Angel's Envy B&B Private Barrel #659 Kentucky Bourbon
Angel's Envy has been a mainstream success for years now, both making new whiskey fans and earning a guilty pleasure soft spot from many seasoned drinkers. Wine cask finishing, though long popular with Scotch, had been seldom seen in American whiskies. Though the standout branding may have brought many people in with Angel's Envy, it was certainly that port finished profile that kept them coming back, with juicy red fruits and chocolate hints that sit alongside the classic sweet bourbon profile perfectly. Indeed, there are few whiskey brands now that haven't featured a wine finish of some kind, with port finishes especially popular.
Especially sought after since the brand's introduction has been their annual cask strength release, a blend of select casks bottled at a higher proof than their usual 43.3% abv. Those releases are always spectacular, but nearly impossible to get one's hands on. The rare Bourbon game is a real downer, and Angel's Envy is no exception. Luckily, there is a third way. As is the trend (and a trend we can get behind at that), Angel's Envy has been experimenting the last couple years with private cask picks, and we got the chance to pick a couple this year. Though we are sure everyone will still clamor for the Annual Cask Strength release, we are gonna stick our necks out for these barrels and say they are just as good if not better than the last couple Cask Strength releases, and certainly more unique. And though they are a not quite cask strength 55% abv, they pack nearly as much of a punch.
This one, numbered 659, is a wild one. The port barrel takes the lead here, with flavors more often associated with a sherry finish. The color is darker... a deep dark chestnut, burnished bronze, old Armagnac, whatever you prefer to call it - it's concentrated. And the color in this case totally follows through with the character of the whiskey. The nose is like a sweet sherried scotch, but with the sweet corn character of Bourbon as the base. Raisinets, sticky toffee pudding, cocoa, leather, and a bright wisp of candied lemon zest. The palate is full of dark chocolate, prunes, red currants, butterscotch, clove, oloroso sherry, and burnt sugar. The finish leads with a buttery feel and a hint of rosemary, ending on rich chocolate cake.