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Angel's Envy B&B Private Barrel #1868 Kentucky Bourbon

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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 1868, is the ultimate dream version of Angel's Envy bourbon. It opens on the nose with brown sugar, buttercream cake frosting, wet mahogany, milk chocolate, and orange oils. The palate explodes with fruit, especially strawberry (fresh strawberry, strawberry caramels, even strawberry cream cheese?!), slightly bitter orange marmalade, chocolate orange, wildflower honey, and a hint of yogurt. The finish develops those chocolatey notes, with a forest-y element of pine and tree sap lingering on the end. Big, beautiful, equally bright and dark. This delicious and supremely well balanced cask takes everything we love about the Angel's Envy profile, then enhances its depth, complexity, and that lush character for which it's so well known. Gorgeous.