Review: Angel’s Envy Port Finish

DSR – KY – 007: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels

Company/Distillery: Louisville Distilling Company

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Mash Bill: 72% Corn, 18% Rye, and 10% Malted Barley

Age Statement: No Age Statement; Website indicates typically aged between 4 to 6 years.

Proof/ABV: 86.6 Proof/43.3% ABV

Color & Viscosity: Angel’s Envy is a light tawny color in the tasting vessel. Tilting the glass to the side produces a thin viscous line. Giving it a second tilt, the whiskey grabs the side of the glass as legs develop and quickly glide down to the belly of the glass.

Purchase Price: $45.95 from the NC ABC Stores – March 2020; 750 ml

Bottle Label Information:

Front Label

“Angel’s Envy”

“From the cellars of Lincoln Henderson”

“Kentucky Straight Bourbon whiskey Finished In Port Wine Barrels”

Left Label

“Batch No 75F | Bottle No 419”

“All bourbons are aged in charred white oak barrels. And in that respect, Angel’s Envy is just like every other bourbon. However, unlike other bourbons, Angel’s Envy is finished in port wine casks, giving it a complex flavor you won’t find anywhere else. Indulge and discover distilled dissent.”

“Uncorked on 5/12/2021

Right Label

“Distilled in Kentucky. Bottled by Louisville Spirits Group, Louisville, Kentucky”

Neck Tie

“After forty years spent upholding bourbon’s strict traditions and heritage, our Master Distiller decided to try something new. Lincoln Henderson began with an exceptional Kentucky Straight Bourbon and finished it in ruby port wine barrels for up to six months, resulting in a whiskey of unprecedented smoothness and character. This unique process imbues the spirit with flavors of vanilla, ripe fruit, maple syrup, toast and bitter chocolate for an unconventionally delicious finish.”

“98 Points “Beautiful” – Wine Enthusiast”

“Highest Recommendation – F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal”

Distillery Background

Louisville Distilling Company

Angel’s Envy, located in Louisville, Kentucky, was founded in 2010 by a father and son duo, Lincoln and Wes Henderson, who are steeped with history and experience in the whiskey industry. Lincoln Henderson was a retired master distiller for Brown-Forman. Mr. Henderson is best known for having created the products of industry giants like Gentlemen Jack, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel, and Woodford Reserve. Lincoln was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame’s inaugural class in 2001. Lincoln’s son, Wes, has also garnered substantial experience and history within the industry in his own right. Wes had the pleasure to work beside his father throughout the years and had a significant hand in the development and design layout of the Woodford Reserve Distillery. Wes, too, was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2019.

It shouldn’t be much of surprise, given their wealth of knowledge and experience, that when Wes approached Lincoln about starting their own distillery, that Lincoln would jump right in and was joined by Wes’ son and Lincoln’s grandson, Kyle. During his career, Lincoln had kept copious notes in a black notebook. These notes and thoughts would be used to help develop and direct the formation of Angel’s Envy. Lincoln had noticed over time that spirits in Europe were quite often finished in wine barrels, a practice that had not yet been truly pursued in the United States with bourbon. Finishing bourbon in wine barrels was something Lincoln had always wished to experiment with and Angel’s Envy would be his opportunity to do so.

In August 2010, Lincoln, Wes, and Kyle would fill their very first barrel, a Ruby Port Wine barrel, with Kentucky bourbon. In March 2011, their first ever Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels would be released to the public with overwhelming reviews. In 2013, Angel’s Envy would release its first Rye Whiskey offering which they had finished in Caribbean Rum Casks. This was just the start of a huge year for the family. In addition to the rye release, Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels would be awarded “The Best Spirit in the World” by F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal. As if all of that wasn’t enough, the team would break ground on their new downtown Louisville distillery – Angel’s Envy Distillery. After 3 years, in 2016, Angel’s Envy would fill their first barrel from distillate made on their Vendome stills on location.

Angel’s Envy whiskey offerings include their Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels, a Finished Rye which is Rye Whiskey Finished in Caribbean Rum Casks, Cask Strength Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels, and several special release offerings.

Visit the Angel’s Envy website for more information on their distillery and future special releases.

Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels

Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels is distilled using a traditional mash bill of 72% corn, 18% rye, and 10% malted barley. The bourbon is aged between 4-6 years in new American oak barrels before resting for an additional 6 months in their final finishing barrel, a 60-gallon Ruby Port Wine barrel made of French oak and imported from Portugal.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Date/Vessel: May 12, 2021 – Neat in Glencairn Glass; Then with a few drops of distilled water.


