Last week, three major players in the whisk(e)y world announced some big new releases. Angel’s Envy Founder’s Day 10 Year Anniversary will make use of coveted Japanese Mizunara oak casks. Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey plays with finishes. And, Johnnie Walker unveiled a slate of expressions to celebrate the brand’s bicentennial.
Angel’s Envy Founder’s Day 10 Year Anniversary
Angel’s Envy just revealed their latest super-premium expression, a ‘Founder’s Day 10 Year Anniversary’. The limited release is a blend of four-year-old and nine-year-old juice that’s subsequently finished for two years in ultra-trendy, utlra-rare Japanese Mizunara oak casks.
“Ten years ago today (August 19th), my dad Lincoln and I filled our first port barrels with the bourbon that would eventually become Angel’s Envy,” said Wes Henderson, Angel’s Envy Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, in a release. “In celebration, we wanted to release something special to honor my dad’s incredible legacy, how far Angel’s Envy has come and our exciting future ahead.”
“We chose this release for the tenth anniversary because my dad, having taken on several consulting roles in Japan during his career, always had a deep appreciation for the country and its distilling community. This release, finished in Mizunara casks made from this rare, 200-year-old wood, felt fitting for such a special milestone for Angel’s Envy.”
As only 1200 bottles were made, NP did not receive a sample. So, here’s Angel’s Envy official tasting notes.
“On the nose, it offers notes of smoky wood, sandalwood, banana bread, cherry and ripe apples. On the palate, notes of vanilla, oak, rich chocolate, banana, cinnamon, apple and light black pepper are present, along with floral and fruity notes and a hint of coffee. The finish is slightly dry with hints of toasty oak and a lingering smokiness.”
The 48.9% ABV proof bottles tout a $350 MSRP (750 ml). Good luck finding one at that price though. Founder’s Day 10 Year Anniversary will be released only to distillery’s fan club, for sale at the distillery, and to “select Kentucky retailers”.
Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Elijah Craig is also getting in on the boutique barrel finish game.Their next expression, ‘Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey’ is simply mature EC Small Batch that underwent a second, 18 month aging in a toasted and flash charred barrel from Independent Stave Company.
“Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel pays homage to our namesake’s pioneering spirit as the first to char oak barrels through thoughtful innovation in the barrel-aging process,” said Max Stefka, Elijah Craig Senior Brand Manager, in a statement. “It was a pleasure partnering with Independent Stave Company to create a custom toast profile and char level designed to best complement fully matured Elijah Craig.
Clocking in at 47% ABV, Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel is slated for national release this September with an MSRP of $50 per 750ml bottle.
Johnnie Walker Birthday Blitz
Blended Scotch mainstay Johnnie Walker turned 200-years-old in 2020. Never shy about collectable expressions, the Diageo brand announced several new expressions to fete the bicentennial.
“Each of these exclusive releases bring a fresh perspective to our 200th anniversary story and are the perfect way to celebrate this huge moment for Johnnie Walker,” said Johnnie Walker Master Blender, Jim Beveridge, in a release. “It feels very apt to be announcing them this week to coincide with John Walker’s birthday.”
Johnnie Walker Blue Label Legendary Eight is a riff on the brand’s popular super-premium expression. The blend employs juice from distilleries–Oban, Blair Athol, Lagavulin, Teaninich, Brora, Cambus, Port Dundas and Carsebridge—that existed during Walker’s founding year. ABV is tagged at 43.8% and MSRP at $350 per 750ml.
John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend is the mid-range (MSRP $75) offering among the new fare. Beveridge’s statement offered some info about the 51% ABV expression.
“This rich and complex blend is inspired by the flavors found in the stock books from the Walker family’s grocery store in the 1860s and uses whiskies from distilleries which were operating at that time. The blend’s unique strength is similar to that of our Old Highland Whisky sold during that era. John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend is a sensorial journey featuring notes of sweet dried raisins and subtle spice and marzipan, which develop into hints of roasted nuts, icing sugar sweetness and gentle peat, with a soft pepper finish. It celebrates this historic moment in the Johnnie Walker story.”
John Walker & Sons Bicentenary Blend is the ultra, ultra-premium blend in the batch. The announcement featured the following description.
Master Blender Jim Beveridge and his team have drawn inspiration from John’s store and meticulously crafted a whisky with rich layers that re-imagines the exotic flavours that shaped his imagination. It is crafted with rare and exceptional whiskies, all aged for at least 28 years, including whiskies from long- closed “ghost” distilleries such as Pittyvaich, Cambus and Port Ellen.”
John Walker & Sons Bicentenary Blend boasts a 46% ABV and a $1000 MSRP.