By Richard Thomas
When Angel’s Envy released its first cask strength whiskey in 2012, it proved enormously popular in bourbon circles. As for myself, I liked it so much I actively campaigned for the company to make more of the stuff.
The Louisville-based company didn’t commit to putting their Cask Strength into regular production, but they did start a regular line of limited releases. The catch there is that each release of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength need not fit a consistent flavor profile. So, with the 2014 Angel’s Envy Cask Strength bourbon the obvious question is “how does it measure up against the first batch from two years ago?”
This year’s cask strength came in at 119.3 proof (59.6% abv), a hair below the 2012 original. The color is dark and heavy, resting in the place where maple syrup and burnished copper met and mingled.
One commonality with the previous Angel’s Envy Cask Strength bourbons is that this one has a high alcohol content, but it isn’t overpoweringly hot. I found it good to go every step through the drinking experience without so much as one drop of water, starting naturally enough with the nose. It has a crisp scent, akin to a hard candy with its notes of toffee, vanilla and caramel. The woody aspect, such as it is, isn’t oak or cedar or even pine, but in the vein of a sandalwood incense stick.
On the palate, it’s a triple bill show shared by vanilla, tarty wine-style dried red fruits, and a measure of spice. The finish is a young one, distinguished almost entirely by its long lasting warmth, and imparting a bright afterglow.
Compared to the last Angel’s Envy Cask Strength, this one is a different breed of fowl. It retains the virtues of being big and bold, and of being a cask strength most should be able to drink straight from the bottle, but it lacks the deeper character of the first installment.
Based on the pricing I’ve seen thus far, expect to pay about $170 for the 2014 Angel’s Envy Cask Strength.