Movie stars come out of retirement. Rappers and baseball players, too. Why not a Bourbon distiller?
Lincoln Henderson—who was instrumental in the rise of Woodford Reserve as one of the leading small-batch Bourbons and was in charge of all Brown Forman whiskies, including Jack Daniel's, until retiring in 2004—has returned to the rickhouse to create Angel's Envy, a new Bourbon he calls his "life's work," for the Louisville Distilling Company.
The first batch nursed along by Henderson, using triple-distilled Bourbon whiskey, was finished in a mix of Vintage and Ruby Port barrels "shipped directly from Portugal." (Where else?) The name is a play on the term "Angel's Share," the amount of whiskey that evaporates during the aging process, and the stylish bottle is made from "perfume-grade glass," about which I can tell you absolutely nothing.
It certainly has a beautiful color, a vibrant amber-orange. The nose is heady and perfumes, the winey notes of the Port intermingling with the spice of the grain. Plenty of vanilla, too. The palate has a similar mix of finesse and spice, caramel smooth overall but with a tangy, tingly hit in the mid-palate. More vanilla, woody notes, maple syrup, some orange but generally not to big on fruit. Austere and silky simultaneously. Just a hunch, but good Old Fashioned material here.
Angel's Envy is available in Louisville, Chicago, San Francisco, Miami, Austin, Washington, D.C. and Boulder and Denver. So I guess I should feel lucky to have my sample here in little 'ol NYC. It goes for $45.