Review: Angel’s Envy Bourbon Inaugural Release

Angel’s Envy is, put simply, a new concept in Bourbon making. The brainchild of longtime distiller Lincoln Henderson, each year Angel’s Envy will be released with a new recipe and a new method of manufacture.

The inaugural batch — called Expression 10/10 — is already unorthodox. It’s aged in oak and finished in vintage and ruby Port barrels — a practice which I believe is technically “against the law” for a Kentucky Bourbon if one wants to still call it a “bourbon” on the label, which Angel’s Envy clearly does.

But never mind what they call it. This is good stuff. Complex and curious, there is traditional vanilla Bourbon character here, but also a lot of chocolate as the spirit develops, plus some coconut notes. It’s not overly woody, and aside from the chocolate notes that raisiny Port character is elusive — perhaps after sampling an endless number of sherried Scotch whiskys, one tends to gravitate toward those flavors. But in contrast, here the wine barrel finish offers a richer, deeper body that sherried whiskys usually don’t have, and one that appears to go smashingly well with Bourbon.

Call me a fan already, and good luck with the launch! (Angel’s Envy should arrive on shelves in January 2011.)

86.6 proof.


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11 Responses

  1. cange December 1, 2010 / 12:23 pm

    I’m no Bill Maher-anti-Christian type, but I really don’t like this bottle. I’d love a taste, but $45 for this bottle? I don’t know. I suppose I could just transfer the contents into something else. When I was a kid watching “Diff’rent Strokes” (ok, ok I own the DVDs) I was intrigued by Mr Drummond’s cool bar set. Now that I have ear hair and wear slippers, I might as well invest in some decanters.

  2. Andew December 1, 2010 / 1:20 pm

    I met Lincoln at WhiskeyFest in NYC and had the opportunity to try a taste, there is not doubt in my mind that I’ll be picking up a bottle to open and a bottle or two to bunker! Lincoln and company nailed the interplay between the bourbon and wine!

  3. Ryan December 1, 2010 / 6:32 pm

    I’m actually really excited for this. Seeing as how the antique Buffalo Trace collection has not made it out to Ca yet I might as well focus on other things…like Pappy or this. I also really like the bottle.

  4. Chris December 1, 2010 / 10:47 pm

    The way I understand it, since this is called straight bourbon and there is no age statement, that means it spent at least 4 years in new, charred oak. Less than 2 years old it can’t be straight bourbon, and if it’s straight bourbon between 2 and 4 years old it has to have an age statement. That said, once it’s spent its time in oak, then you can age it in whatever you want, and it’s still straight bourbon. I think the regulations stipulate what must be done to a spirit for it to be (straight) bourbon, but they don’t limit distilleries to just those things. Once it’s bourbon, aging it in different wood doesn’t stop it from being bourbon. That’s why Buffalo Trace can experiment with bourbon in chardonnay wine barrels, and it’s still bourbon. I might be wrong on that, but that’s the way I’ve had the laws explained to me.
    On a separate note, I think it’s a great concept, each release will not just be from a different year, but from different recipe.

  5. Christopher Null December 1, 2010 / 10:51 pm

    Chris – there are also complications around putting the name of the state on the bottle along with “bourbon”… but I daren’t delve too deeply into them.

  6. J.G. December 1, 2010 / 11:26 pm

    I am excited about this one. Actually, and I am agreeing on this point with a post Christopher made on his review of the Maple Wood Finish from Woodford, I am excited to see bourbon makers experimenting with secondary aging in recycled barrels formerly used for other spirits and wines.

    Balvenie has made some serious headway with this and their Caribbean Rum Cask finish that was recently released is incredible. There are so many possible pairings for bourbon to go along with…the sky is the limit and this is just a very exciting time for whisky enthusiasts.

  7. Wes Henderson December 9, 2010 / 11:50 am

    Thank you for the kind review. We are excited about what lies ahead, as there are endless opportunities.


    Wes Henderson
    Louisville Distilling Company
    Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon

  8. Gregg B January 4, 2011 / 9:41 pm

    I’m in Austin, when does it ship?

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