Liquor Laboratory

Angel’s Envy vs Woodford Reserve Bourbon Differences (2024)

Angel's Envy vs Woodford Reserve 

Last Updated on March 1, 2024 by Lydia Martin

Welcome to another battle between two of the favorite bourbons— Angel’s Envy and Woodford Reserve.

If you’re torn between these brands, let’s make or break your decision by discovering the differences between Angel’s Envy vs Woodford Reserve.  

What are their positive points? Which can deliver a great drinking experience? And which is the best bourbon overall? Let’s find out, along with some interesting facts.  

Angel’s Envy & Woodford Reserve In-Depth Comparison 

Angel's Envy and Woodford Reserve Bottle with glasses and ice

Angel’s Envy delivers a distinct flavor profile, while Woodford Reserve is a truly good bourbon

Woodford Reserve embodies what an excellent bourbon should be– high in proof, the oak and vanilla notes are there, with a creamy, balanced body, and a lingering, warming finish. 

Angel’s Envy has an unusual sweetness that we can’t find in any other bourbon. Although it’s low-proof, we like its nice body and savory flavors that are very easy to drink.  

Although they share the same mash, and their age statements are undisclosed, we prefer the alcohol proof of Woodford Reserve.

But we also like the flavor profile and uniqueness of Angel’s Envy.  

Quick Comparison

DifferencesAngel’s EnvyWoodford Reserve
Average PriceAround $49.99Around $34.99 
Alcohol Proof86-proof90.4-proof
Age StatementNAS (rumored to be 4 to 6 years old)NAS (rumored to be 6 to 7 years old)
Mash Bills72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley72% corn, 18% rye, 10% malted barley
Still White oak barrels finished in Port wine barrelsNew charred oak barrels

Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon 

Close Up Shot of Woodford Reserve Straight Bourbon Bottle

Crafted at the Woodford Reserve Distillery, it undergoes aging in new charred oak barrels for around 6-7 years.

The spirit underwent heat cycling (cooling and heating air) to meticulously control aging.

Bottled at 90.4-proof (45.2% ABV), it delivers an exceptional bourbon whiskey experience, in which we found a good balance of flavors and a smooth finish.  

Nose Aromas of citrus, honey, mint, and vanilla
PalateFlavors of cinnamon, mint, ripe fruit, and slight oak sweetness
ColorBrilliant honey amber
FinishLong, smooth, and creamy 
How It’s ServedNeat 
Comparable ToBuffalo Trace, Knob Creek, and Maker’s Mark

Fun Facts 

  • Although it’s produced at the Woodford Reserve facility, it is owned by Brown Forman, who also owns Old Forester and Jack Daniel’s
  • Won the Double Gold and Gold medals at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
  • Won the Gold Medal at the Whiskies of the World Awards in 2014 and 2016.
  • The Woodford Reserve Distillery is now considered a National Historic Landmark in Kentucky, USA.   
  • Woodford Reserve uses corn locally grown in Shelby County, Kentucky, USA.   
  • In 2017, Woodford Reserve announced that it’d be the new sponsor of the Kentucky Derby [1]. 

Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon 

Bottle of Angel's Envy

Produced beyond the usual process of making bourbon, Angel’s Envy is aged 4-6 years and finished in Ruby port wine barrels at the Angel’s Envy Distillery of the Louisville Distilling Co.

After tasting our finished whiskey, Lincoln joked that we’d finally gotten a better deal than the angels. And so Angel’s Envy was born.”

— Angel’s Envy.

Bottled at 86-proof (43% ABV), it offers unique flavor nuances, which we find an improvement of a typical bourbon. 

Its profile and character are unusual and intriguing, suitable to anyone who wants to explore diverse flavors of whiskey.  

