newly expanded Angel's Envy Distillery

A sneak peek inside Angel’s Envy’s new $8.2 million expansion

newly expanded Angel's Envy Distillery
Welcome to the newly expanded Angel’s Envy Distillery. | Photo by Sara Havens

It’s crazy to think that a distillery that opened in 2016 already needs some elbow room, but when you’re making bourbon in Kentucky, it’s basically par for the course.

Angel’s Envy will soon open the doors to its latest $8.2 million expansion, which adds 13,000 square feet to the Main Street distillery and will allow more than 100,000 guests per year. The project has been underway since late 2020, and the folks over there have been tight-lipped about what we can expect from the new space — until now.

Every time I’ve stopped by Angel’s Envy during the last year or so, I noticed the construction was always behind closed doors, or more like behind huge black tarps. I tried sneaking a peek on several occasions, but they would threaten to take my bourbon away and I would quickly oblige.

Finally, last week, a small group of local media was invited to witness the incredible vision and foresight Angel’s Envy has to propel them to the next level of bourbon tourism in Kentucky.

Lincoln Tasting Room
One of the new tasting rooms is named after Lincoln Henderson, the co-founder of Angel’s Envy. | Photo by Sara Havens

When your distillery and all its components already fill out 90,000 square feet, 13,000 more feet isn’t a tremendous amount to add. But what they’ve managed to do with that new space completely changes the game.

We’re talking five more private tasting rooms, a full kitchen for caterers, several new event spaces, a new bar, doors that open by themselves when tours begin, a “Bottle Your Own” experience room, and an expanded gift shop for more merchandise. Yes, you really do need some Angel’s Envy socks. Trust me.

Dee Ford, the Brand Home General Manager at Angel’s Envy, told us that this expansion will allow them to accommodate 64,000 more people per year, which is about how many they’ve had to turn away the last couple of years due to space and tour limitations.

Many tourists come to Kentucky believing they can just walk up to a distillery and jump on a tour, but unfortunately, that just isn’t the case anymore. Ford said she hated sending people away who just wanted some kind of distillery experience but didn’t have a reservation, and now there’s room for tastings and special bottles and all the shopping a bourbon fanatic could want.

new bar
Look at this brand new bar! | Photo by Sara Havens

“We’re really proud of the expansion and the opportunities it will give us,” Ford said. “We can’t wait for the public to see what we’ve created for them.”

Angel’s Envy chose the same style of building for the expansion, so you really don’t notice a huge difference when looking at the old vs. the new from the outside, and inside, the connected buildings work as one seamless hub of activity. The five new private tasting rooms are pristine and intimate, allowing you to hear every word the guide says as he explains how to taste bourbon.

One cool new feature that I particularly liked was a new room/foyer where all tours now begin. This is where you meet your guide and he or she gives you the rundown of the rules. Then, as you are about to embark on your excursion, two large wooden doors swing open like magic, welcoming you inside the working distillery.

The newly expanded Angel’s Envy and all of its new facilities will open to the public on Tuesday, June 14, which is fittingly National Bourbon Day.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Founders Collaboration

Alcohol Professor: 7 of the Best Whiskey Releases of Spring 2022

Here’s my most recent piece for Alcohol Professor on some of the newest bourbon and whiskey releases this spring.


Spring has certainly sprung in the whiskey world, with new releases pushing up through the soil quicker than I can remove winter’s gook. There once was one big release period in the fall, but it seems nobody’s holding back their bourbon-soaked bounty for that anymore. So let’s take a look at some of the latest crop looking for a little sunshine and sippin’.

Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished In Ice Cider Casks

Angel's Envy Cider bottle

107 Proof | $249.99

In 2013, Angel’s Envy came out with rye whiskey finished in Caribbean rum casks that was — and still is — phenomenal. There truly is nothing at all like it in the marketplace today, so it’s no surprise they didn’t mess with it for nine years. Until now. As part of the Cellar Collection, this release finishes the Angel’s Envy rye (sans the Caribbean rum) in ice cider casks from Vermont-based Eden Specialty Ciders for 364 days.

The rye whiskey is 7 years old, so it’s solid even without the cider finish. You definitely get that hint of apple on the nose, and then once you sink your teeth in — er, I mean sip — it’s like Grandma’s apple pie. Straight up baked apple with drizzles of caramel, sprinkles of cinnamon and even some roasted cashews thrown into the mix. The price tag is a bit steep on this one, but if you’re a rye and cider fan, this is your golden goose.   

