Thank you to @ra1nmannn for providing me a sample of this bottle for review as well as providing a picture of the bottle itself! Between this and the bottle of 2021 Angel's Envy Cask Strength you left here at the whiskey study, you've earned many an open bar tab at my house. You are the epitome of a good friend & truly understand what whiskey is all about. Cheers!
From the website:
In celebration of Founder’s Day on August 19th, the 10-year anniversary of the first port barrel filled by Angel’s Envy, we’re releasing our first expression in our Founder’s Collection.
On August 19th of 2010, Lincoln, Wes and Kyle Henderson filled their first ruby port wine barrel with Kentucky Straight Bourbon. 10 years later, we’re celebrating this Founder’s Day with a truly unique launch that would have made Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson proud. Wes and Kyle blended two Kentucky straight bourbons in a 50/50 ratio (four year and nine year) and finished them in hand-selected, charred, new Japanese Mizunara oak casks for an additional two years.
Company on Label: Louisville Spirits Group
Whiskey Type: Finished Bourbon
Mash Bill Percentages: Undisclosed blend of two bourbon mash bills (<51% corn)
Age: 4 years (a blend of 4 and 9 year bourbons, finished for another 2 years)
Further identification: The Mizunara oak casks that were used are from 200 year old Japanese wood
Nose: Enchantingly sweet aromas are coming off the glass before I can even get it up to my nose, I'm already quite intrigued. The depth of caramel aromas are incredible; it almost feels textured as it enters my nose. Floral sweetness greets me early as well. Maybe it's some mental imagery transcending into the aromas but I am envisioning Japanese cherry blossom trees in full bloom as I get into this. Strawberry sweetness is slightly sharp, but still enjoyable. There's definitely some oak-laden characteristics; some pepper from the American charred oak and hints of floral (instead of the normally spiced) sandalwood and a sweet honey that likely comes off the Mizunara staves. A soft chocolate nibbles at the edges of the glass. I still can't shake the wonderful floral tones that this has. I'm amazed by the uniqueness of this as well as its ability to feel comfortable and perceptively soft. Deeper inhales certainly show off some more heft, notably in a bright raisin. cranberry and plum. I'm led towards a creaminess that reminds me of a blended red wine. Soft vanilla parts early on a deep left nostril inhale and produces a fine funk that vaguely smells like a skunk that has passed by from a great distance. It's not offensive but certainly gets your attention. Everything on the nose so far has been incredibly soft and slightly damp, like inhaling the mist coming off a humidifier. Time for a sip!
Honeyed molasses comes in strong when I return my nose to the glass. A distinct, dark grape juice jumped out of the glass late. Woah, the pepper and funky, sugary vanilla came back in troves now as well. There is a nerdz candy sweetness followed by the deep funk that feels quite attached to the milk chocolate tones. If you hold out for experiencing one note in this glass, make it that fun funk note. You'll know when you find it! Late in the glass things have returned to the multifaceted caramel wave I found at the very beginning. The extra oak from the finishing reminds me of the smell of a busy woodworking shop. The empty glass smells of delicious orange blossom honey, vanilla, raisin, clay, and soft wood varietals.
Palate: My first sip is very fruit forward with a lot of the same raisin, cranberry and cherry coming across my tongue. There's a distinct funky spice that comes across like a plum-infused sandalwood. Where I thought I was experiencing something quite unique on the nose, the palate is even more unique to anything that I've tried before. I'm attempting to recollect what I thought of the Taconic Mizunara oak I tried in passing not too long ago, but I can't recall if there are any parallels to this whatsoever. Certainly some plum and cinnamon are quite coating near the back of my tongue. Ginger and cardamom are fun surprises and the linger reminds me of Spring florals like daisies and daffodils. Apricot jam and a pungency like papaya seeds come flying out on bigger sips and swishes. The mouth coating and linger is rich, sweet and slightly tingling mainly in the gums. My last sip is the most spiced of any of them with nutmeg, black pepper and turmeric leading the way then parting into a sweet honeysuckle finish. Plum and cinnamon lead a surprise charge back briefly before softly fading in waves like a falling leaf.
This was definitely a pour that captured my attention and forced me to really dig in to find the subtle nuances. Spending a good amount of time learning a pour of the nose is really important for me before I take a sip. One of two things happen after a sip: you become a bit nose-blind to the smells that don't specifically jive with the flavors of the palate, or the bigger aromas that do align to the palate become a bit overpowering. The end result of either is a missed opportunity in my eyes!
The way I intend reviews to read would be to start with all the nosing notes you find before you see that I've taken a sip. From there jump back and forth between the palate notes and the remaining nosing notes as I'm usually popping back and forth between the two. You might be able to pick up on my skipping rhythm once you know this fact!
This pour put me almost into a dream-like state with its softness. As I sit in on a snowy day here in New England, it brings me the promise of Spring's arrival. Even while being quite analytical and explorative, this whiskey completely relaxed me. The lower proof on it certainly doesn't scream big flavors, and that's exactly what this pour attempts to avoid; there is a softness in every corner of this glass. I suggest drinking this one in a quiet environment, free of distraction, and savored slowly.
Now... Anyone got a lead on a bottle? Cheers!