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And the Valley Drinks: Angel's Envy Bourbon

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How about some high-end hooch with a lofty name?

Liquor hasn't gotten much representation in this series in the last few months, mostly because I just haven't been able to really try too many new ones to judge. I did, however, recently get around to a high-end bourbon that I've always been interested in. One that, while pricey, is still relatively easy to find, at least in my experience. Most nicer bars here in Baton Rouge carry it, along with the more dedicated liquor stores -- i.e., steps above the average Winn-Dixie or drug store.

Angel's Envy is a Kentucky bourbon notable for the fact that it is finished in a port wine barrel. Which is to say, after it's spent anywhere from four to seven years in the charred oak barrel that is typical of bourbon, it is then place into another barrel that was formerly used to age port wine -- which is a sweeter desert wine, for those of you not of the vinier persuasion. In the three to six months it finishes in the second barrel, it picks up some extra flavor notes. More and more outfits are using a secondary barrel for finishing, a practice that's more typically associated with scotches. Woodford Reserve is another bourbon that uses a second barrel.

It's unique to the genre, and it's made Angel's Envy pretty popular -- Wine Enthusiast rated it with 98 points, their highest rating among bourbons. It's received a gold medal from Beverage Industry News, and ranked as the best spirit in the world in 2013, per Spirit Journal. You can find it anywhere from in the upper 40s to upper 50s in price. Pricey for bourbon, but not ridiculous for the higher-end stuff.


The color is lighter for bourbon. Almost golden, with a bit of an amber quality. The bouquet is very strong, but the open is very smooth. You know right away that it's bourbon with that oaky flavor of the barrel, but it finishes with a kind of a lightly sweet, fruity flavor. Very natural though, not sugary. There's a slight tinge of vanilla, and almost nutmeg. It's complex, but still goes down easy. If you have the means, I give this a strong five stars. Especially if a restaurant has a nice deal on it when you're out with your significant other.