Welcome back to the next stop on our ongoing #bourbonjourney, where today we’ll be taking a second look at the port wine finished bourbon, Angel’s Envy. During the last week of each month, I pour a dram from the same bottle of Angel’s Envy and present my thoughts here, sharing with you the changes that occur to the spirit as it sat in the bottle over the course of the past month. If you missed the first round of tasting notes last month, you may want to go back and read that post to get up to speed before continuing on with this one.
To those of you who have purchased your own bottles and are tasting along with me, I thank you for taking up the challenge and look forward to hearing your thoughts on any changes you were able to detect in your own bottles. Several of you were kind enough to share your experiences in the comments section of the last post and I hope you will continue to do so for this and any future #bourbonjourney posts.
My purpose in doing this is to create an entertaining, interactive environment for those new to the world of bourbon to be able to explore this branch of whiskey in the comfort of their own home, sharing their thoughts amongst friends. Detecting the subtle changes in the nose and palate of a whiskey from one month to the next is not an exact science, and due to the likelihood that these changes won’t be significant from month to month, to keep it interesting, at the end of each tasting session, I will pair the whiskey with a different food or beverage item and share my thoughts on how it interacts with the whiskey as well.
Before I get into this month’s review, allow me to share with you a tasting technique I tried that, so far, seems to be keeping me in line and allows for a smooth progression through my tastings. While I do keep a pen and pad handy to jot down any essential notes, I’ve started using a voice recording app on my phone and just let it run in the background as I go through the process. Once I hit record, I just start my tasting as usual, but instead of having to stop every few moments to write down what I’m tasting, I just talk it out with myself and listen back to my recording at the end of the session and make my notes from the recording. I find this frees up my mind (and my hands) and allows my thoughts to flow freely without becoming distracted by the continued pauses as I stop to jot things down. Perhaps you’ll want to take it a step further and take a video recording of yourselves as you do your tastings… something I may consider myself in the future. Whether you decide to upload your videos to YouTube and become rich and famous, or just keep your videos to yourself as a reference, I believe that extra step will do wonders for your own personal development in whiskey tasting.
Ok, that brings us to the reason we’re all here. The whiskey! Let’s get tasting….
ANGEL’S ENVY KENTUCKY STRAIGHT BOURBON
Name: Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon (Finished in Port Wine Barrels)
Proof: 86.6 proof / 43.3% ABV
Age: NAS – No Age Statement
Year: 2015. Batch No. 27U / Bottle No. 758 (same bottle as last month)
How I Drank It: Neat from a Glencairn glass with a few drops of water added toward the end.
Nose: Once again I was hit with sweet red fruits right off the bat, but I found the corn notes to be a bit more prominent this time around, moving from the background to something more mid-range. While I wouldn’t say the corn dominated the profile, this is something I have taken notice of and will be sure to explore more in future tastings. Is the corn influence getting stronger or is the Port Wine finish losing its luster? Or maybe a little bit of both? Beyond that, the oak and alcohol notes came to me a bit quicker than last time, and the vanilla and caramel remained relatively consistent. This time around I found a bit of spicy black licorice that I didn’t pick up on before as well as a tobacco note, but more of a cigarette smoke than a tobacco leaf. In hunting for that tropical banana note that Jerry mentioned in the comments last month, I see where he’s coming from. While I do get that tropical vibe, to me it is coming off more like coconut, but I could picture myself on a tropical island, wind blowing through my hair as I nibble on bits of tropical fruit and sipping this whiskey carelessly from my glass.
Taste: The sweet red fruits are still up front here, and like with the nose, the traditional corn taste has come up from the background to be solidly represented in the palate. Tart cherry, oak, and vanilla meld nicely with the caramel / brown sugar, but much like a politician after the primaries, I’m noticing a shift toward the middle… I’m mostly getting the same notes, but they’re not quite as ‘in your face’ as the initial tasting. The prominent red fruits are slightly diminished, but still a major part of this candidate’s platform. I found the addition of a little water helped to separate the flavors a bit and brought out the oak and ash, while slightly dulling the fruity portion.
The Burn: I managed to get all my sips to go down the proper pipe this time, so I didn’t deal with any of the burn issues like I did last month after choking on a swig. Standard fare here. Not too hot, not too cool, but juuuust right.
Finish: Smooth and creamy vanilla oak. Any sweetness from the port finish is relatively short lived and reminds me of chewing on a piece of Fruit Stripe bubblegum that loses its flavor after about six chomps. It’s a pleasant finish, but rather short.
Neat, Splash or Rocks: Again, my preference would be to drink this neat, but one of these tastings soon, I AM going to give this a try on the rocks. I think it could work out nicely.
Paired With: For this month’s food pairing, I went with a few slices of sharp cheddar cheese. I love the bite of sharp cheddar, whether by itself, on a cracker, or buried deep inside a stuffed mushroom. While I wouldn’t say these two items necessarily complement each other on the surface, I do like the way they interact on the palate. I cut a few slices of cheese at the beginning of my tasting and by the time I got around to pairing it with the whiskey, it had warmed up to room temperature and softened significantly. For me, this was a good thing, as the oils from the cheese had risen to the surface and helped to coat the mouth and tongue when chewing it. When the sweetness from the bourbon meets the sharpness of the cheddar, it creates a truly unique sweet ashy flavor and, oddly enough, seemed to deepen the flavors of the cheese. Quite nice indeed.
Final Thoughts: I for one am enjoying this bourbon, and from the few comments that came in last month, it seems most everyone likes it as well. Now, I did notice that everyone who left comments last month were scotch drinkers and while bourbon may not be our first choice, the feedback on this particular one has been mostly positive. I did have one bourbon drinker reach out to me with his tasting notes, and for his preference, Angel’s Envy is on the thin side flavor-wise and left him with the feeling that something was lacking compared to the bourbons he typically drinks. But, in the true spirit of exploration, he is anxious to give it another shot and see what a little time does to the profile, which is exactly what this series is all about. Thank you for reading this month’s post, and if there is anything you’d like to add to the conversation, please do so below. Until next month, I wish you well and remind everyone to #drinkcurious. Cheers, friends!