Angel’s Envy Rye

A big thanks to Aaron at Deep Focus who kindly sent me a review sample of the new rye from Angel’s Envy. The brainchild of Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson, Angel’s Envy rocked the American whisky scene awhile back with its modern take on bourbon. Now their second release, a 95% rye whiskey finished in Caribbean rum casks, briefly hit the shelves before promptly selling out everywhere (near me, anyway). This, despite its frankly usurious price point of $70 – $80.

The rye almost certainly hails from Midwest Grain Products (formerly LDI), where a lot of independently-bottled ryes are made these days. The mashbill is 95% rye and 5% malted barley. The rye is aged for six years in new American oak barrels, and then transferred for 18 months to some hand-selected Caribbean rum casks. Sourcing the rum casks appears to have been quite an ordeal, with Lincoln Henderson quoted as saying that 100 different rums were sampled before making the choice. The result was bottled in the iconic Italian glass “angel wing” bottles at 50% ABV, an upgrade in bottling proof from the company’s port-finished bourbon.

Nose: Spicy! Assorted baking spices (clove, cinnamon, etc.), with a deep undercurrent of molasses. The rum character is evident with fresh cane juice, coconut, and a very heavy caramelized sugar note. Something vegetal as well – root beer? Sweetness and spice alternate for dominance in the nose. Very robust.

Palate: Mulled cider, black pepper, caramels. Molasses again – here the rum is even more clear. Tastes almost like blackstrap rum. At 50% ABV, the burn is present, but the sweetness compensates nicely. A lot of flavor here.

Finish: Quite long. Crystallized ginger, cloves, and burnt sugar on the fade-out. The burnt sugar note gets a little too acrid for me, but another sip takes care of that. :)

With Water: A few drops of water release a wave of black licorice and cake frosting. The same appear on the palate. This definitely benefits from just a little bit of water.

Overall: This is a spice bomb and no joke. All of the usual rye character is present, in spades, with a healthy layer of caramelized sugary rum. The interplay is as natural as spices in cider, or brown sugar in spice cake. The bottling proof was a good choice, as everything (flavor, aroma) is amped up equally, and without numbing my tongue. For seven-and-a-half years old, this comes off as big and flavorful and slightly older than it is. I would have awarded a “Must Try” if the whiskey were either cheaper, or more available. I can’t love the price, or the shortages, but I can love this sample for as long as it lasts…

Angel’s Envy Rye
50% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $70 - $80
Acquired: (100ml review sample) Thanks Aaron!
Posted in Reviews | Tagged , , , ,
7 Comments

7 Responses to Angel’s Envy Rye

  1. bryan f says:

    Nathan, would you buy a bottle at full price with all of the other options out there? Or is this something that you just sample? In your opinion of course.

    • Good question Bryan. I think it’s about $20 overpriced, although so is everything else these days. You definitely can’t find a rum-finished rye anywhere else, and it’s definitely been pulled off nicely, but the quality difference between Rittenhouse 100 Rye and this is not a $50 difference. If rum finishes is your thing, or upper-echelon ryes, or Angel’s Envy in general, it’s worth the splurge, but it’s not my new cabinet rye largely because of the price and rarity.

  2. Horsefeathers says:

    It’s probably just your/my location, but your price point seems high. I’m in Cincinnati, and a hop across the river into northern KY can score you a bottle of this for about $45.00.

    • Horsefeathers – are you referring to the rye or the bourbon? I’m pretty sure the suggested retail for the Rye is around $70. If I’m wrong – lucky you! Grab some!

      • Horsefeathers says:

        I would have to go back to the store to double check, but I suspect you’re correct, and it was the bourbon and not the rye.

  3. bryan f says:

    As far as rye is concerned, despite the debacle with it being distilled in canada but from vermont, the whistle pig rye is quite tasty and complex.

  4. patchman56 says:

    First off Im not a rich person but 70 to 80 dollars is not all that expensive being a Scotch collector as well as Bourbon and Cognac collector— it almost makes me fell like the person making the above comments are high school kids with minimum wage incomes who just want to get drunk– this is a very different rye like no other and I applaud someone trying something different— get used to higher priced Bourbons because compared to scotch they are cheap

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