When bourbon is put in oak barrels to age, about 2 percent of the spirit evaporates through the wood. This is called the angels’ share. But it’s the 98 percent the angels do not take that matters. And this is why a new super-premium bourbon has been named Angel’s Envy. Satin-smooth, rich and mellow with a sensuous aroma that recalls vanilla, pear, caramel and
dried fruits, it is enough to make an angel flap its wings in envy for what is left behind.
Angel’s Envy is a small-batch artisan bourbon made by veteran whiskey maker Lincoln Henderson. Lured out of retirement by the Louisville Distilling Co. with the promise that he could create a bourbon his way, Henderson did just that. Bourbon must be made with a minimum of 51 percent corn. Henderson uses 70 percent. The remaining 30 percent is rye and malted barley. After aging his bourbon in three year- old oak barrels for four to six years, he goes a major step further, transferring it into used Port wine barrels for an additional four to six months. The finished product is a bourbon burnished to a fine polish, leaving not a single rough edge; and at 86.6 proof (43.3 percent alcohol), a bourbon without a burn (most bourbons run higher, some more than 100 proof; the higher the alcohol, the more aggressive the bourbon and the less discernible its nuances and finer tastes).
In 1964, Congress officially recognized bourbon as a “distinctive product of the United States.” And while it allows bourbon to be made anywhere in the country, at least 95 percent of it is produced in Kentucky, where it originated in 1789.
Enjoy Angel’s Envy straight, over ice or as part of a mixed drink — a mint julep, a sour, a Collins or one of the new drinks created with “angel” in the name. Gerry’s Angel, for example, blends Angel’s Envy with vermouth and a dash of raspberry juice. The Angel’s Decree mixes Angel’s Envy with Port, bitters and ginger ale.
Angel’s Envy is $45 for a 750ml bottle. And what does the shapely, Italian-made bottle have spread across its back? Angel wings, of course.
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