I’ll be frank: one of the most fun things about running a blog about drinking is that I get a chance to try some great things that I wouldn’t normally get. The new Angel’s Envy falls squarely in that category. This newly released take from the Louisville Distilling Company on the original (bourbon finished in port barrels) heads in a new direction by moving to a 95% rye bill and then finishing the whiskey in Caribbean rum casks for up to 18 months. It’s bottled at 100 proof (higher than the original AE’s 86.6 proof) and a bottle will set you back roughly $70 (about a $30 premium on the original AE). I’m a huge fan of the original Angel’s Envy, which I feel is a great, unique change of pace from most offerings and is executed very well. Because of that, I jumped at the chance to review the new offering.
Per the provided tasting notes:
Appearance: crystal clear, slight reddish amberNose: citrus, caramel candy, maple sugar, vanilla oak, hazel nut, spice, sherry woodPalate: sweet/dry, rum sherry wood, soft rum sweetnessFinish: sweet/dry, rum, soft oak, quick and easy
Boy, are they not kidding about the maple. It’s next to impossible the miss the scent of maple and brown sugar, with caramel and oak sitting in the back seat, as the whiskey is poured into the glass. The amber tint to it was a tad cloudy in my sample – I first thought it was due to the glass, but a new glass yielded the same result. I have no idea what caused it, but it’s not a big deal to me. I don’t get too bent out of shape about what a whiskey looks like.
The taste is slightly more restrained and conventional than the nose. While the maple and brown sugar, from what I assume is the rum finish, are still there, they are better integrated with the rye base than would be expected. In addition to the aforementioned flavors, you get some light to moderate oak and a good amount of spice from the rye. The robust sweetness from the rum finish pairs perfectly with the rye. Ryes aren’t my favorite whiskeys, not because of the spice, but because I find many of them to be too dry for my palate. It’s why I favor bourbons. With this Angel’s Envy, I get the best of both worlds in terms of my preference: the unique spiciness from the high proportion of rye, coupled with the sweetness of the rum cask finish. You would never guess that this is 100 proof; the finish is short and the oak isn’t particular drying. This definitely drinks more like a 86 or 90 proof whiskey.
I suppose the real question is not whether this whiskey is good, because it is good. Actually, it is great. It’s a fun, well done take on a somewhat under represented portion of the whiskey market. The real question is whether it is worth $70 a bottle. I will say yes and no. If you are the type of person who has the means and likes to drop that kind of dime on a bottle of whiskey, it is without a doubt worth it. It would also serve as a great special occasion whiskey not only because of the price, but because I’m just not sure it’s something I’d want to drink every day even if I was sleeping on mattresses stuffed full of cash. What I reviewed as unique might become cloying if you enjoy it too often. For those without the means or who don’t drop three-quarters of a Benjamin on a bottle of whiskey often, I’d say it’s probably not worth it. You do, however, owe it to yourself to get to a good whiskey bar (Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar in Covington, for instance) and try a glass. Hey – maybe you will find it’s worth it. Who knows.
Note: sample provided for review.