Angel's Envy's Rye Cask-Finished in Ice Cider is Another Hit
Since 2013, the distillery hasn't made a cask-finished rye.
An era has come to an end for Angel’s Envy, as Wes Henderson has announced his retirement as co-founder and chief innovation officer. Four of his sons are now part of the company, which was founded 13 years ago by his father, Lincoln Henderson, the late master distiller. The first cask-finished rye whiskey from Angel’s Envy since 2013 is this innovative and intriguing new rye whiskey finished in ice cider casks, Henderson’s final release with the brand. Wes’ son Kyle recalls his brother Andrew finding the barrels and really pushing for the cask finish, according to Kyle.
It is well known that Angel's Envy's raison d'être is cask finishing. After about six years of initial maturation, the core lineup of contract-distilled bourbon whiskey produced on site is finished in port barrels. It is expected that this new limited release will be very different from the rye whiskey that's part of this lineup, since it's finished in rum barrels. There are 95 percent rye in this whiskey, which was aged for seven years in new charred oak barrels, followed by an additional 364 days in ice cider casks. In this release, Eden Specialty Ciders barrels were used, making it the fourth release from Angel’s Envy Cellar Collection. Like ice wine, ice cider is made from “late-season Northern Spy apples” and fermented after freezing, concentrating the sugar. French oak barrels are used to age the cider.
With such a high rye content, this rye whiskey usually has a lot of spice, but the cask finishing tempers it a bit. Caramel sauce and brown sugar are prominent on the nose, while black pepper and allspice fill the palate before developing into cranberry sauce, prunes, butter pecans, and caramel apples on the palate. Towards the end, you'll feel a pleasant warmth at the back of your throat accompanied by a tingle of heat. In spite of its 107 proof, the whiskey has a soft sweetness that pairs well with its alcohol content.
This limited edition whiskey, like other Angel's Envy releases, is limited to just 6,000 bottles, all made of frosted glass and packaged in a gift box. It is likely to sell well beyond its $250 price tag, just like the other limited edition releases. In the world of American whiskey, I seem to be writing more and more about cask finished whiskey, since this technique (or trend, depending on your viewpoint) seems to be taking over. Sometimes it hides inherent flaws. Nevertheless, Angel's Envy has produced another fine whiskey, and this marks the legacy of Wes Henderson.