- 109.8 Proof
- Barrel No. 2012
When Angel's Envy announced their single barrel program, I was excited. I've always been a fan of Angel's Envy. Whether it's your jam or not, they have certainly got Port barrel finishing down. I guess that would be expected given it's their flagship product. But, this promised to be better, if for no other reason than the higher proof.
I could have researched this, I guess, but that's never really been my style. My understanding, though, is that these single barrels are not quite cask strength, but rather are being bottled between 105 and 115 proof. My guess is that's for two reasons--to not have these compete with the annual cask strength releases, and to allow them to price them at some point in between their standard offering and their limited offering. At $90 a bottle, that appears to be right where this landed.
The nose on this was great and everything I was expecting. I got black raspberry and currants. There was a bit of bright cherry, even with a touch of bitterness to it. It also had rich notes of milk chocolate and coffee that seemed to pair perfectly with the dark fruit notes, and it even had a little bit of cinnamon spice to it.
On my first pour, my immediate impression was that this was exactly what it claimed to be -- like regular Angel's Envy, just a bit amped up. It certainly carried more heat with it, but not nearly what I recalled from the Angel's Envy Cask Strength I had a few years back. It was full bodied, though, with a nice viscous mouthfeel to it, far more than the regular version.
Of course I got all the dark fruit notes that I expected, including the currants and cherry I got on the nose. It also had a bit of a fig note to it as well. Those fruit notes tended to lean towards a wine quality, with a light amount of tannins coming through. On later pours I noticed a jammy sort of blackberry note that I really liked. I say "jammy" but it never got to be too sweet.
The base bourbon provided a decent amount of caramel to sort of underscore everything, and there was a vanilla note throughout as well that played perfectly with all the dark fruit notes. It finished with a black pepper spice mixed with fresh black cherry, as though I picked them right off the tree. This peppery cherry note was really my favorite part of the whole experience. I never would have put those two notes together, but here they were and it was delicious.
I loved the finish, and that seemed to really stand out as something very different from and better than standard Angel's Envy. Otherwise this was very much a beefed up version of Angel's Envy. That said, I liked it for that reason, and while $90 is a little steep, I'd probably grab another one if I were to stumble upon one.
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