Angel’s Envy Bourbon

When sampling lower-priced bourbons, I generally run into what I call the “shudder factor”. Some kind of instinctive natural aversion to the taste of impure alcohol makes me shudder and emit a noise like “blechh” or “eughhh”… of course, the same thing happens when sampling the bottom-shelf Scotch blends, so don’t think I’m being un-American here. Additionally, the sticky-sweet taste of corn whiskey reminds me, generally, of the high-fructose corn syrup found in, among other things, cheap pancake syrup or… you know… rubber.

Angel’s Envy is a Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey that is aged for an estimated 4-7 years, and then finished for an additional 3-6 months in “port pipes” – casks that previously held fortified wine from Portugal. Whatever distiller Lincoln Henderson is doing, it works. There was no shudder factor here. This stuff may be young, but it is truly a quality dram. This is the kind of whiskey that raises eyebrows, and finally gives me a bourbon to recommend in the sub-$50 range. I was beginning to think such a thing didn’t exist!

Nose: Mainly a standard bourbon nose, with some marzipan, black cherry syrup, kettle corn, sugar cookie, and a hint of blackberry jam in the background.

Palate: Medium-heavy body, with a significant amount of burn on the tongue. After the burn clears, the sweet corn and dark berries come to the fore, along with a distinct oakiness. Once the burn subsides, this is sweet and delicious, and not at all cloying, industrial, or shudder-inducing.

Finish: There’s the port. Nice and long, with eddies of ruby port, fresh berries, oak tannins, and a touch of bitter charred wood.

Overall: A very conservative take on a port finish. The port is very much in the background, letting the clean bourbon flavors take center stage. Still, it’s nice to see experimentation and successful application of aging and flavoring techniques applied to American whiskey. Maybe some day I’ll get to try a sherry finished bourbon! This one is a pleasant, easy-to-drink experience, and the price is quite reasonable.

Angel’s Envy Bourbon
43.3% ABV
ScotchNoob™ Mark:
Price Range: $42 - $50
Acquired: (2 oz sample) Thanks Tim!

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  • Don’t know if you’ve tried these bourbons, but I find them quite good and under the $50 mark

    Noah’s Mill
    Rowan’s Creek
    Any of the High West Whiskeys, although some are above the $50 price point.

    • Noah’s is great but it’s always just over $50 around here.

      I second High West, but their showstopper IMO is the Bourye (again, just over)… but holy cow, what a whiskey.

      Their potential Bourye 2’s are also ridiculous. One of them is fantastic.

  • There is plenty of good bourbon to be had for under $50. In fact I’d say that bourbon right now is really the best value for your money in the spirits world. Off the top of my head some bourbons/ryes that are good to great at under $50:

    Rittenhouse 100
    High West Double Rye
    Woodford Reserve
    Buffalo Trace
    Jim Beam Black
    Old Grand Dad BIB
    Evan Williams Single Barrel
    Maker’s Mark
    Four Roses Small Batch
    Weller Antique

    • I was actually thinking about this one myself, having been on a bourbon kick of late.

      I really think the biggest bang for the buck in bourbon-land is Very Old Barton BIB. Completely killer and like $12. What’s not to like?

      • I’ve been on the lookout for the VOB ever since Malt Advocate spotlighted it this year. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen a bottle anywhere in Northern California. Cheap whiskey doesn’t do me much good if it’s not also widely available. 🙂

        • You know there’s this invention called the internet, and on it you can buy liquor from places that ship to CA, right? 😉 That’s how I get mine! Buy in bulk and just bunker it. Six bottles won’t even set you back a Benjamin.

          @Allen BTAC is comparatively easy in southern CA – K&L I think *still* has bottles of 2010 sitting around. Van Winkle? Yeah, that’s always a pain. My best advice is to either have a business trip take you to Chicago a few weeks after the release, or have a friend situated in the midwest who can be your front man.

          Re Angel’s Envy itself… I *finally* cracked this one for myself in earnest, and it’s the most scotchy bourbon I’ve ever had. It’s not quite a scotch, not quite a bourbon, but i have to say as far as whiskey goes, I’d drink the living crap out of this one.

      • I’ve never seen the Very Old Barton either. I think some stuff stays close to Kentucky and never makes it out to California at all. Good luck trying to find anything from the Buffalo Trace Antique collection or Pappy Van Winkle.

  • Black maple hill small batch… $32 at k&l when they’re able to keep it in stock. This is one of the best value selections out there in my opinion.

  • I had the opertunity to sample AE during the San Francisco Whiskyfest. This is a great example of the new Americian whisk(e)y movement. Also, I had the chance to sample a cask strenght version at the festival (exelent).

  • I just learned of this excellent bourbon (been deployed to OEF). After finding out Pappy RVW is impossible the get anymore (it was regularly shelfed in Newport KY when I was in college, 21 yr was $99!!!), I’ve been looking for substitutes. Maker’s used to be my benchmark but they have not been what they used to be as of late. Enter Angel’s Envy: wow. I recently was in Louisville and bought a Westport Wine & Whiskey special blend of this: finished in 3,4, & 6 month barrels recommended by Lincoln for extra tinkering. The result eliminates the burn on the tongue, slightly heightens the berry and syrup flavors and brings a more oak to the finish without overtaking the port character. The charred hint is softened as well. Absolutely amazing.

    Another just under $50 to try that blew me away:
    COL E.H. Taylor small batch. It’s 100 proof and absolutely silky smooth. Zero cut needed. The flavors are rich and bold, with surprising amounts of sweet corn, caramel, among other things. Silky finish. I say must try and the price is $43-$50. Pairs perfect with a Fuente Sun Grown Rosado 46 or 54.