bourbon and rum cask-finished rye whiskey.  The Cask Strength has always eluded me.  Thankfully, the folks behind Angel’s Envy were kind enough to send over a small review sample.  Suggested retail price is $169.99.  This year’s release comes in at a hearty 127.9 proof.  The Cask Strength bourbon is aged up to seven years.  Barrels are blended together and finished in casks that previously held port wine.

On the nose, there’s typical bourbon aromas of caramel, vanilla and corn mash.  I also get some fruit (think berries) and orange zest.  Taste-wise, there’s a burst of vanilla, fruit (plum, berries) and honey.  A bit of burnt orange pops up afterwards.  The high proof, while a little rough-around-the-edges, makes this a full bodied whiskey.  The finish here is sweet corn, orange and some spice.

You can probably guess what I’m going to say about this one.  It’s a good one.  I think the flavors work well together.  However, I wish the port finish showcased stronger on the finish.  Nitpicking aside, if you like the normal expression of Angel’s Envy bourbon, you’ll most likely find this outstanding.  You wouldn’t be wrong.

(Note: A review sample was provided by Angel’s Envy.)

Angel’s Envy Bourbon Review


I’ve been reading about Angel’s Envy bourbon since it was first released a couple of years ago.  Several weeks ago, I asked the folks at Ro-Bro Marketing for a review sample of Angel’s Envy Rye.  Along with a sample of the rye, they sent a sample of Angel’s Envy Bourbon.   It’s now available in the New Orleans market where I’m based, but it wasn’t a year ago.  On my way back from a road trip to Chicago (I just had to see the Rolling Stones live), I made a detour to Memphis.  The reason, Angel’s Envy was sold in that market.  I picked up a bottle and I’m glad I did:  it quickly became one of my favorite bourbons.

Angel’s Envy is a play on an old distillery term “the angel’s share,” which referred to whiskey that evaporated over time.  If the evaporated whiskey was the angel’s share, what was left in the barrel was their envy.  Angel’s Envy was started by Wes Henderson, whose father Lincoln Henderson was a big name in the American Whiskey industry.  While he worked at Brown-Forman, he helped with the development and launch of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel and Woodford Reserve – two whiskies I really enjoy.  He came out of retirement to help his son with Angel’s Envy, and I’m glad he did.  They sourced bourbon and finished it in port wine barrels for several months.  Sadly, Lincoln passed away last year.

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The first thing you’ll notice is the bottle.  Its sexy curves and angel’s wings print make for one of the best looking bottles on the shelf.  There’s a really nice sweet caramel aroma.  When I taste this one, I get sweet caramel and toffee, a little vanilla, and a little spiciness (think cinnamon instead of cayenne pepper).   A little berry too, and that’s probably from the port cask.  It’s lush and velvety, but not syrupy.  The sweet and slightly spicy finish slowly fades away.

The idea of finishing bourbon in port wine barrels intrigued me enough to buy a bottle.  It does add a sweet berry quality to the bourbon, and further refines it.  This bourbon is easily drinkable, and I’ve recommended it to anyone who listens.  It’s 86.6 proof and runs about $45 – $50.

Highly recommended.