Angel’s Envy Bourbon & Chicago’s Marc Bushala

Chicago entrepreneur Marc Bushala has been on a wild ride, which has taken him from pioneer developer in Bucktown to pioneer developer in Warsaw,Poland. He has created businesses from music television channels to his latest venture of launching a tech incubator. After more than 15 years building businesses in Europe, Bushala returned to his hometown of Chicago in good spirits. Literally.  Marc joined forces with legendary Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson, and with an “All Star” team of marketing and spirits veterans, they launched “Angel’s Envy” Kentucky Straight Bourbon in 2011.

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One of Marc’s current projects is the hit Chicago restaurant & club, “Untitled.”

“Our goal was to introduce new ideas and unique taste profiles in the super-premium whiskey category. This is a daunting task, given that whiskey enthusiasts are generally purists and coloring outside the lines has not been warmly embraced,” notes Bushala. But Lincoln’s 40-year pedigree afforded Angel’s Envy a wider berth, and his “tinkering” paid off.

Lincoln’s brainchild was to put his 4-6 year old bourbon in port casks for up to 6 months, imparting his amber elixir with complex notes of caramel, vanilla and dried fruit as well as a super smooth finish on the pallet. The “juice” was exceptional – receiving 98 points by Wine Enthusiast and Five Stars by Spirit Journal.  And the timing of Angel’s Envy could not have been better. There has been a huge resurgence in the popularity of brown spirits over the last few years, and a global boom in demand for American whiskey.

“Classic cocktails are back,” says Bushala, “ driven by consumers’ interest in craft spirits, mixology and fueled in part by pop culture with television shows such as ‘Mad Men’, “Boardwalk Empire’ and the like.”

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Three generations of Hendersons at work. Lincoln, with Kyle and Wes.

 

Bushala and his partners in Chicago-based Angel’s Share Brands LLC raised $15M to launch Angel’s Envy in 2010.  Lincoln, his son Wes, and his grandson, Kyle, make Angel’s Envy in Louisville, Kentucky in small batches of approximately 10 barrels at a time.

In late May of this year, Angel’s Envy released its second core brand, a 6-year-old, 100-proof rye whiskey, finished in Caribbean rum casks. “It is like nothing else out there,” says Bushala. “The rum notes are unmistakable, but the rye comes shining through. Even at 100-proof, this is an exceptionally smooth and nuanced spirit.”

This little brand is starting to turn some very big heads. This week, The Spirit Journal rated Angel’s Envy’s limited Cask Strength release as the “Best Spirit in the World”, tying for first place with a Highland Park 25-year-old Orkney Islands Single Malt Whisky ($250).

“We could not be more excited by the enthusiasm for Angel’s Envy,” says Bushala.

Lincoln with Schaefer's Brian Flannery, Dan Madden and, non-Irish, Mick Ter Haar.
Lincoln with Schaefer’s Brian Flannery, Dan Madden and, non-Irish, Mick Ter Haar.

 

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