Uncle Nearest

Uncle Nearest bottle
Unc

118.4 proof | $149

Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey first came onto the scene in 2017, and as founders Fawn Weaver and company conceptualized the welcoming distillery in Shelbyville, Tenn., they were smart to lay down some of their own distillate before ground was ever broken.

Now, that whiskey is about 5 years old, and the company will be switching over to that juice, which is 100-percent distilled, aged and bottled by Uncle Nearest. They’ll also be adding to their lineup of offerings, including some rye whiskeys, but first they celebrated the milestone with the release of the Uncle Nearest Master Blend Edition, which is only available at the distillery.

There’s a reason Uncle Nearest is the most awarded American whiskey company for the last few years, and once you pop the top on this bottle, you’ll know why. The whiskey titillates with butter pecan, dark fruit and toffee notes — and that’s just in the aroma. The flavors are very impressive for a 5-year-old whiskey, and the notes I just mentioned are all heightened in that first sip, along with hints of butterscotch and caramel corn. The whiskey is thick and leaves you thirsty for more.

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Collaborative Series: KBS Stout

Bardstown Bourbon Co. Founders Collaboration

110 proof | $159.99

The latest in Bardstown Bourbon Company’s Collaborative Series has them teaming up with the beloved Michigan beer company Founders Brewing. The finished whiskey began as a 10-year-old Tennessee bourbon and then was put into Founders Brewing KBS Stout Barrels for 15 months. As with most of these collaborations, the results are phenomenal. 

This is one that reveals new flavors with each sip. On the nose you get wonderful notes of coffee, cocoa and orange peel, most likely from the stout finish. And then that first sip explodes with black cherry, dark chocolate and even more coffee. It may sound complex, but the bourbon and the stout have intermingled well, making it a fun experiment and treat for both beer and bourbon lovers. I’m thinking about adding this to my coffee to see if those mocha notes come out even more.

15 Stars Timeless Reserve

15 Stars bottle

103 proof | $279

This is the newest bourbon to hit store shelves (in Kentucky only, sorry folks), and yet it’s the oldest one at 14 years old. 15 Stars is a new brand named in honor of America’s 15th state — you guessed it, Kentucky!

The father and son team of Rick and Ricky Johnson sourced barrels for this blend, called Timeless Reserve, and they recently revealed the website, which also highlights many historical artifacts from 1795. Although Kentucky was founded in 1792, it took three more years for a 15-star flag to debut.

The Johnsons will continue to put out sourced blends as well as some of their own bourbons and whiskeys they’ve distilled with the help of Bardstown Bourbon Co. using various types of heirloom corn.

At a perfect and deliberate 103 proof, this Kentucky bourbon truly is timeless, reminding you just how delicate and nuanced whiskey can be as it ages on past a decade. You get a little of that oak on the nose, along with a nice maple and butterscotch. And after that first sip, it’s a spring bouquet of fresh flavors bursting in your mouth. It’s got that viscous mouthfeel from its time in the oak, plus a few dark chocolate and roasted almond notes, along with hints of sweet vanilla and warm caramel. It’s a high price point, but it’s 14 years old!

FOR THE FULL ARTICLE, CLICK HERE.

Angel's Envy Rye

Angel’s Envy adds to its Cellar Collection: rye whiskey finished in ice cider casks

Angel's Envy Rye
Introducing Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished in Ice Cider Casks | Courtesy

In 2013, Angel’s Envy came out with a rye whiskey finished in Caribbean rum casks that was — and still is — phenomenal. There truly is nothing at all like it in the marketplace today, so it’s no wonder the Hendersons didn’t mess with the rye for nine years.

Until now.

Of course they know better than to tweak a product beloved by many, so instead, they’ve taken their rye whiskey surplus and experimented with a new finished product that will be the next bottle in the highly coveted Angel’s Envy Cellar Collection. For the fourth iteration of this collection, behold the Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished in Ice Cider Casks.

The late Lincoln Henderson, who founded Angel’s Envy with his son Wes Henderson, was passionate about innovation, so to honor him, they started the Cellar Collection to produce one-time releases that showcase both experimentation and unique flavor profiles. Wes recently announced his retirement from Angel’s Envy, so now his sons Kyle, Andrew and Connor run the operations at the Louisville distillery.

This newest concept features 7-year-old, 95% rye whiskey that has been aged for 364 days in ice cider casks from the Vermont-based Eden Specialty Ciders. Ice cider is a dessert-style cider that is produced primarily in the northern United States and Canada.

“The flavor profile of this whiskey is very unique — the spiciness of the rye is balanced by the fruity sweetness from the ice cider casks, and there’s a crispness that is really distinct,” said Kyle Henderson, distillery production manager, in a news release. “We’ve never seen a whiskey finished in ice cider casks before, so we’re excited to introduce this finish as part of our Cellar Collection.”

Kyle explained that it was Andrew who first suggested the ice cider finish, and after they took a deep dive into the world of cider-making, “we fell in love with the product and the process and knew these special casks would be an excellent match for our rye,” he said.

The whiskey is bottled at 107 proof and will be sold for a suggested price of $249.99. There will be 6,000 bottles as part of this limited-edition release, and it’ll officially hit store shelves around Feb. 25 in Kentucky, New York, California, Florida, Tennessee, Illinois and Texas. If you’re a 500 Main member, keep an eye out for an email on Feb. 15 where you can enter to win a chance to purchase a bottle.

So how does it taste?

I was fortunate to receive an extravagant media package this week that included a sample of the finished whiskey, plus all the ingredients and tools to make cheese fondue, complete with Vermont apples, Kenny’s cheese, a cutting board, Blue Dog Bakery bread and much more. I plan on trying my hand at fondue tonight, but for now I’ll just focus on the whiskey, since that is what we’re here for.

The release date is Feb. 25.

(If you’re curious to see how the fondue unfolds, I’ll post something to my Instagram later.)

Color: Since this rye whiskey is seven years old, it’s got a decent amount of amber hue to it, but in comparison to some of the other Cellar Collection releases, like the Sherry or Tawny finish, it’s much lighter since the finishing spirit is light in color. You’re probably like, “No duh,” but whatever.

Aroma: You definitely get that apple right up front, and if I close my eyes and inhale, I feel like there’s a late-season Northern Spy apple under my nose that I’m about to sink my teeth into. OK, so I don’t know my apples that well — I pulled “late-season Northern Spy” from the news release — but you get the point. On top of the apple, I get light caramel and roasted cashew notes.

Taste: If you took an apple, cut it into pieces and sprinkled black pepper, brown sugar and cinnamon over it, as well as a light drizzle of hot caramel, that is exactly what I taste here. The rye doesn’t soften at all. You get a little of that ice cider sweetness on the tip of the tongue, and then the fury of the rye quickly warms things up as it moves to the back. The finish is quite pleasant as the spice shapeshifts back into sweet.

Thoughts: This is definitely a great experiment with rye whiskey and ice cider, and it certainly is a one-of-a-kind product. Would I swap it out permanently for the regular Angel’s Envy Rye? No. But nobody’s asking me to. Am I going to shell out $250 for a bottle? I suppose I should do my taxes first and then make that decision later. (Ahh, the benefits of freelancing.)

Bravo, Angel’s Envy, for always pushing the envelope of innovation. This is a great pairing, and I look forward to whatever else is up your sleeve.

Angel's Envy Cask Strength bottle

Bourbon sips & scoops: Maker’s, Parker’s, Angel’s, Michter’s and more!

Things are starting to pile up on the Bar Belle desk, and my boss is nowhere to be found! I should have written this sooner and I apologize, dear thirst nuggets.

But alas, here I am with a mound of announcements and a handful of samples. What’s a bourbon journalist to do? Let’s take ’em one at a time.

Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup bottle

Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup bottle

You might see these pop up at your local liquor store this weekend! It’s the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup commemorative bottle, which also helps raise funds for the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

As you know, the Breeders’ Cup will return to Keeneland Race Course Nov. 6-7, so this limited-edition bottle celebrates the partnership between the two entities — as well as Maker’s Mark, which is the official bourbon of the race.

I kinda like the white bottle with the purple wax — it would definitely make a nice show piece on your bar or nightstand. Hey, no judgement here.

Buffalo Trace expands soda line with ginger ale and ginger beer

Freddie's Ginger Ale

If you’ve visited Buffalo Trace Distillery within the last year, you probably noticed Freddie’s Root Beer for sale in the gift shop.

Freddie Johnson is a longtime tour guide — and all around great bourbon ambassador — at Buffalo Trace, so the line is named in his honor.

Word is, they’re expanding the line with ginger ale and ginger beer. These will make perfect mixers for that bourbon you pick up there, or consumed on their own, of course.

The new products should be at the distillery by mid November and will sell for $1.25 a bottle.

New Releases:

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength 2020

Angel's Envy Cask Strength

Despite the craptacular year we’ve had, good things do happen. Case in point, the release of the annual Angel’s Envy Cask Strength.

This biting baby doll will be 120.4 proof and released on Nov. 1 — just in time for the election. (Maybe we’ll be celebrating, or maybe we’ll be drowning our sorrows — who knows.)

There are only 17,400 bottles divided up between all 50 states (for the first time ever), so dust off that hunting gear and get prepared for next week.

I was fortunate to try a sample of this year’s release and can say that it does not sip like 120 juice — it’s quite smooth, and it’s teeth are not as sharp as you’d imagine them to be. There’s a lot of vanilla, caramel and brown sugar up front, but there’s also a nice ripe cherry note in there, as well.

And the finish … ah, the finish: It’s like licking the spoon after Mom made some sugar cookies. I could sip on this all night long.

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength will retail for $199.99.

Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Rye

Michter's Toasted Rye

These delectable dudes were released in September, so I’m sorry I’m just now getting to them. You may be able to find a pour of them at your favorite bourbon bar, and I suggest you give them a sip!

The Toasted Rye consists of fully matured Michter’s Single Barrel Rye (at barrel strength) that is then put into a second custom toasted barrel and aged a bit longer.

The result is gorgeous notes of caramel and spice and everything nice. I was also fortunate to receive a sample and will tell you without hesitation that this juice is richer than a cheesecake the Golden Girls are huddled over at midnight.

I love the viscosity in this one, as well. It’s thick and coats my mouth like a North Face. Think of the consistency of a cherry juice — if you buy the right ones, especially Luxardo — and you get the idea.

This limited release is bottled around 109.2 proof and goes for about $85 if you can find it in a store.

Parker’s Heritage 2020: Heavy Char Bourbon

Parker's Heritage 2020

This is the 14th edition of this annual, highly anticipated release, and it’s a 10-year-old bourbon that was aged in a heavily charred (level 5) barrels.

The brand is named after the late Heaven Hill Master Distiller Parker Beam, and it raises funds for ALS, the disease Beam passed away from in 2010.

This one is bottled at 120 proof and retails for about $120. And like these other releases, it’ll be hard to find.

I was fortunate to try a sample of this, too, and would describe it as a maple bomb. It’s got a touch of spice and sips easy — I can imagine sipping it next to a fireplace as it gently snows outside.

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof C920

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

This is the third barrel-proof release from Elijah Craig this year, and it’s the second highest proof — at 132.8 proof.

This seems to be a theme here, but despite the high proof, it sips quite smoothly. It’s got deep flavors of toasted marshmallow, caramel, and I’m even getting some milk chocolate in the sample I got.

This is uncut, 12-year-old bourbon bottled straight from the barrel, as God intended. If you haven’t explored the Elijah Craig portfolio, I’d recommend getting acquainted with it. It’s delicious and pretty darn affordable.

This one retails for around $65.99.

Larceny Barrel Proof C920

Larceny Barrel Proof

This wheated barrel-proof bourbon is also a product of Heaven Hill, like the Elijah Craig above.

Bottled at 122.4 proof, this bourbon is consists of bourbon aged 6 to 8 years and is non-chill filtered.

To me, this is definitely getting better each time I try a new Larceny release.

Since it’s a wheat-based bourbon, it’s a little sweater on the palate and less spicy, but you get those wonderful full-time flavors — think s’mores, campfire and soft baking spices from the kitchen.

This one retails for around $67.99, and I would recommend the barrel proof over the standard Larceny.

Angel's Envy Japanese bottle

Angel’s Envy goes big for its 10th anniversary with a new release, and it sells out in minutes (sort of)

That angst you felt in the air this morning was from hundreds of local bourbon collectors huddled over their keyboards trying to score a bottle of the new Angel’s Envy release, aptly called Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks. 

Yes, it’s quite a mouthful for the whiskey that celebrates the 10th anniversary of company’s Founder’s Day (Aug. 19), when the very first port barrel was filled with Angel’s Envy bourbon. And it’s quite a bottle, crafted from premium, lead-free crystal, and is meant to be used as a decanter once you’ve imbibed all the precious juice within.

The extremely limited release (only 1,200 bottles) will set you back $349.99 — if you were able to nab it from the AE website this morning (which had some technical difficulties). While that initial launch was to the brand’s 500 Main club members, they’re holding back more bottles for the official release at the distillery on Sept. 1.

So what makes this so special?

Angel's Envy Japanese Mizunara release

The bottle in its full glory!

Well, despite such a limited number of bottles available, the whiskey is a blend of four-year-old and nine-year-old Angel’s Envy that is finished in hand-selected, charred, new Japanese Mizunara oak casks for an additional two years.

These Japanese casks are actually made from rare, 200-year-old wood that was very porous — soaking the bourbon right up into the charred wood.

“Ten years ago today, my dad Lincoln and I filled our first port barrels with the bourbon that would eventually become Angel’s Envy. In celebration, we wanted to release something special to honor my dad’s incredible legacy, how far Angel’s Envy has come and our exciting future ahead,” said Wes Henderson, Angel’s Envy co-founder and chief innovation officer, in a news release.  

As you may or may not know, the Japanese create some great whiskey of their own and also are rabid consumers of Kentucky bourbon.

“We chose this release for the 10th anniversary because my dad, having taken on several consulting roles in Japan during his career, always had a deep appreciation for the country and its distilling community,” added Henderson.

The 750ml bottle is a warm 97.8 proof.

I was fortunate to try a sample provided to the media and can say it’s definitely a fitting tribute to 10 years of the company. From first whiff, I got intense notes of banana bread, burnt marshmallow and cherry pie. And from a few sips (OK, more than a few), I detected warm vanilla, dark chocolate and definitely some smoky oaky flavors, most likely from the Japanese casks. It also finished smooth like an unpeated scotch.

Is it worth $350? Well, I don’t think I’d pay that much for any bourbon. But if you can spare it, the whiskey is wonderful, the bottle is beautiful, and the milestone is memorable.

Check out the Angel’s Envy website for details on the Sept. 1 release. Not sure if it’ll be one of those first-come, first-serve long line deals, or if they’ll do something different due to COVID restrictions.

Woodford Reserve

New releases: Batch Proof, Barrel Proof and bourbon-battered beer

Just when you thought it was safe to enjoy your bourbon collection as it now stands, along come more damn releases — but that’s a good thing! Right?

Batch Proof

Woodford Reserve

Courtesy of Woodford Reserve

First up, Woodford Reserve is releasing another limited-edition Batch Proof, which is up slightly in proof from last year’s first-ever Batch Proof release (123.6 vs. 123.3). Hey, we’ll take what we can get, right! I thought last year’s was incredible, so I’m excited to try this one on for size.

“Most people do not get to experience Woodford Reserve at such a high-proof presentation, so we are honored to share this special bourbon with the public,” said Master Distiller Chris Morris in a news release. “The intensity and depth of flavor found in Woodford Reserve Batch proof is truly remarkable.”

Thanks, Chris. Now I really need to try it!

According to the release, some flavor notes include rich raisin, brown sugar, “spicy leather character” (huh?) and cedar wood. Sounds like Grandma’s old closet to me.

Regardless, this is going to be great stuff. It’ll retail for $129.99.

Barrel Proof

Elijah Craig Barrel Proof

Photo by Sara Havens

Next up, it’s the 2020 release of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (A120), at a whopping 136.6 proof! Each year, the Barrel Proof starts trickling out to thirsty bourbon fanatics, and it has garnered top accolades throughout the years, including Whisky of the Year.

This is bourbon in its purest form, you all! The only thing they do to it after dumping from the barrel is filter out the flecks of char.

It’s uncut, 12-year-old bourbon that packs a punch as well as a fascinating flavor that you just can’t put down. It’s hot, it’s sweet, it’s sticky. It’s what you’d taste if you found yourself in a rick house with a long-ass straw.

This usually retails for around $60-$70.

Bourbon-aged beer

And finally, Angel’s Envy is preparing to launch a barrel-aged beer program called “Angel’s & Ale,” and its first partner in crime is Against the Grain.

Angle's & Ales

Courtesy of Angel’s Envy

Apparently, AtG created a Belgian Quadruple Ale that was aged for three to four months in port barrels formerly used to finish Angel’s Envy core product.

While the beer will be available for the entire month of March at AtG, they’re having a kickoff party on Feb. 28 at the Angel’s Envy Distillery, just right across the street from AtG. And more good news: They’ll be announcing additional “Angel’s & Ale” collaborations throughout 2020.

Can’t wait to try this brew out, as I’m curious how much flavor resonates from a used port barrel that has aged bourbon for a few months.

Cheers!

Whitesnake Angel's Envy

New releases: The Angel’s Envy Tawny Port Finish is old and sexy, plus say hi to Elijah Craig rye

Whitesnake Angel's Envy

A tale of two Tawnys.

Here I go again on my own. Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known. Like a drifter I was born to walk alone. And I’ve made up my mind. I ain’t wastin’ no more time …

Those, my millennial friends, are lyrics to a kick-ass ’80s song by hairband Whitesnake, and in the video, which they actually played on MTV back in the day, there was pin-up goddess Tawny Kitaen, rolling around half-naked on the hood of a muscle car.

It’s a beautiful piece of pop culture art stamped in time.

And my brain, which is forever stamped in all things ’80s and ’90s, immediately drew parallels to the video when I first heard about the new Cellar Collection from Angel’s Envy, which is finished in tawny port casks. Sure, Tawny is an unusual name, so you can understand why I automatically pictured an Angel’s Envy bottle frolicking on top of a car.

But when I took that first sip, there were way more similarities between the two beauties than just the name. They’re delicious. They’re rich. Their deep, auburn color teases, taunts and tantalizes with every sip. And on the other end of the spectrum, they’re both old — as am I.

Let me get my mind off that car and just focus on the bourbon for a minute. I was fortunate to stop by the Angel’s Envy Distillery last week for a top-secret media get-together announcing the new release. Of course they made us keep it a secret until now, so I apologize that I couldn’t spread the good news earlier.

Let me give you the quick details: The release is the second in the Cellar Collection (the first was the Oloroso Sherry Cask finish) and features 10-year-old bourbon that was finished for 10 months in tawny port casks. It is bottled at 111.6 proof and will retail for about $249.99. The limited run of just 5,400 bottles will be available beginning Feb. 8 at select retailers in Kentucky, California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Tennessee, as well as at the distillery in downtown Louisville

Angel's Envy Tawny(If you’re a member of the free-to-join 500 Main club, you’ll be getting an email soon about being able to purchase it in advance.)

Anyway, during the short tasting experience, we heard from Angel’s Envy Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Wes Henderson, Production Manager Kyle Henderson and Lead Distillery Operator Andrew Henderson about the limited release.

Wes Henderson opened the discussion by explaining the concept of the Cellar Collection. Basically, there’s no set date or expectation of when something new has to be released. It comes down to quality — and the wow factor.

“I don’t believe in innovating just to innovate,” Wes said. “We didn’t release this just to have something out there. It’s very different than anything we’ve released before. We set out to make the best whiskey we can, and this one, I believe, is very much in line with what my father (bourbon legend Lincoln Henderson) preferred — more subtle, not in-your-face.”

Kyle Henderson — Wes’ son, Lincoln’s grandson — added that currently, there are about 17 more experiments going on at the Bacardi-owned distillery.

“Those include all the dumbass ideas that won’t see the light of day,” he joked.

Now, as you know, regular Angel’s Envy is finished in ruby port barrels between three to six months. So how is tawny port different? For one, tawny port, which is made from red grapes, is aged longer in oak casks — giving it a golden-brown color. Port, in general, is a type of sweet wine made in Portugal.

So how does the Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Tawny Port Barrels taste?

It’s peppery, it’s nutty, it’s fruity. It’s like throwing a handful of Werther’s Originals into a blender with about two Red Hots. It’s everything you want a finished bourbon to be, yet its flavors are unfamiliar but intriguing. It’s like doing a cartwheel on the hood of a car and having knees that’ll stick the landing. (I miss those knees.)

I know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not that I’m not obsessed with Tawny Kitaen. It’s the price tag — a whopping $250! I get it — it’s a lot.

Maybe you don’t want to shell out that much for a bottle of bourbon, but it would be worth the search at a bar or restaurant or liquor store’s tasting bar for a sample. Or just bite the bullet and buy a bottle. Keep it in your private stash, hidden away from the wife or the husband, right next to your Whitesnake cassette tapes.

_____________________________________________

Elijah Craig releases a rye

Elijah Craig rye

Say hi to Elijah Rye.

As a bourbon writer, I run to the mailbox as soon as I get home every day. Unfortunately, I encounter more bills than fun packages, but every now and then, I get something truly special.

Case in point — a box from Heaven Hill that contained a sample of the new Elijah Craig Rye Whiskey and a loaf of rye bread baked by Master Distiller Conor O’Driscoll himself!

Of course I popped that bottle open as soon as I could and enjoyed the sweet and spicy nectar. But I also savored the bread and ate a slice every morning for breakfast until it was gone. One day I even made a sandwich with two slices — and it was wonderful. Thanks, Conor!

rye sandwich

Turkey on rye.

But back to the rye. The mashbill includes 51% rye, 35% corn and 14% malted barley, making it pretty smooth for a rye whiskey with that much corn in it.

I could sip this neat all day, but I also believe it’ll be quite tasty in a cocktail like an Old Fashioned, because that rye won’t take any shit from the sugar.

And for those still in shock from the Angel’s Envy sticker price, this is much more affordable. Elijah Craig Rye Whiskey will be released this month in North Carolina, South Carolina, George and Oregon — What? No Kentucky?!?! — and retail for $29.99.

I suppose since you can’t get it here, you all can stop by and sample some of mine.

Just like Conor’s bread, fine whiskey was meant to be shared.

Angel's Envy cocktail menu

Cocktails about nothin’? The Angel’s Envy winter cocktail menu is all about ‘Seinfeld’

Angel's Envy cocktail menu

A cocktail menu about nothing. | Photo by Sara Havens

You know those people. They go around quoting “Seinfeld” like the show just came out last week — and you’re supposed to understand (and laugh at) every little inside phrase from sponge worthy to close talker to no soup for you!

I get it. I respect “Seinfeld,” but I’m here to confess I never was an avid watcher. My first front-page story, however, was covering the series finale for my college newspaper The Post in Athens, Ohio. I hopped from dorm room to coffee shop reporting on people’s devastation that the nine-year show was coming to an end. That was 1998.

And this is 2020. Which is actually a quote from one of my journalism heroes, Barbara Walters, but that’s another story.

While you all with taste were engrossed in “Seinfeld,” I was more enamored with “Melrose Place,” “Friends” and “Blossom.”

But back to the show about nothing and its tremendous support group of die-hards. I stopped by Angel’s Envy Distillery Tuesday afternoon for several reasons — one of which I cannot talk about until next week*. The one I can mention is the distillery bar’s new menu for winter, which is COMPLETELY “SEINFELD”-THEMED!

Mike Bohn

Angel’s Envy Bar Manager Mike John talks “Seinfeld” and cocktails. | Photo by Sara Havens

I’ll list the names of the drinks below, which I’m sure all you nerdy fanatics will understand 100%. I was more interested in the ingredients, but that’s just me. The one we got to sample was called The Beach, which I don’t get the reference to, but it was delicious! It was made with Angel’s Envy Rye, Averna, coconut, black walnut and salt.

The talented Angel’s Envy Bar Manager Mike Bohn whipped it up for us and explained the concept behind the menu and the cocktail. And the idea is pretty simple: Everyone loves “Seinfeld,” including us. So let’s make a cocktail menu based on popular words or phrases from the show.

As a cocktail consumer, the options are both creative and appealing. So why not mix craft drinks and comedy — with a twist of skill and a wink to pop culture?

*Stay tuned for a very special episode of The Bar Belle next week, where I’ll tell you why I was really at Angel’s Envy. 

 

For your viewing pleasure, here’s the list of drinks on the Angel’s Envy winter menu:

  • The Summer of George — Angel’s Envy Bourbon, grapefruit, lime, maple, allspice
  • Serenity Now — Angel’s Envy, yellow chartreuse, St. Germain, cacao, chipotle
  • I Don’t Want to be a Pirate! — Angel’s Envy, aged rum, Velvet Falernum, cinnamon, peppercorn
  • Festivus Flip — Angel’s Envy Rye, winter spice, cream, egg, soda
  • Come Back, One Year! — Angel’s Envy, cream, spices, butter (served hot or cold)
  • Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That — Angle’s Envy, tamarind, quince, white port, citrus, gremant
  • The Beach — Angel’s Envy Rye, Averna, coconut, black walnut, salt
  • The Jr. Mint — Angle’s Envy, chocolate, mint, genepy, coconut, milk
  • No Soup For You — Featured cocktail of the day

Also new at the Angel’s Envy bar is a library of cask strength Angel’s Envy that dates back to 2013! Giddyup!