The national whisky guardian for Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Angel Teta has a job that, some might say, is made for her.
Angel’s Envy is the creation of legendary Kentucky Bourbon master distiller Lincoln Henderson.
Henderson, who died in 2013, was the creator of myriad famous brands including Woodford Reserve, Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel whiskies and, his final project, Angel’s Envy Bourbon, a distillery founded in Louisville, Ky., in 2006.
The name Angel’s Envy is a nod to the “angels’ share,” the spirit lost through evaporation each year during barrel aging. As the story goes, “after tasting our finished whiskey, Lincoln joked that we’d finally gotten a better deal than the angels,” says the distillery team. “And so Angel’s Envy was born.”
Now available across Canada, Angel’s Envy Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels is the latest in the brand’s lineup, a lineup that includes a sherry finish, a rum finish, a madeira finish, and an ice cider finish among others.
As for Teta’s connection, her name is purely a coincidence — or is it? She grew up in the hospitality industry, and her parents owned a pizza place in California.
By the time she finished high school, she was slinging cocktails behind the bar, including a stint in Portland, Ore. Within a few years, she had won major awards and accolades for her mad mixology skills, including Tales of the Cocktail cocktail champion, Eater Portland’s bartender of the year, and Miss Speed Rack twice.
“I was better behind the bar than in school,” she admits with a laugh.
She entertained the idea of starting her own bar, but realized it would be a risky and expensive endeavour.
Then she heard about a job opening for a whiskey guardian with Angel’s Envy. “I didn’t really know what a whisky guardian was, but I thought it sounded interesting,” she says.
She signed on and, as her knowledge of the brand grew, so did her love for the spirit.
These days, she helps promote the Angel’s Envy brand around the world, including the recent Canadian launch.
And she is constantly finding new and creative ways to share her passion with others. One recent creation? A Southern Spritz, made with the Angel’s Envy finished in port barrels, Aperol, Prosecco and club soda. “It plays on the bright orange notes in the bourbon,” she says.
She’s been intrigued, too, by seeing how mixologists around the world use the bourbon in their own creations. In Vancouver, for instance, an espresso Manhattan was a big hit; in Germany, one mixologists used Amontillado sherry with the bourbon. And in Italy, bartenders lean toward Vermouth and bourbon in cocktails.
It’s all simply part of the fun, says Teta, who, after more than a decade of tasting, is far from being bored with this award-winning example of Kentucky’s legendary spirit.
“I love the complexity of our bourbon, tasting it along its lifespan in the glass,” says Teta, who now calls Kentucky home.
“And I really get excited about teaching other people about it, too.”