Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Angels Envy - Port wood finish on a nice light Heaven Hill bourbon: Angels Envy is something new

Angels Envy is a fine bourbon from Heaven Hill distillery that has been given a secondary aging in port wood casks, after the aging in charred new oak casks as the law requires for bourbon. The color is light medium amber - like Evan Williams.   Evan Williams is the best known Heaven Hill bourbon - and its a sweet mild bourbon - like what's under the port perfumed hood of Angel's Envy. Unlike Evan Williams there is a rosy glow. Here follows my tasting notes:
Nose after 10 minutes: Buttered corn, spirit, molasses and biscuits. Entry is smooth and mostly dry. Flavor is muted. Midpalate opens up broadly with oak, leather, and a gentle grain sweetness with plenty of spirit warmth. Finish is medium long with red fruit joining the biscuit grain. There's a hint of distant smoke and some mineral tones and country grass at the finish. The whole presentation is sinewy and sophisticated; lean rather than sweet and fat like I was expecting.

The lightness; the low density of flavor here is tad disappointing to me. But the flavor that is present is very good. This tastes just like a good bourbon that only rested 4 years - which is exactly what it is. The port finish is very slight - just a hint. I think this whole show will be better and more impressive with more time in the wood. In the meantime, it's quite nice now. A very credible effort at something new for American whisky (this secondary wood finish is a mature trend in Scotch Whiskey).  However, factor in price (around $50 here in NYC) and it's a tough sell.  There are a number of alternatives that offer far more enjoyment for the money, in my opinion.

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