Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Angel’s Envy. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
As evident in Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels, blending the Portugal-based flavors of Port wine and the American tradition of bourbon is a recipe for a successful pairing. The drier elements of port and the sweeter elements of bourbon combine for a balanced profile that really stands out.
The founders of Angel’s Envy, the Henderson family, select “a handful of noteworthy barrels from its rickhouses to put through an extended finishing process in port wine barrels from Portugal. These special barrels bring forward distinct characteristics in the whiskey, giving each expression of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength a unique nose, palate and finish.” The selected barrels are 60-gallon ruby Port barrels, contributing to a smooth bourbon that manages to avoid being too sweet but does capture some of the wintry spirit port conjures.
Angel’s Envy released their first Cask Strength expression in 2012, offering only 600 bottles available in two states. Since then, the movement has grown, with fans of the brand clamoring to add to their collection with each new release, and this year the limited-edition release will be packaged in a hand-carved hardwood box, with 14,760 bottles available.
The distillery is based out of Louisville, Kentucky, and has steadily risen through the ranks of the Kentucky whiskey world. It feels like Angel’s Envy has been around longer than its nearly twelve-year run, which speaks to the commitment that has gone into the process from the Henderson family and all the hardworking craftspeople involved.
Produced by Louisville Distilling Company, a subsidiary of Bacardi Limited, Angel’s Envy pays close attention to every aspect of the process, tasting, balancing, perfecting the recipe, to produce the best possible product each year. Angel’s Envy Cask Strength was even honored as “Best Spirit in the World” by F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal in 2013, managing, according to many supporters, to outdo itself with each new release.
Tasting Notes: Angel’s Envy 2021 Cask Strength Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels
Vital Stats: Finished in Port wine barrels. Limited run of 14,760 bottles. 120.4 Proof (60.2% ABV). Priced at around $240/750mL. Louisville, Kentucky.
Appearance: The bourbon has the appearance of dark leather.
Nose: A tannic aroma right off the jump, with marshmallow and cherry coming through.
Palate: There’s a smooth, diffuse heat that coats the palate. Sweet notes of berry and cinnamon with a nuttiness that alludes to some sort of granola. I enjoyed a smoky spice on the finish.
I wanted to like this whiskey more than I did, which is not to say I disliked it, but I was slightly underwhelmed. It tasted young, and a little like the flavors haven’t had time to blend to perfection. That said, I do always enjoy the effects of a Port wine barrel finish, and this was no different.
User Review3.5 (6 votes)
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Jerry Jenae Sampson
Jerry Sampson is a freelance writer, editor and screenwriter. Her creative work is ever improved by her love of whiskey and craft cocktails. She enjoys taking cool fall days to explore the great distilleries around Portland to get a closer look at the inner workings of her favorite spirits.