Angel’s Envy debuts its first unfinished whiskey

The cask strength Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon will be available exclusively at the Angel’s Envy distillery in Louisville, Kentucky.

In a departure from brand tradition, Bacardi-owned Angel’s Envy is releasing its first unfinished whiskey. Launched in 2006 by Lincoln and Wes Henderson, Angel’s Envy was pioneering in its use of finishing casks on American whiskey, a concept that, while once unthinkable, has become a broader industry practice.

Owen Martin joined Angel’s Envy as master distiller in 2022, the first to carry the title since Lincoln passed in 2013. He didn’t distil or ideate this new whiskey but helped to frame it as an Angel’s Envy product. Even if it wasn’t finished in the traditional sense, it melded ideas in a similar way.

If Angel’s Envy was combining ideas across categories, if this product combines ideas within a category for the first time, overlapping bottled-in-bond and cask strength then with that in mind this is absolutely an Angel Envy release,” Martin said. “And honestly, what could be more Angel’s Envy than pushing the category in a new way?”

The whiskey, as is compliant with the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897, is bottled at 50% ABV. In the spring of 2018, barrels were filled at a lower entry-proof of 103 (51.5% ABV) and placed in a cool, humid warehouse. There, the proof dropped, and 27 of these low-proof barrels were blended with two high-proof barrels from the same season. 

Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bottled-in-Bond is available exclusively at the downtown Louisville distillery starting Friday 14 June. The whiskey was aged for nearly six years, and is priced at US$55 with 12,000 375ml bottles available.

Martin is inspired to take a broader view of what Angel’s Envy can release, sticking to a spirit of innovation through combination. He wants to challenge expectations even when it comes to his own brand. 

“If we had a radical idea from the start, and now that radical idea is commonplace, then why wouldn’t we look in our own blank spaces,” he explained. “If you reframe and think of the idea of surprising people with combining ideas and processes and casks, then I think anything can be Angel’s Envy, when you’re willing to look at it from that lens.”

The distillery exclusive is a way for Martin and Angel’s Envy to get data and feedback on the concept and he says that he is open to working with unfinished whiskey again but in ways both novel and natural. Finishing remains central to Angel’s Envy’s DNA, but Martin is curious to explore flavour and see what consumers respond to.

“A year from now or even a month from now we’re gonna know a hell of a lot more about the consumer appetite for this product and the consumer appetite for unfinished Angels Envy,” he added.

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