Angel’s Envy: The devil’s in the details

The Courier-Journal ran a nice profile Sunday of master distiller Lincoln Henderson and his Angel’s Envy, a small-batch bourbon being produced by the Louisville Distilling Co., a new craft distiller founded by Henderson’s son, Wesley.

“Angel’s Envy” is a play on one of my favorite bourbon terms: angels’ share, the bourbon lost to evaporation during maturation. After aging in charred white oak barrels, Angel’s Envy spends four to six months in freshly dumped imported port casks.

This gives it an exceptionally smooth finish, with a soft mouth-feel more like wine than bourbon.

But it also raises a question, one not answered in the story: Is Angel’s Envy truly a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey? A “straight bourbon” may have no added coloring, flavoring or other spirits. Nothing is blended with Angel’s Envy, but those port casks are adding color and flavor, aren’t they?

Indeed they are, says Samira Seiller, executive vice president and managing director of Louisville Distilling. “The port barrels add some flavor (dried fruit) and tend to mellow the alcohol heat, as well as add color – Angel’s Envy has a bit of a ruby color in it.”

And that’s why you’ll see “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels” printed on the bottle, Seiller said. “We cannot call ourselves a straight bourbon whiskey without the ‘finished in port barrels.’ ”  

Have you tried Angel’s Envy?  



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