Last month while at the Best Brands Holiday Trade Show, I met Ryan Easterly from Angel’s Envy Bourbon. After taking a few sips of the original we started talking about, obviously, whiskey! We spent a few minutes on how Angel’s envy differs from other distilleries, their process for making bourbon and the business in general. When I mentioned my blog, he said, “You’ve got to try this!” as he reached behind a small display on the table. He pulled out a small plastic bottle with a hand written label.
Come to find out the bottle was the much talked about Angle’s Envy Cask Strength which has yet to be released. He gave me the info on this whiskey, which I will go into in a moment. Keep in mind that at this point, I had probably tasted 15 or so different whiskies so my palate was quite overwhelmed! I could tell that it was good but I really wanted to get a small sample to review here on the blog. After a few more minutes of speaking with Ryan I asked if he could send me a one or two ounce sample for review. He looked at the bottle, then back at me, then back at the bottle and said, “Here, just take this!” Wow! As is typical with most people in this industry, he was generous, and enough so to give me the last ounce and a half that he had for the trade show.
Now that I am back at home and I have fully recovered from the trade show, let’s get into the Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon review!
Here are the specifics:
Other than being cask strength bourbon, this whiskey is also aged in port wood for 24 months
ABV: 60.5% or 121 Proof
Cost: According to Mr. Easterly, the cost will be between $120 and $150 per bottle
Another point of interest is that only 100 cases, or 600 bottles will be released. Most of those will be in the Kentucky and Tennessee markets.
I usually review the bottle and the label but in this case I am going to pass. Rating this on the small plastic sample bottle and hand written label just wound not be fair!
The color of the bourbon in the glass was a warm, deep amber. You almost could not ask for a more appealing color for bourbon drinking!
Since this is cask strength I was expecting a heavy alcohol burn with the first smell and I was not disappointed! As the burn left, I could smell vanilla, spice, woody, and rye. Be warned, the nose without water is a bit strong. With a splash of water it still burns the nose but not nearly as much. Also, I found the other aromas to really open up with more of a sweet caramel and vanilla overtone. The wood, spice, and rye were slightly more apparent as well.
My first taste was neat in a highball glass. Ouch! As with the nose, there was a very heavy alcohol bite, fading into vanilla, rye, spice, and a nice oak flavor. I wish I had more to taste straight because I think a bigger sip would actually be better to gage the complete experience. Sometime soon I will be sure to pick up a bottle or order it in the first restaurant I can find it and update these notes. With a splash of water the bite is muffled but is definitely still there. And even though I usually do not like heavy rye, I enjoyed this pour. The rye is up front, followed by vanilla and spices. The secondary flavors came so quickly though that the rye did not have time to set up camp in my mouth. With ice it was very similar, but by the time I got to try it with ice I was literally pounding the bottom of the bottle trying to get the last little bit out – so I can not really speak to drinking it with ice. The finish was great, actually leaving, then coming back before leaving again. The last thing I could taste was a spicy vanilla flavor that was very pleasant.
Being a scotch drinker mostly, I am used to paying over $100 per bottle for a good whisky. This bourbon is extremely good and definitely worth more than the $45 to $50 per bottle for Angel’s Envy original. However, I would be hard pressed to pay up to $150 for a bottle of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength. Maybe Angel’s Envy is trying to make a statement that bourbon is entitled to a higher price tag just as much as scotch. And because this whiskey is being released in such a small quantity I am sure you will have a hard time finding it and it will almost definitely sell out.
Buy it as a collector’s item? Maybe. In my opinion it is way too good to sit in a cabinet somewhere waiting to be sold at a higher price. Although, as much as I like it now, I’ll probably be the sucker, err, customer buying it in ten years for three to four times the current retail cost.
I give Angel’s Envy Cask Strength 8 of of 10 Noses! If the price would have been closer to $90 to $100 per bottle…maybe even a little more and it may have received a 9. I bet you will be able to find this at a swanky bar or restaurant for between $18 to $25 a pour. Take my advice and try it. You will be glad you did, before it is all gone!
Please be sure to leave a comment below if you have already tried it and let us know what you think!