Angel's Envy Distillery Tour, Louisville, KY

On my last visit to Kentucky, I made a point to visit a few of the distilleries that had popped up in the last few years. It had been a few years since I had gone on a distillery tour (there are only so many distilleries that are worth touring) so I figured that they time had come to visit a couple newbies.

Upon entering the Angel’s Envy distillery, you are greeted at a desk, checked into your tour and invited to wander the gift shop until your tour starts. It really is a lovely gift shop with exposed brick, honey color wood, and black ironwork. There is a story about why the elevator in the back has the name Vermont American above it. Apparently parts of this building used to be a Vermont American plant.

Fun fact, my father worked for a Vermont American plant in northern Wisconsin making drill bits for many years before the plant was shut down and the jobs moved elsewhere.

The tour starts by taking the elevator under the Vermont American sign up to the cooking and fermentation area. The exposed brick of original factory is still a major design element, accented by the wood and metalwork from the gift shop.

The fermenters are closed fermenters, though they will open one up for you to look in.

If you turn around while they are describing the cooking and fermentation process, you get a nice look at their column still. More on that area later.

The mashbill for Angel’s Envy is (very coincidentally, wink wink) the same as Old Forester and Woodford Reserve. I guess it makes sense that it would be since Angel’s Envy was founded by the former Master Distiller of Old Forester, Lincoln Henderson. It was what he liked, knew, and reportedly the whiskey he bought to make the sourced version of Angel’s Envy that is currently for sale (aged stock from this distillery won’t be ready for a while).

After going through the cooking and fermentation area, we were taken to the still room. If you aren’t looking at the still, you will see a nice view of the Downtown Louisville skyline from the window.

The still area is dominated by the copper “Spirit Safe” style display. It was designed to be in the shape of an Angel’s Envy bottle and if all the computers go down, you could crack that thing open along the seam and stick a hydrometer in if need be.

After the still area, we made our way over to the barrel filling area. This is one of the tanks that hold the new make as it comes off the still. I liked the phrase stenciled on it. I feel like that would make a good tee shirt for me.

As you walk out of the barrel filling area, you will notice the barrels waiting to be filled. They do not have an aging area on site, so these will be trucked to another location to age after they are filled.

Here the tour steps a little out of order on the process. The bottling line is between the filling and dumping areas. It wasn’t being run very fast while I was there. Sounds like that might be a usual thing for them.

Of course, the thing that makes Angel’s Envy what it is, is the barrel finishing that the bourbon goes through before bottling. The aged bourbon is brought to the facility and put into barrels that had previously been used to age port wine. In this stage, they leave it for a relatively short period of time (think months not years) stacked on pallets. This step is done on site.

I love being able to see barrels being dumped. I’m not sure why but it always gives me a little thrill. We were lucky enough to catch them dumping some just as we left the barrel finishing area.

And of course the tour ended with a tasting. They only taste the standard Angel’s envy release. But they give you a generous pour (for a tour) before inviting you to put a message into a tube in their wall, buy a cocktail in the on-site cocktail lounge or wander around the tasting area.

The tasting area is dominated by a very large split log table. Two tables were carved from this one log that had been ripped down the center. It was an impressive sight. The tasting room followed the same honey wood and black metal work as the rest of the distillery. It was beautifully done.

I was super impressed with the Angel’s Envy tour. They were very transparent about both the sourced whiskey they are currently bottling as well as the stuff they are making now. I felt extremely welcome on the tour. It was entertaining and beautiful. All in all, I’d recommend this one.


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Corner Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon: Revisited

It's the first week of Bourbon Heritage Month so I thought I'd take a look back and revisit a couple of older brands. Tonight's is Corner Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon.

Though Corner Creek is older for a "modern" bourbon brand, it isn't a historic one. The brand has been around since 1988. In his 2004 book, Bourbon Straight, Chuck Cowdery wrote about it being a "4-grain" bourbon. Though he admitted it was likely a mix of Rye and Wheated styles. He liked it when he wrote the book.

I did not agree when I published my first review in 2012. 2,088 days ago to be exact, on December 19, 2012. It was only the 8th whiskey review I'd published on the site. But it might have been one of the earlier sets of tasting notes that I'd put down to paper since in that post I was publishing tasting notes from a year prior to that. At the time, I was not a fan. Though I was too timid in yet to say so and gave it a "meh" rating. 

At the time of my review, it was sold in a tinted green wine bottle. It was still sold that way when I purchased my first bottles sometime in 2010/2011. I'm not sure who the brand owner was at the time, but the label was submitted for approval by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers (Willett) out of Bardstown, KY. Not surprising since they did a nice bit of business sourcing whiskey and bottling it for brands other than their own. 

These days, the wine bottle is still around, but it is now clear. I'm still not sure who the brand owner is, but the most recent label approval was submitted by Kentucky Artisan Distillers out of Crestwood, KY. These are the same folks who house the Jefferson's Bourbon Visitor Center and, I assume, have a hand in that brand as well. The name has changed slightly in the intervening years as well. Until the most recent label approval, this was always known as Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon Whiskey. Now it is Corner Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Corner Creek Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Purchase Info: $29.99 for a 750 mL bottle at MGM Wine and Spirits, Burnsville, MN.