Christian: In the bottle, Angel’s Envy bears a sweet aroma of brown sugar, fresh berries, and a trace of red wine. In my Glencairn, the nose of this whiskey is absolutely delightful. The very first aroma that comes to mind is that of Big League Chew pink bubble gum. A soft swirl begins to allow the wine influence to peak through. A short break, another swirl, and the sweetness of berries and a punch of vanilla really comes through for the nose. The deeper I nose, the more this whiskey smells of sweet vanilla buttercream icing. Amazing – the nose begs you to jump in and sip! The addition of distilled water some how makes this nose even sweeter. The whiskey becomes an absolute brown sugar bomb. There is a soft touch of caramel syrup now present that wasn’t noticed prior to the addition of water.

Mike: From the bottle, I get a rush of the port wine then a smooth transition to aromas of light tobacco, mixed berries, and subtle tones of brown sugar. Nosing Angel’s Envy from the glass produces a very light and sweet store-bought honey flavor with a late hint of pink bubble gum.  As I swirl the whiskey in the glass and nose in for a second pass, I’m met with golden raisins, wine like aromas and confectionary sugar. Letting the glass rest a little brings forward pleasant soft tobacco flavors.


Christian: The mouth feel is soft and a bit thin. The first sip of Angel’s Envy is subdued more than one would expect. My first taste produces notes of brown sugar which is accompanied by hints of vanilla, clove, and cinnamon. As you continue to sip, a touch of toasted oak barrel moves forward. Angel’s Envy is not as complex in taste as one would expect after the introduction by the nose. The addition of distilled water allows the mouthfeel to become silky smooth with little weight or viscosity left. The flavor profile becomes muted with light hints of vanilla pudding and caramel.

Mike: The mouth starts out dry and semi-sweet, but it is light and crisp on the front of the palate. This is not at all what I was expecting, based on what I picked up from the nose. Mellow tobacco and a hint of smokiness are notated mid-palate. The mouth begins to sweeten towards the back of the palate as I detect berries from the port and a suggestion of vanilla icing.


Christian: The backend of this pour ramps up the flavors a bit more. A nice soothing warmth develops in the back of throat and chest. Boy is it dry! The finish has a nice pop of rye spice in the beginning, reminiscent of black pepper. This quickly transitions to the influences of the port wine barrel with noticeable amounts of sweetened raspberries and blackberries – I wouldn’t say similar to jam, but, perhaps just the berries sprinkled with sugar. Finally, the port wine influence finally announces itself very late here. The distilled water does not extinguish the pop of spiciness in the finish. Overall the finish remains dry despite the added water. There is less sweetness now and more of a bitter toasted oak begins to dominate.

Mike: Angel’s Envy has a medium finish that offers a soothing black pepper spice that hangs at the back of the throat. There is nothing sharp or overtly hot with this finish. Lingering on the palate, I notice an essence of baked pastry crust that is cooked well done, but not burnt. This finish is not complicated but rather affable.

Our Rating

Final Thoughts

Christian: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Port Wine Barrels takes you on a bit of roller coaster ride as you enjoy the pour. The nose is fantastic with a complexity that evolves as it opens in the glass. It really lures one in to begin sipping. Perhaps the nose set the bar too high for what to expect when tasting this bourbon. After the rush of flavors in the nose, I’m left wanting more when it gets to the palate. The flavors are nice, however, they seem to be lacking some complexity and development. The finish ramps this pour back up, recovering from the let down on the palate, and delivers a strong punch of flavor. I would have zero problem pulling this bourbon out of the cabinet and enjoying when guests are over. It is approachable and has a flavor profile that would lend to a nice early summer evening sipping whiskey on the front porch.

Rating: 3.38 Rickhouses

Mike: The nose of this whiskey from Angel’s Envy is enticing! Complex and delicately balanced, the bouquet of aromas really draw you in. The mouth is unexpected and not as sweet as the nose would indicate and left me wanting more. The flavors in the mouth are not excessively developed but Angel’s Envy Port Finish drinks without effort. Although I feel it lacks dimension, I rather enjoyed the medium finish this whiskey offers and found it very level. A good sipping whiskey and something I would share with those looking to venture into bourbon.

Rating: 3.125 Rickhouses


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