The thirsty whiskey angels are finally sharing some of their coveted stock. Angel’s Envy is gearing up for not one but TWO big releases this season, and one is a brand new product for the 12-year-old company.
On Dec. 1, Angel’s Envy will release its annual Cask Strength Bourbon PLUS its first-ever Cask Strength Rye Whiskey. Both will be in fancy new bottles and will commemorate Master Distiller Owen Martin’s first big releases of his career at the downtown Louisville distillery. Martin joined Angel’s Envy last fall after working for six years at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey and, before that, studying the craft of whiskey making in Scotland.
“It was thrilling to kick off my journey with the best-in-class team at the distillery on the 12th annual Cask Strength Bourbon and the first-ever limited-edition Cask Strength Rye Whiskey,” Martin said in a news release.
“With my deep background in maturing, blending and finishing whiskey, I’ve been able to share a unique perspective on the Cask Strength program and am looking forward to this next chapter with the brand.”
A few weeks back, a group of local media, including yours truly, met up with Martin to taste the two new products and also hear about the process of bringing these bottles to the market.
His enthusiasm for the whiskey was endearing, and his goal is to continue elevating the brand and its mastery over the finishing process. Instead of rushing to get something out, Martin instead chose to wait until the whiskey was ready.
Cask Strength Rye
If you’re a fan of the regular Angel’s Envy Rye Finished in Caribbean Rum Casks, well, this new release tastes nothing like that. In fact, it’s its own distinct product and is definitely not finished in rum casks this time around.
Bottled at 114.4 proof, the release is a blend of rye whiskeys finished in used sauternes and toasted oak barrels. Sauternes is a dessert wine from France.
This is actually the 10th anniversary of Angel’s Envy Rye, so the company wanted to recognize that milestone with its own cask strength iteration. Again, this tastes very different than that standard AE Rye, so keep that in mind. But in my opinion, it’s a much better whiskey and really showcases great, mature rye whiskey and the Angel’s Envy spin on finishing.
The flavor jumps with sweet fruit notes like pear and apple, followed by a sprinkle of that rye black pepper spice. A drizzle of caramel on top seals the deal for my taste buds, and the finish is long, spicy and rich. The term “pimp juice” keeps coming to mind, and I have no idea why, but it seems fitting here. You won’t be disappointed. Trust me.
There are only 5,500 bottles available, so be ready to vigorously scour your local liquor stores. It’ll retail for a suggested $269.99.
Cask Strength Bourbon
Not to be overshadowed by the rye, Angel’s Envy is also releasing the 12th iteration of its Cask Strength Bourbon series.
Martin said the team goes through the rick houses and marks the “very special” barrels each year, and it’s up to him to blend them together for this annual award-winning product.
This year’s release contains some of the first whiskey distilled at the distillery and leans more port-heavy than previous batches. For Martin, blending and marrying the barrels is the most important part of the process.
And you can tell he’s a master of the craft, because the balance of flavors in this release is phenomenal. At 118.2 proof, there is surprisingly no sting like a bee, but rather the creamy, sweet notes float like a butterfly over my tastebuds.
I definitely get the port on the finish, but on first sip it’s sugary notes of marshmallow and caramel, with baking spices and hints of oak and tobacco toward the back of my tongue. I thought the 10th anniversary Cask Strength Bourbon was going to be hard to beat, but this one gives it a run for its money.
This release will retail for $229.99, and there will definitely be more bottles of this than the rye — 22,656 to be exact. Still, that has to be split throughout all 50 states, so it’ll still be somewhat hard to find.
According to the news release, both of these bottles will go on sale at the distillery starting Dec. 1, or you might get lucky and find them at your local liquor stores. The rye will only be sold in Kentucky, New York, Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee.