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Angel’s Envy’s First Japanese Cask Finished Bourbon Is a Stunner

It took Angel’s Envy‘s Kyle Henderson 50 percent a 10 years of inquiring all around, doing work the telephones, and crossing his fingers to last but not least get his palms on just a handful of Japanese Mizunara oak casks. “It took a very good 5 years from the idea to truly finding ahold of the barrels and finding them to the U.S.,” he claims, ticking off the problems that make this coveted wood so difficult to get hold of. “It’s so managed, the expansion of the trees is so sluggish, it does not like to increase straight, it’s porous as heck so there’s a ton of problems with constructing [the barrels]…”

Working with Mizunara oak (when you can get it) offers a amount of problems, in other terms. So when Henderson, output supervisor for Angel’s Envy distillery, managed to land a few model new Mizunara oak barrels from a cooperage in Japan, he and his colleagues—two of whom occur to be his father, Angel’s Envy Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer Wes Henderson, and his brother, Guide Distillery Operator Andrew Henderson—knew they had to make anything particular with it.

The ensuing whiskey, correctly titled Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Concluded in Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks, is a mix of 4-yr-outdated and nine-yr-outdated bourbons finished for two years in Japanese oak right before bottling. On its confront, that might seem unremarkable, as cask finished whiskies—those that expend a very little time in barrels that formerly held other liquids—are incredibly substantially en vogue these days. But Mizunara oak barrels are no common casks, and Angel’s Envy is not in the behavior of turning out common whiskey.

Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in Japanese Mizunara Oak Casks
Courtesy image

A 10 years back Wes Henderson and his father Lincoln—an business legend by any telling—introduced their first batch of bourbon into utilised port barrels, a follow deemed not only unconventional but rather heretical at the time. Angel’s Envy was born, and port ending grew to become anything of a signature for the model even as it continued to force boundaries with other experimental cask regimens. This latest bottling is a tribute to both of those the legacy of Lincoln Henderson (who passed absent in 2013) but also to Angel’s Envy alone, which celebrates 10 years to the day because Wes and Lincoln loaded that first port barrel with bourbon on August 19 and established the tone for a 10 years of forward-imagining experimentation.

The use of Mizunara oak to complete this bourbon nods to a custom of doing what is difficult in the pursuit of very good whiskey. Mizunara is incredibly outdated-expansion oak—a one hundred fifty-yr-outdated tree would be deemed youthful for harvesting—that is extremely regulated by Japanese forestry authorities. As Kyle Henderson notes, it grows crooked and porous, producing it frustratingly difficult for coopers to craft into watertight barrels. As this sort of, Mizunara casks are unusual, costly, and notoriously difficult to appear by even for Japanese distillers. You’ll be even additional really hard pressed to find American distillers keeping Mizunara barrels in their warehouses.

Older wood also necessitates additional time to impart taste to a whiskey, even if the barrels have hardly ever held whiskey right before. Ending a whiskey in European oak casks that after held sherry or port wine requires just a few limited months. Mizunara necessitates substantially additional time and tolerance. Two years will make for a incredibly prolonged cask complete, but as the Hendersons’ perseverance in both of those procuring and deploying these barrels reveals, very good things definitely do appear to people who hold out.

Going into the bottle at 97.eight proof, their Mizunara cask finished bourbon will come out of the bottle with aromas of toasted sandalwood, cut purple apples, and a whiff of fruit-loaded, frosted breakfast pastry. On the palate appear oaky notes of vanilla and spice, but also caramelized banana, cinnamon, apple, that give way to a complete that’s peppery, lightly smoky, and pleasantly prolonged. While wealthy in system and rather decadent in taste, there’s a specified lightness and liveliness to it, closing the loop among source liquid and ending vessel.

Sadly, the shortage of very good Mizunara casks begets a shortage of Mizunara cask finished whiskies, anything that will make this minimal 10th-anniversary featuring from Angel’s Envy unique but also possibly as difficult to get hold of as the barrels on their own. Customers of the distillery’s five hundred Most important fan club can obtain a pre-sale of the one,two hundred obtainable bottles—which appear packaged in a crystal decanter—starting August 19 for $350. Soon after that, remaining bottles will be obtainable at the distillery and find merchants all around Kentucky.

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