Whiskey Review: Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon (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.

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon is finally available for the first time in all 50 states. Fewer than 18,000 bottles are being distributed throughout the country with a suggested retail price in the neighborhood of $200. The port wine barrel-finished cask strength bourbon has been reliably released at years end since 2012 as a special release from this Kentucky distillery. The following year, in 2013, F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal ranked this whiskey the “Best Spirit in the World.” The 2020 edition showcases a booming 120.4 proof that’s just shy of last year’s strength.

Angel’s Envy characteristically releases bourbon that is finished in Portuguese port wine casks. Every year Wes Henderson, co-founder and chief innovation officer, along with his sons Kyle and Andrew, set aside the most exceptional of these barrels for the cask strength release. As the years have gone on it seems that more and more of these barrels have been found worthy. Just 12,000 bottles of the rare bourbon were released in 2018, compared to over 14,000 last year and 17,400 this time around.

Expanding distribution to every state means that the rarified cask strength may be easier to find in stores. Small incremental increase in output hopefully indicates that the annual release does not compromise quality for quantity as it broadens production. As we noted in our review of the 2019 release Henderson has said, “With the growth of the brand, you get more select casks to choose from.”

Port wine casks are chosen to impart a variety of nuanced flavors onto the bourbon. Fruit notes are to be expected with previous releases being commonly described as “jammy.” Bing cherry and other dark fruit flavors have been consistent themes along with the overall high rating this bourbon commands. Regardless of the release Angel’s Envy Cask Strength is continuously met with high accolades and the 2020 rendition aims to not disappoint.

Angel's Envy 2020 Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Angel’s Envy 2020 Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon (image via Angel’s Envy)

Tasting Notes: Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon (2020)

Vital Stats: 120.4 proof (60.2% ABV); mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley; retails for about $200 per 750 ml bottle.

Appearance: This whiskey pours as a deep amber that takes on a copper tone as it swirls in the glass.

Nose: The nose is cloying with peanut brittle, cinnamon stick, rum raisin, molasses and fresh cut firewood.

Palate: Though the proof is something to be reckoned with there is an immediate burst of fruit flavor. I tasted ripe plum soaked in maple syrup with the distinct sourness of tart cherries. The warmth of oak and leather are noticeable on the finish.

The Takeaway

Summary

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There isn’t any denying that this is a spectacular bourbon. It is incredibly rich and robust. So much so that I found myself taking notes on these qualities over the actual flavor profiles when I sat to do my tasting. The proof is high but not painfully so. What is most remarkable is the layering and delivery of flavor. The individual flavors remain strong while being almost playful as they peek around the corner of each taste. They reveal themselves in a slow and complex dance atop the tongue and cheeks. They are fully revealed just before being carried away by an evaporative finish.

Becoming acquainted with this whiskey was a real pleasure that found me on my local distributor’s website hoping for the chance at tracking down another bottle.

4.5
User Rating 2.88 (143 votes)
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