Nose Scent of chocolate, coconut, and vanilla
PalateFlavors of bread, caramel, maple syrup, and vanilla
ColorReddish gold
FinishLong, smooth, and sweet with oak and baking spice
How It’s ServedNeat
Comparable ToFour Roses Small-Batch and Buffalo Trace

Fun Facts 

  • Each of the grains used in the mash bill is sourced locally and non-GMO.
  • Its name, “Angel’s Envy,” is a term used by some distillers for aged distilled spirits. 
  • Every year, 5% of the spirit is lost during barrel aging, referred to as the “Angel’s Share.”
  • Angel’s Envy has planted more than 200,000 trees since 2014, aiming to create a more sustainable industry for bourbon in the future [2].
  • Angel’s Envy, a small-batch whiskey, is produced by the Louisville Distilling Co., a subsidiary company of Bacardi Limited.
  • Since Prohibition, the distillery of Angel’s Envy has been the first fully operating facility on Main Street.  

 Angel’s Envy vs Woodford Reserve Price

Woodford Reserve Bottles on a Store Shelf

As you can see, Woodford Reserve is cheaper than Angel’s Envy.

Although Angel’s Envy is on the pricier side, it’s well worth the price. The uniqueness of Angel’s Envy and the experience it provides make it a great value for money.  

Angel’s EnvyWoodford Reserve
Average Price$49.99$34.99

**Prices are based on the MSRP per 750ml, which may vary in stores. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is Angel’s Envy a better cocktail mixer than Woodford Reserve?

Both Angel’s Envy and Woodford are decent cocktail mixers. However, both are light, which other cocktail ingredients might overpower. You can use cheaper alternatives to use as a mixer. 

Which is a better everyday bourbon, Angel’s Envy or Woodford Reserve?

The better everyday bourbon is Woodford Reserve. It features a good profile and character you might be looking for in good spirits. 

Is Woodford Reserve top shelf?

Yes, Woodford Reserve is widely considered a top-shelf bourbon. It is known for its premium quality, meticulous craftsmanship, and rich flavor profile, making it a favorite among bourbon enthusiasts and connoisseurs. The brand has garnered a strong reputation for producing high-quality spirits, and its inclusion in the top-shelf category reflects the attention to detail in its production process and the exceptional taste it delivers.

Is Angel’s Envy bourbon good?

Indeed, Angel’s Envy bourbon is highly regarded for its exceptional quality and unique characteristics. This premium bourbon is praised for its smooth and well-balanced flavor profile, with subtle notes of vanilla, caramel, and a hint of sweetness imparted by its finishing process in port wine barrels. Many enthusiasts appreciate its distinctive taste and the craftsmanship involved in its production, making Angel’s Envy a respected and well-received choice among bourbon aficionados.

Is Woodford Reserve a good liquor?

Woodford Reserve is undoubtedly recognized as a top-tier liquor. Renowned for its commitment to craftsmanship and using the finest ingredients, Woodford Reserve consistently delivers a smooth and complex flavor profile. Its notes of dried fruit, vanilla, and spice contribute to a well-rounded drinking experience that appeals to both novice and seasoned bourbon drinkers alike. The brand’s dedication to quality has solidified Woodford Reserve as a go-to choice for those seeking a high-caliber and satisfying liquor.

Why is Woodford so expensive?

The higher price tag associated with Woodford Reserve can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the brand emphasizes quality at every stage of production, utilizing premium ingredients and employing meticulous craftsmanship. The extensive aging process in charred oak barrels further enhances the bourbon’s depth and complexity, contributing to its elevated price point. Additionally, Woodford Reserve’s commitment to small-batch production limits the quantity available, adding an exclusivity factor that can influence pricing. The brand’s reputation as a top-shelf bourbon also plays a role, as consumers are willing to invest in a product known for its consistent excellence. In essence, the combination of superior quality, limited production, and a strong brand reputation collectively contributes to the higher cost of Woodford Reserve, positioning it as a premium and sought-after spirit in the market.

Why is Woodford Reserve popular?

Woodford Reserve’s popularity stems from its unwavering commitment to quality, craftsmanship, and a rich heritage in bourbon production. The brand is celebrated for its meticulous small-batch approach, using the finest ingredients and a unique distillation process that results in a well-balanced and flavorful bourbon. Its consistent delivery of a premium drinking experience, characterized by notes of dried fruit, vanilla, and spice, has earned it a devoted following among both casual drinkers and bourbon connoisseurs.

Is Jack Daniel’s or Woodford Reserve better?

