Whiskey Review: Angel’s Envy Bourbon Finished in Japanese Mizunara Casks

, | December 2, 2020

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.

I have several prominent memories and experiences regarding Angel’s Envy. First of which was meeting one of their local representatives and simply talking bourbon. Next up would be a favored regular who’s combination of choice was Angel’s neat and a cheap beer. Finally, I am reminded of a dinner with a friend involving several courses and finishing with creme brulee and Angel’s Envy rye. As tends to be true, when there’s whiskey around, there’s bound to be stories.

With regards to the whiskey I’m reviewing here, it was said by Wes Henderson, Angel’s Envy Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer that “ten years ago [on August 19th], my dad Lincoln and I filled our first port barrels with the bourbon that would eventually become Angel’s Envy, In celebration, we wanted to release something special to honor my dad’s incredible legacy, how far Angel’s Envy has come and our exciting future ahead.

“We chose this release for the tenth anniversary because my dad, having taken on several consulting roles in Japan during his career, always had a deep appreciation for the country and its distilling community. This release, finished in Mizunara casks made from this rare, 200-year-old wood, felt fitting for such a special milestone for Angel’s Envy.”

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The new release begins with a blend of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys aged 4 and 9 years, that was then finished in Mizunara casks from Japan for 2 full years before being bottled at 97.8 proof in a stunning crystal decanter. On the nose, the distillery tells us to expect “notes of smoky wood, sandalwood, banana bread, cherry and ripe apples. On the palate, notes of vanilla, oak, rich chocolate, banana, cinnamon, apple and light black pepper are present, along with floral and fruity notes and a hint of coffee. The finish is slightly dry with hints of toasty oak and a lingering smokiness.”

Why are Mizunara casks so interesting? As previously mentioned, to reach full maturity, the trees require about 200 years! The wood is also incredibly porous, which allows more interaction with the whiskey. It also means that more evaporation occurs. Also, Mizunara casks are a definite commodity at up to $6000 each. Yikes!

Angel's Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished In Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks

Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished In Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks (image via Angel’s Envy)

Tasting Notes: Angel’s Envy Bourbon Finished in Japanese Mizunara Casks

Vital Stats: 97.8 proof, 48.9% ABV. This is a blend of equal parts four year and nine year bourbons that are finished in Mizunara wood casks for two years. 750ml bottles were available for purchase for $350 at the distillery but can go for over $2,000 elsewhere.

Appearance: A light orange with yellow hues. In the glass found several slow legs.

Nose: There’s a lot going on with this one. For sure there are elements of candied orange and amarena cherry up front. As a whiskey near 100 proof, there’s definitely a bit of heat. Took a moment and returned to the glass and found a touch of molasses.

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Palate: A bit lighter bodied than expected, but still a lingering finish. We return to the initial impressions of cherry and orange. However, there’s also a bit of pepper rounding out the tasting experience.

The Takeaway


This was certainly a tasty sipper. There’s a great balance of fruit and spice elements, and the longer finish was appreciated. I am curious as to what this one tastes like at barrel strength. In any case, it’s quite beautiful, but given the price tag, it’s definitely a special occasion purchase.

User Review
2.97 (63 votes)


Kenji Mizumori

Kenji is a bartender in Portland, Oregon at the Pope House Bourbon Lounge. A bourbon enthusiast for decades. He likes big whiskeys, pretty much anything over 100 proof.