There’s one word that lured famed whiskey legend and inaugural member of the Whiskey Hall of Fame, Lincoln Henderson, away from a deserved season of rest and back into the work world: bourbon. “I came out of retirement to create the world’s finest bourbon on my own terms and to just enjoy the art of making whiskey. Now, I have complete creative freedom to create bourbon my own way so I make decisions based on the specific taste profile I want to achieve,” he says.
Lincoln spent most of his career working on world-class brands such as Woodford Reserve and Jack Daniels. With more than 40 years of experience and a passion for fine-tuning bourbon, Lincoln partnered with his son, Wesley, and created the Louisville Distilling Company, with the elder Henderson serving as the Master Distiller.
Their flagship product, Angel’s Envy Bourbon, was unveiled in 2010 and received high accolades, being the highest-rated bourbon ever by Wine Enthusiast and obtaining 2013 Editor’s Top Pick Award Of Excellence by Beverage Industry News. With that type of initial success, Lincoln needed something revolutionary to follow it up.
That’s how Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey was born. It’s a natural progression for the beverage brand and another superb demonstration of Lincoln’s craft. The limited edition and soon-to-be-released whiskey is aged and conditioned according to Lincoln’s specific direction and intuition. He says, “I’m passionate about experimenting outside of conventional norms and producing unique whiskey steeped in tradition, but finished with a twist.”
Ever the experimenter, yet mindful of heritage, Lincoln chose 95 percent rye and 5 percent malted barley, and aged the whiskey for at least six years in American new-charred oak barrels. It was then finished in hand-selected Caribbean rum casks, which began as small French cognac barrels, for up to 18 months. Lincoln and his team sampled more than 100 different rums until they unanimously chose the winner. “We felt the rum we chose – which is from Barbados – had an extraordinary richness that perfectly marries with our rye whiskey,” he says.
Indeed, with a whiskey that’s described as a “mingling of raw, spicy and earthy rye notes paired with the sweetness imparted by rum finishing,” which “results in an ultra-smooth and accessible ultra-rye whiskey, even at 100 proof,” it’s hard to see this product as anything but a fresh creation.
The quality of this whiskey isn’t sacrificed in any way, from its production to its packaging, bottled in perfume-grade Italian glass, and ceramic stamped with the brand’s iconic wings. It’s hand-filled, corked and crated in Louisville, Kentucky. Due to the scarcity of the special barrels and the intricacies involved in the finishing process, Angel’s Envy will only release 2,500 9-liter cases of the rye whiskey. Available in eleven states in May.