Angel’s Envy is one of the best affordable Bourbons on the market, and now its mad master distiller, Lincoln Henderson, is raising expectations again with Angel’s Envy Rye, one of the best rye whiskeys on the market.
The mashbill will likely sound familiar to regular readers — 95% rye and 5% malted barley — the signature grain blend you’ll find in ryes from Bulleit, Dickel, and just about everyone else in the business who’s sourcing whiskey from LDI in Indiana (though AE will not confirm this). But as with AE Bourbon, Henderson has tricks up his sleeve to make this otherwise commodity whiskey his own. To wit: He finishes six-year-old rye (older than most already) for 18 additional months in Caribbean rum casks. (Those casks in turn began as Cognac barrels, making Angel’s Envy stop #3 on the road to boozedom. The Cognac is originally from Ferrand; the rum is a 10-plus year old bottling from Barbados, part of Ferrand’s Plantation Rum XO 20th Anniversary release.)
Bottled at 100 proof, 30,000 bottles have been made, at least so far.
That spin in rum casks really does a number on what would likely otherwise be a perfectly drinkable yet undistinguished rye. It starts with a nose of intense baking spices — gingerbread, cinnamon, and coconut notes. The body has more where that came from. Sip and you’ll get chewy vanilla caramels, banana, marshmallow, and just the barest hints of spicy rye grains on the back end. It’s very sweet, but not overpowering, a good balance of the more dessert-like flavors you’ll find in both rum and whiskey. It’s a bit hot for drinking straight, but seasoned whiskey enthusiasts won’t mind. A splash of water cools things down but doesn’t dull the flavor.
You’ll find this a far different whiskey than any other high-end rye on the market, and that can be good and bad. I’m really enjoying it neat as an after dinner sipper, but wouldn’t dream of trying to put it in a Manhattan.
Available this summer (in time for Father’s Day).