MI: We remember first seeing Rushmore and we loved the unique sensibility of this coming-of-age story, which featured malice and sweetness, irony and sincerity. We think Angel’s Envy has the same complexity. Tell us about your inspiration as a writer, filmmaker, and distiller.
WH: It is an honor to be confused with Wes Anderson, and I consider my style to be somewhat Auteur as well. I find inspiration on the golf course, and watching Family Guy reruns. For spiritual guidance, I ask myself, “What would Hunter S. Thompson do?”.
MI: How do you source your casks? From any port in a storm?
WH: Our port casks are sourced by a broker in Portugal. I am not permitted to divulge my source, as I believe he has child support issues. These casks are simply beautiful, and there is nothing more glorious than a free container of barrels arriving from Europe.
MI: Your father, Lincoln Henderson, was described as a titan of the Bourbon industry who tasted around half a million barrels of whiskey during his career. We’ve tried plenty of cask strength whiskies, but we’ve tasted just a handful of actual casks. Could you help us get to double digits?
WH: A new empty wood cask now costs nearly $200. I recommend a cheaper hobby, as they all pretty much taste the same….like wood.
MI: If a famous rap star started drinking your brand onstage during concerts and busted a rhyme like, I got my Angel’s Envy, I know it’s gonna really bend me, I drink it wearing Fendi, so you best not offend me, would you double the holiday bonus of your Director of Marketing?
WH: Nothing against rappers, but that is a HORRIBLE rhyme. I would forego the holiday bonus for the Marketing Director, and opt for the firing squad.
MI: The Angel’s Envy Cask Strength expression is a limited edition that was saddled with the title of “best spirit in the world” in the June 2013 edition of Spirit Journal. Faced with this kind of burden from an early age, what are you doing as a company to keep this child star from going the way of the Two Coreys?
WH: It was a huge honor to receive that recognition from Paul Pacult. The Wine Enthusiast gave our bourbon (the 86.6 proof edition) 98 points as well. While some may find this a moment where you drop the microphone and walk out the door, I find it to be intimidating, and these honors come with an inherent amount of pressure to raise the bar each time.
MI: Your father started Angel’s Envy with you and now your son works for the company as well. The birth lottery has apparently been particularly good to you and your son. Do you tempt fate and play any other kinds of lottery?
WH: In addition to being part of this crazy bourbon world, I am a state certified firefighter, pilot, and the father of six boys. Tempting fate? Nah.
MI: We think the idea of finishing rye whiskey in Caribbean rum casks is nothing short of brilliant. But with all this wonderful American whiskey getting the real spa treatment in foreign casks, do you find that the other Kentucky whiskies look down on them and talk about how they are putting on airs?
MI: Given that whisk(e)y prices are soaring, have you thought of introducing a cheaper expression called “Fallen Angel’s Envy”? You could also save printing costs—and pass those savings along to the consumer—by calling your normal expression “Angel’s NV.” We realize this last bit isn’t a question; this is Malt Impostor Double Jeopardy.
WH: I believe someone else has introduced a cheaper and less attractive alternative to Angel’s Envy….it’s called Devil’s Cut.
[And in case you missed it, catch Wes in the Grouchos with Stephen in a great GIF here.]