The bourbon whiskey business is not as old as Scotch whisky but it certainly isn’t new. After all, bourbon has been distilled in Kentucky and other parts of the US since at least the 18th century, so it’s surprising and exciting when a distiller innovates in any meaningful way. When Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee and all around bourbon legend Lincoln Henderson set out to “port barrel finish” a Kentucky straight bourbon, it made headlines. For one, the definition of bourbon requires that the whiskey be aged exclusively in new, charred, American oak for at least 2 years (although it’s usually more than 4); so how can whiskey finished in ex-port barrels still be called a Kentucky straight bourbon? The trick is in the fact that the whiskey is aged in new, charred oak per the definition and once the aging process is completed, it’s moved over to ex-port barrels for “finishing.” This preserves the Kentucky straight bourbon status and traditional flavors while imparting a complexity of flavor and aromas seldom found in straight bourbons.
The name Angel’s Envy is a clever play on the “angel’s share,” the term used to describe the amount of spirit lost to evaporation during the aging process of a whisky. The amount lost varies but is said to be roughly 2% per year. This 2% of the distillate that is lost to the heavens has been dubbed the “angel’s share.” If you recall, Fuente Fuente Opus X has an Angel’s Share line extension, which we crowned the 2014 Cigar of the Year but we found that for this bourbon, the Casa Cuba was the perfect fit.
The Angel’s Envy is a deliciously unique Kentucky straight bourbon that combines the traditional bourbon notes of vanilla, toffee, and oak with hints of blueberry, citrus, and honey. The spirit is intense but incredibly elegant and fresh. The Casa Cuba is beautifully balanced with a core of cedar, pepper, and cinnamon complemented by nuts and a hint of cream. Together the spirit and the cigar are perfectly in sync with each other. The bourbon’s sweetness is made a bit more prominent by the cigar. On the flip side, the cigar takes on more of an almond cream finish when the bourbon is present. A perfectly complementary pairing.
Photography by: Andy Astencio
Location: The Mighty – Tavern and Eatery