When it comes to whiskey, experimentation should be done with caution. There's a reason the rules are in place, but great things can come from coloring outside the lines. Distiller Lincoln Henderson of Louisville Distilling Company has a masterful touch, as evidenced in the release of Angels Envy Bourbon, for which he earned top marks on lists from Whisky Advocate to Wine Enthusiast. Henderson has now turned his eye to rye with the small-batch release of Angel's Envy Rye Whiskey, a spicy spirit with a mash made from 95% rye and 5% malted barley that has been reigned in with a finishing period in rum barrels.
Because of the strong flavor they impart, rum barrels aren't typically sourced for finishing, losing ground to subtler sherry, port and bourbon casks. For rye, the rum pairing makes perfect sense: rye's spice and dry finish are complemented by the spicy sweetness that is baked into the walls of the cask. While still somewhat volatile at 100 proof, Angel's Envy Rye manages to come off sweet with a pleasantly viscous texture.
Although clearly meant to be sipped, the spirit begs to be tried in an old-fashioned where its sharp notes could shine. Releasing May 2013 in 2,500 9-liter cases, Angel's Envy will have limited distribution and is expected to retail for around $70.
Image courtesy of Angel's Envy