Comparing Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve is subjective, as each appeals to different taste preferences. Jack Daniel’s is a Tennessee whiskey with a smoother and milder flavor profile due to its charcoal mellowing process. On the other hand, Woodford Reserve, being a Kentucky bourbon, is known for its complexity, with richer and more robust notes. The choice between them depends on individual preferences, with some favoring the iconic smoothness of Jack Daniel’s, while others appreciate the depth and character found in Woodford Reserve.

Where does Woodford Reserve rank?

Woodford Reserve consistently ranks high among premium bourbons. Its small-batch production, attention to detail, and use of high-quality ingredients contribute to its reputation as a top-shelf spirit. In various blind tastings and industry competitions, Woodford Reserve often receives accolades for its exceptional flavor profile and craftsmanship. The brand’s commitment to tradition and innovation places it prominently in the upper echelons of the bourbon market, making it a favored choice among those seeking a sophisticated and enjoyable drinking experience.

Does Jack Daniels own Woodford Reserve?

No, Jack Daniel’s does not own Woodford Reserve. They are produced by different distilleries with distinct ownership. Woodford Reserve is crafted by the Woodford Reserve Distillery, which is part of the Brown-Forman Corporation, an independent and well-established spirits company. Jack Daniel’s, on the other hand, is produced by the Jack Daniel Distillery, owned by Brown-Forman as well. While both brands fall under the Brown-Forman umbrella, they are separate entities with their own unique production processes, recipes, and brand identities.

What rank is Angel’s Envy?

Angel’s Envy consistently ranks high among premium spirits, often earning praise for its unique characteristics and exceptional quality. Its distinct finishing process in port wine barrels imparts a nuanced flavor profile, contributing to its favorable standings in blind tastings, competitions, and industry reviews. While specific rankings can vary, Angel’s Envy is widely recognized as a top-tier bourbon, appreciated by enthusiasts for its craftsmanship and distinctive taste.

Why is Angel’s Envy so expensive?

The higher price point of Angel’s Envy can be attributed to several factors. Firstly, the brand employs a meticulous production process, including the use of high-quality ingredients and the distinctive finishing touch of aging in port wine barrels. This unique aging process contributes to the bourbon’s complex flavor profile, but it also requires additional time and resources. Limited production, as well as the brand’s commitment to small batches, adds an exclusivity factor that can influence pricing. Additionally, the overall craftsmanship and attention to detail in creating Angel’s Envy contribute to its premium positioning in the market, justifying the higher cost for those seeking a unique and refined bourbon experience.

Why is Angel’s Envy not a bourbon?

Contrary to common perception, Angel’s Envy is indeed a bourbon, albeit with a unique finishing process. To be classified as bourbon, a whiskey must meet certain legal requirements, including being made in the United States, comprising at least 51% corn in the grain bill, and aging in new charred oak barrels. Angel’s Envy adheres to these criteria but distinguishes itself through its additional aging in port wine barrels, imparting a distinctive flavor that sets it apart. While this finishing process deviates from traditional bourbon production, Angel’s Envy still meets the fundamental requirements to be categorized as a bourbon.

Is Woodford Reserve made by Jack Daniels?

No, Woodford Reserve is not made by Jack Daniels. They are distinct brands produced by separate distilleries with different ownership. Woodford Reserve is crafted by the Woodford Reserve Distillery, which is part of the Brown-Forman Corporation. Jack Daniels, on the other hand, is produced by the Jack Daniel Distillery, also owned by Brown-Forman. While both brands fall under the same corporate umbrella, they are independent entities with their own unique production processes, recipes, and brand identities.

Final Verdict 

Although Woodford Reserve is a good bourbon that everyone can surely enjoy, we prefer Angel’s Envy not just for its unique character but also for its mellow notes and savory flavors. 

While Woodford Reserve is cheaper, the price point of Angel’s Envy is reasonable; that’s well worth the money as it lets drinkers experience unique notes that you can’t easily find on other bourbons. 


  1. Woodford Reserve Extends Partnership with Churchill Downs as Presenting Sponsor of the Kentucky Derby
  2. The Future of Sustainable Bourbon
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