Angel’s Envy is a Louisville-based craft distillery that produces Kentucky Straight Bourbon finished in port wine barrels. The whiskey is produced at 500 E. Main Street, downtown Louisville, Kentucky. It was co-founded by Lincoln Henderson, a Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee with more than 40 years of experience in the spirits industry.
Angel’s Envy's core offering, Kentucky Straight Bourbon finished in port wine barrels, marries the creamy vanilla richness of bourbon with the red berry notes of port casks.
The whiskey is distilled from a mash bill consisting of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley. It is straight bourbon, meaning it must be at least two years old.
The whiskey is initially aged in American white oak barrels for four to six years. It then undergoes a secondary ageing process known as finishing. The cask finishing method has been popular with Scotch distillers for many years.
Scotch whisky producers often finish their spirit in casks that previously held sherry or port. The fortified wine helps to imbue the whisky with new flavours. When perfecting this recipe, Henderson decided that port was the best match for the bourbon. It took a few months of trial and error before arriving at the optimum finishing period of three to six months.
Though most commonly finished in port casks from Portugal, Angel’s Envy has also produced rum, sherry, mizunara oak, tawny, madeira and ice cider finishes. Cask Strength versions are released annually with the 2021 edition marking the 10th anniversary of the series.
Lincoln Henderson spent much of his career working at Brown-Forman. There he oversaw the creation of brands like Woodford Reserve and Gentleman Jack. He was among the first inductees into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame and was awarded a Lifetime Achievement award by Malt Advocate.
Over his long career, Lincoln kept extensive notes in a little black book. Within the book were some of the ideas that would lead to the creation of Angel’s Envy. Lincoln’s son, Wes, recognised the potential in his father's notes and coaxed him out of retirement. Together, the two men created groundbreaking whiskies using barrel finishing techniques rarely seen in the United States.
In 2013, the Henderson family acquired a property on E. Main Street, Louisville. Formerly the home of saw manufacturer, Vermont American, the site had lain empty since 1986. On July 9th, work began on converting the 1902 building into a distillery. The first barrel was filled on September 3rd 2016. The doors opened to the public two months later.
Sadly, Lincoln didn’t live to see the project completed. He passed away in 2013, leaving Wes to continue his legacy and carry on the family business as Chief Innovation Officer until his retirement in February 2022. The distillery has been an enormous success, welcoming guests from all over the world through its doors in a single year. Likewise, the brand continues to flourish as one of the most unique bourbons in all of the US.