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Angel's Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon WhiskeyAfter retiring from Brown-Forman, Henderson decided to go rogue and launched Angel's Envy Bourbon. "Angel's Envy is a lot of things," says Henderson. "It's my life's work. It's a whiskey of incomparable smoothness. It takes into account over 200 years of bourbon heritage and mingles it with over 400 years of port wine heritage." The name is derived from the term "angel's share"- the portion of whiskey that evaporates as it ages in wooden barrels. After tasting the bourbon, Henderson realized that the angel's might want a larger cut.
Angel's Envy Bourbon is made from a mash of 72% corn, 18% rye and 10% malted barley, all of which are non-genetically modified and locally-sourced. After the grains are harvested, they are fermented using an exclusive strain of yeast. "The major factor in making your whiskey different from anybody else's is your yeast," says Henderson. "Yeast are like your children. You have to raise these yeast and cultivate them to keep the same profile every time. If you don't, then your whiskey is going to go all over the place." Following fermentation, the bourbon is distilled before being aged in bespoke Bluegrass Cooperage barrels, which are made from air-dried white American oak that has been aged for one year. "When we had the barrels made for us, specifically, the toasting level was very important to us because we know what that does to the finished product."
Once the bourbon has aged a minimum of four years (and up to six years), the bourbon is double-barreled, or finished, for up to six months in 60-gallon casks that were formerly used to mature port. The casks, which are made of European oak, are hand-selected and imported directly from Portugal. "The barrels are true wine barrels — toasted, not charred," says Henderson. "They come to us shrink-wrapped and it looks like they've never been used, except that they have the wine that has soaked into the wood. We sniff them very carefully but don't alter them." After a six-month beauty rest in the port barrels, up to a dozen barrels are blended together. Then, the bourbon is non-chill filtered and brought to proof before being bottled.