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A Symphony of Finishing Touches: Angel's Envy Whiskey Dinner.

Imagine a night where whiskey isn't just a drink but the brushstroke that completes a culinary masterpiece. That's the magic that unfolded at "The Finishing Touches," a Sydney Whisky Month dinner hosted by Angel's Envy in collaboration with the blessing that is the entity known as The Whisky List at the new incarnation that is the illustrious spirit haunt Eau de Vie Sydney.


The experience echoed Angel's Envy's signature finishing process, where their bourbon gets its final flourish in Ruby Port casks. Chef James Green, the maestro behind both The Sanderson and Eau de Vie Sydney, took this concept and spun it into a symphony of "finishing touches" right at the table, doing a formidable and intentionable meal pairing.


Throughout the night, whiskey wasn't just present, it was the guiding light. Angel's Envy specialist Kayla Grigoriou offered insights into each dram, from the familiar comfort of their Port-finished bourbon to the exciting debut of their Rye finished in Caribbean Rum casks, a first taste for Australia.


Angel’s Envy Finished In Port Wine Barrels


First things first: Angel's Envy isn't your average bourbon.


It's a spirit with a story, a tale whispered in hints of honey, oak, and the elusive touch of port. This Kentucky Straight Bourbon spends its formative years slumbering in charred virgin oak barrels, building a foundation of rich, toasty character. But then comes the twist.


For a period of three to six months, Angel's Envy takes a detour, slumbering in ruby port casks. Imagine a symphony conductor, carefully selecting a single instrument to add a subtle flourish to his masterpiece.


That's the role of the port casks here. They impart a whisper of sweetness, a hint of cherry and berries, but never overpower the core bourbon melody.


The first act of the tasting experience was a delightful overture of aromas. Honey takes center stage, a warm, floral sweetness that mingles with hints of grass and a touch of nuttiness.


Some speculate these nutty notes might point to its origins – whispers of Heaven Hill or Jim Beam in its past, but that's just educated guesswork, adding to the intrigue.


The charred oak barrels make their presence known next, their influence a powerful, earthy presence that evokes the feeling of a cozy log cabin. It's a touch that might surprise some, given the port cask finish, but it adds a layer of complexity that keeps things interesting.


The port's influence is a shy participant in this aromatic dance. While cherries, red grapes, and berries make a fleeting appearance, they never steal the spotlight. This is, after all, a bourbon's story, and the port is merely a captivating supporting character.


The first sip was a continuation of the honey theme from the nose. It's joined by a malty sweetness reminiscent of corn mash, and a burst of orange zest for a touch of vibrancy. But then, the oak stepped back in, bringing a wave of bitterness alongside hints of cinnamon, mint, and even a touch of licorice.


As the flavours fade, the oak asserted itself once more, leaving a lasting impression alongside the minty coolness of licorice. There were whispers of fruit in the background, a reminder of the port's subtle contribution, but the overall impression was one of spice and wood.


Summa summarum, Angel's Envy'score expression is a bourbon that keeps you guessing. The port cask finish is a light touch, adding intrigue without overwhelming the core bourbon character. It's a spirit that's both familiar and surprising, a well-crafted enigma that begs to be savoured and contemplated. While some might yearn for a more pronounced port influence, we find that the beauty of Angel's Envy lies in its delicate balance and the transformative power of a well-placed finishing touch.


Angel’s Envy Rye Finished in Caribbean Rum Casks: A Tropical Twist on Tradition


Now, forget your preconceived notions of rye whiskey. With this little number, Angel's Envy Rye throws a Caribbean rum cask into the mix, and the result is an experience that's as unique as it is unexpected.


The first hint of this whiskey's eccentricity comes from the nose. Forget the usual rye spice – instead, you're greeted by the comforting aroma of warm cookies, mingling with the sweetness of maple syrup-drenched French toast. It's almost like sniffing a breakfast buffet gone rogue.


The rye itself plays a coy role in this drama. It's there, a whisper of spice hiding beneath layers of sweetness. But the real star is the rum cask. Tropical notes of coconut, pineapple, mango, and orange rind take center stage, a vibrant island vacation for your taste buds.


Hold your horses, though.


A hint of rubber lurks beneath the surface, a playful reminder of rum's more, ahem, "interesting" characteristics. But fear not, it's a fleeting note, quickly chased away by a wave of sweet berries and cream, all wrapped in a warm embrace of allspice, nutmeg, and clove. Every sip is a delicious exploration of the unexpected.


The finish is a sweet affair. Maple syrup takes center stage once again, a thin, delicate sweetness that lingers on the tongue. Hints of cinnamon, allspice, and ginger join the party, along with surprising notes of hibiscus tea, leather, and coconut. It's a complex and lingering farewell, a testament to the rum cask's lasting influence.


This isn't your everyday rye. It's a spirit that pushes boundaries, a playful wink to tradition. If you're a fan of classic, bold rye, you might find this a touch too sweet.


A Word on Batch Variations


Not unlike snowflakes, no two batches of Angel's Envy Rye are exactly alike. The rum casks are reconditioned over time, which can affect the intensity of the rum influence. Be aware that your experience might differ from the last, depending on the batch you snag. But hey, that's part of the adventure, right?


Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Finished in Ruby Port Wine Casks


The first whiff is a revelation. It's as if you've unearthed a dusty treasure chest filled with autumnal delights. Rich, buttery fruit mingles with the comforting aroma of aged oak, like a library filled with leather-bound books and antique furniture. Hints of tropical fruit peek out shyly, a playful contrast to the earthy depth.


Take a sip, and you're transported to a bustling autumn market. Vanilla unfolds on the tongue first, a sweet and welcoming note. Then comes a wave of molasses, raisin, and dark, tannic cherries – a symphony of fall fruits bursting with flavor. The high proof delivers a surprising bite, like a crisp autumn wind invigorating your senses.


As the flavors settle, a touch of funky malt emerges, a pleasant surprise that adds complexity to the sweetness. But the most unexpected guest at this flavour party is a hint of mincemeat pie. It's a strange but delightful encounter, a reminder of cozy nights spent by the fireplace with warm treats in hand.


The finish might be a bit fleeting for some, but the intensity of the flavors more than compensates. It's a burst of sweetness, like the last bite of a decadent dessert. This bourbon could easily give Midwinter Night's Dram a run for its money in the sweetness department, but with the added depth and complexity of the port cask finish.


While the age statement is a mystery, whispers amongst connoisseurs suggest this bourbon spends up to seven years maturing in traditional barrels before its grand finale in ruby port casks. This extra time allows the spirit to develop a rich foundation, perfectly primed to absorb the nuanced sweetness of the port.


Angel's Envy Cask Strength Port Finish Bourbon proved to be a borderline perfect sipper for a chilly winter night, a celebration of fall flavours in a high-proof package.


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Words by AW.

Photo courtesy of AW.

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