The party at 21c Hotel in Louisville was crowded with people wanting a taste of the new Angel’s Envy bourbon from the Louisville Distilling Company. The bourbon took top billing but the executive producer (master distiller) was getting equal attention from his fans and friends.
The new bourbon is the creation of Lincoln Henderson. He knows bourbon, being in the business many years. His vast experience was put to the test to create this new product with his son and grandson.
The elder Henderson is a chemist, but he certainly does not fit the mold of what you think of in a chemist. His sense of humor is ever present. His effort to create a new signature bourbon is serious work. There is science involved, but there’s also art and craftsmanship.
He told me that the senses – smell and taste are much more sensitive than any lab equipment. But he was quick to add that he brings a scientific approach to isolating and controlling how the tastes and smells are experienced.
So what does Angel’s Envy taste like? I’ll give you my tasting notes shortly. But I want to say that it does not seem fair to say it tastes like this product or that product. I suspect every bourbon producer wants their spirit to stand on its own.
Angel’s Envy does just that.
Baker Dillihay with Liquor Barn in St. Matthews was at the party. He’s the store’s liquor and wine buyer. He described Angel’s as “soft and gentle.” It has “good fruit notes,” he said.
Maybe that is because that after the product is aged in charred new white oak barrels, a requirement for bourbon, it is finished in Port Wine barrels from Spain. Henderson said the plan was to finish the bourbon in the Port barrels for three months, but instead it rested for six months.
Kathy Sweetin, who was there with Republic National Distributing Company, noted a subtle citrus aroma and taste, along with some fruit. “Delicious,” she said.
Another rep from the distributing company offered a good sales speech for the product. He said it is clean and fresh and is very excited about the product. He described the bourbon as “a great masterpiece, a great work of art.”
Lincoln’s grandson, Kyle, who’s also part of the Louisville Distilling company, says the product is being released first in Kentucky and should be on store shelves at the beginning of April.
After the Kentucky launch, the product will be going out to Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania and into Chicago. Both Kyle and granddad Lincoln were both excited about the bourbon moving into Pennsylvania, a particularly difficult market to breach, they said.
My overwhelming reaction to the first sips was that it was very soft and gentle. The aroma was fruity but incredibly mild. Nothing like I have tasted in bourbon or scotch, although it had some similarities to a particular scotch brand I enjoy.
The first sample was cut with a small amount of water. The second sample was on the rocks. From both of these first two samples, a citrus flavor came to the front.
The final short sample was a small sip served straight up. It had a little time to rest and breath. That taste revealed the most on the nose and upon first sip.
The fruit aroma was more pronounced, and the first taste of this final sample had a rich creamy fruit with a hint of smoke. The finish is equally smooth without any pepper or bite.
Pour a small sample for yourself, straight up, let it rest for a few minutes to let the character of this bourbon develop. It will probably not be like any bourbon you have tasted before.
This bourbon would go well with some quite conversation, not a loud party.