Angel’s Envy Tasting with Wes Henderson

Upon invitation we knew that the event with Angel’s Envy was going to be great. First of all, Angel’s Envy is one of our favorite top-shelf whiskies. Second, the intimate dinner for a group of Los Angeles tastemakers was going to be held at the Los Angeles Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. We’ve met friends and clients for drinks at this hotel many times, and have even hosted an event of our own in one of their big beautiful suites. It’s a classy establishment run by an outstanding staff. We gathered in a private room, situated just off the lobby. Part lounge, part dining room, the space is cozy enough to make you feel relaxed but big enough to keep you from feeling trapped. Couches and coffee tables are clustered on one side the room and a long dinner table is situated in the center.

Each spot at our table was set with personalized place settings and organized with tasting glasses and little leather notebooks. As we took our seats, servers presented delicious food prepared by the hotel’s talented chef. We were all eager to sip some of the good stuff, and to be educated about the brand by the other star of the night, Master Distiller Wes Henderson.

But this was not your traditional, run-of-the-mill tasting. Once we’d had a chance to enjoy each blend and take a few notes, we were divided into groups and asked to create and name our very own blend. Beakers, test tubes, and funnels were brought out. Had lab coats and goggles been passed around, no one would have blinked an eye. The mixing assignment was serious business.

Each team had twenty minutes to come up with a tasty blend and a fitting name that would then be judged by Wes himself. No pressure. The timer was started and we set off to find the right balance from each bottle, all pulled from different barrels. 20% of this, 30% of that, 50% of the other. Our team built something amazing and handed it over to the chief examiner.

Although our team did not win, we definitely enjoyed geeking out on the science. If only I could wake up tomorrow as my seventeen-year-old self starting college, I would completely change my major from theatre to chemistry and apprentice for the Henderson family to become a master distiller. It sounds so easy like that, right?

The evening ended with a taste of something amazing. Even Mr. Henderson himself was giddy introducing our “dessert.” We were each served a couple ounces of Angel’s Envy Rye, which is seriously like liquid candy. Don’t get me wrong…it’s no liqueur and there’s no sugar added. It just has a natural sweetness derived from the mashbill, the aging, the elements, and some magic. I cannot recommend this rye enough and suggest that you start hunting down a bottle now to serve after Christmas dinner. Or, book yourself a little vacation at the hotel and experience your own Angel’s Envy tasting at the bar. No beakers or test tubes needed.

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