Angel’s Envy does just one thing, but it does it very well: making cask-finished whiskey. The annual Cask Strength Bourbon release, finished in port barrels like the core expression, is always a popular one that tends to get whiskey fans pretty riled up. Well, prepare to get even more titillated, because for the first time ever Angel’s Envy is pairing that bourbon with a Cask Strength Rye—and yes, it’s cask-finished as well.
This all comes under the auspices of new master distiller Owen Martin, who started his job at Angel’s Envy just about a year ago. The details of this new Cask Strength Rye are as follows: It was made from a mashbill of 95 percent rye and five percent malted barley that was distilled at MGP in Indiana in 2015. The base liquid was aged from five to seven years, and then some of the whiskey was finished in sauternes wine barrels for three years and some in toasted oak barrels (French and American) for six months, and it was bottled at 114.4 proof.
Now, if the concept of a toasted oak finish gives you some pause, I see you—this type of finish can go very wrong very fast, allowing a bouquet of baking spices to overpower the palate and erase all other flavors. The good news is that is definitely not the case here, making this a high-proof rye whiskey that is well worth seeking out. The nose immediate reveals notes of fruit and pepper, with that 95 percent rye mashbill making itself very obvious. The palate opens up with huge notes of pear and cherry, followed by dark and milk chocolate, almond, and a bit of toasted spice that is present without taking over. Add a little bit of water if you want to proof it down a bit, but this whiskey is strong without being too hot.
There are just 5,500 bottles available of the Cask Strength Rye, so this whiskey will likely prove a bit hard to find when it’s released this December (SRP $270). That’s even more limited than the Cask Strength Bourbon, which will be released in a run of more than 20,000 bottles—that whiskey is also quite good, and will likely sell out fast as well. Martin has done a fantastic job with his first crack at blending Angel’s Envy Cask Strength, and the distillery’s 12th bourbon and first rye in this category should make you excited about what else might be coming from the distillery.
- 100: Worth trading your first born for
- 95 – 99 In the Pantheon: A trophy for the cabinet
- 90 – 94 Great: An excited nod from friends when you pour them a dram
- 85 – 89 Very Good: Delicious enough to buy, but not quite special enough to chase on the secondary market
- 80 – 84 Good: More of your everyday drinker, solid and reliable
- Below 80 It’s alright: Honestly, we probably won’t waste your time and ours with this