Details: 44% ABV. Non-age Stated. 

Nose: Fruity and aromatic. You can catch the fruitiness on this one as you pour it into the glass. Along with that are dried grass, mint, and caramel. 

Mouth: Slightly underripe peaches (just before they turn into a sweet juicy mess), caramel and nutmeg. 

Finish: Medium length and dry. Lingering fruit and nutmeg.

 IMAGE: A hand-drawn smiley face

Thoughts: I like this much more than I did 6 years ago. And I don't think that is as much of a reflection on the relative bourbons as it is on how my palate has changed while I've been writing here. I'm much more open to flavor profiles that are out of the ordinary than I was back then.

This is certainly a "change-of-pace" bourbon, but it isn't a bad one. In that respect, it reminds me of Jefferson's. Both are a little outside the typical bourbon flavor gamut. It is very fruity, almost reminding more of a fruit brandy than a bourbon. Overall, I like it. I'm upgrading this to a "Like" rating.


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Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Red Wheat Bourbon

While trying to figure out the DNS issue this site was having last night, I ended up doing a little research for an upcoming post. One of the unsung benefits of being a spirits writer is that if you plan to write about what you are drinking, then you can just say you are doing "research." And the greatest part of that is, it isn't even lying. 

So since I was busy doing IT work (and doing research on future posts) last night, I thought that it might be a good time to finally get around to the third of three bottles of Limestone Branch Experimental Bourbon that I bought back in May.

This one has a very similar name from the second bottle I reviewed. So much so that the reason that the reviews were written in the order they were was because I grabbed the wrong bottle when I did the second review. There is a single word of difference in the names. This one does not have the word Malted in it. Which of course means that this is a much more typical wheated bourbon mash then the malted wheat bourbon was.

Limestone Branch Red Wheat Bourbon is a 98 proof bourbon distilled from a mash of 60% White Corn, 28% Wheat, and 12% Malted Barley. It is 22 months old.

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Red Wheat Bourbon

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 375 mL bottle at Total Wine, Louisville, KY

Details: 49% ABV. Single Barrel. Barrel 59. Mash bill: 60% white corn, 28%  wheat, 12% malted barley. Barrel Entry ABV: 50.58%. Barrel Char level 3. Aged 22 months.

Nose: Caramel, wintergreen, cardamom, and peach.

Mouth: Caramel, brown sugar, mint, hints of baking spice.

Finish: Warm and of medium length. There is an immediate "young" note upon swallowing which is followed by peach and baking spice. 

 IMAGE: a hand-drawn neutral face

Thoughts: I have never had a peach note show up in a bourbon before, so for that, I find this really interesting. This shows a lot of promise, but sadly just isn't there yet. As they release older versions though, this will be one to keep an eye on. 


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Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Malted Red Wheat Bourbon

Have you ever been so busy that you just forget to eat? You wouldn't know it from looking at me, but it happens to me all the time. I'll get so into working on a project that all of a sudden I'll look up and it's four in the afternoon...and it's right about then that I realize that I am really hungry and end up eating a little too much to compensate. 

This is the probably the reason you wouldn't be able to tell that I frequently forget meals. 

Anyway, that's the sort of passion that I expect most craft distillers have. Not the gorging after unintentional fasting part, but the getting so into a project that you forget about everything else part. The distillers that I've met have all really loved what they are doing and loved the experimentation that they could do.

Which brings us to the second of three bottles of Limestone Branch's Experimental Collection that I picked up in May. This one is named Malted Red Wheat and is made up of a mash bill of 60% white corn, 28% malted wheat and 12% malted barley. 

Limestone Branch Experimental Collection Malted Red Wheat Bourbon

Purchase Info: $22.99 for a 375 mL bottle at Total Wine, Louisville, KY

Details: 47.5% ABV. Single Barrel. Barrel 114. Mash bill: 60% white corn, 28% malted wheat, 12% malted barley. Barrel Entry ABV: 50.63%. Barrel Char level 3. Aged 20 months.

Nose: Toffee, floral, gentle baking spices.

Mouth: Generic Sweetness, malted milk, cinnamon spice.

Finish: Youth shows up on the finish bringing cinnamon spice and dried grain notes along with it. 

 IMAGE: a hand-drawn face with a neutral expression

Thoughts: I have a feeling that when it grows up, I will like this much better than the first bottle in the series that I reviewed. For right now though, this one is quite a bit too young for my palate.


Hey folks, no plug for the store tonight. I'm taking off next week for a family vacation to North Carolina and would be unable to fulfill the orders anyway. That also means no posts next week. Wish me luck, it's a road trip with a 13 year old, a 7 year old, and a 4 year old...they may just drive me to have an extra bourbon when we stop for the night. 😉