September is Bourbon Heritage Month. Here in Kentucky, we take our local spirits -- and the fascinating industry and culture that have grown up around them -- quite seriously.
I was recently on a distillery tour and, as I listened to the guide describe the basics of bourbon-making -- the mash bill must be at least 51% corn, the product is stored in new, charred oak barrels for at least 4 years, etc., etc. -- I thought about how these facts are just something you learn by being a Kentuckian. Even if you don't choose to imbibe, you wind up knowing a little bit about bourbon.
If you do choose to imbibe (or if you're interested in job creation here in the Bluegrass State), then you have to admit that the past few years have been a fascinating time for Kentucky bourbon. New labels have been introduced at a dizzying pace, while some old favorites have reached a cultish following. An interesting label that has popped up in the past few years is Angel's Envy. This rye-based bourbon aged in ruby port casks is proud of doing things a little differently...
I love their cheeky ad campaigns, devoted to mixing it up a little.
And, even more, I love Toast the Trees, the sustainability campaign they're undertaking this month.
Every time you post a photo to Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the hashtag #AE4THETREES, Angel's Envy and The Arbor Day Foundation will plant a white oak tree to replace a tree used for a bourbon barrel. What an awesome way to honor the distilling tradition while making a difference!
The next time you're out for a drink, order Angel's Envy and take a selfie that sustains future generations. Cheers!