The whiskey brand attached to Bob Dylan is a strange collection of sourced whiskeys. But what bonds the three bottles in the Heaven’s Door portfolio together, besides being unusual, is that they’re all fun to drink.
We’ll get to why in a moment, but first let’s take a moment to acknowledge that, while Dylan is deeply involved in this project, there’s also a team of veteran whiskey experts helping to make his dream (Dylan registered a whiskey brand trademark in 2015) a reality.
Whiskey and celebrity have a strained relationship these days, because you never know how invested the celebrity is in the brand. While we enjoy seeing some of our favorite actors and actresses “discover” whiskey, having someone pose next to a barrel with a glass isn’t really the same as owning it.
Dylan does. And he’s got people doing unusual things with his bottles.
Released late last month, all three of Dylan’s whiskeys are designed to be approachable for the initiatie, so the die-hard collectors aren’t going to find much here in terms of age and rarity. But we should say, while they may be low proof and lacking in a certain high-octane, quirky age-based weirdness, these products weren’t phoned in, either.
There are some cool things going on, all in a $50 to $80 price range. Here’s a breakdown of what we thought:
Heaven’s Door Tennessee Straight Bourbon, $50
A unique mash bill from Tennessee, the Heaven’s Door Tennessee Bourbon utilizes 30% “small grains” to complement the character imparted from spending almost seven years in new American Oak barrels.
It’s a lovely high corn, high sweetness recipe. This bourbon is smooth and not terribly old, but it’s the perfect balanced point where no one will dislike it. It has a bit of earthiness and creme brulee but overall this is the safest product in the bunch.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey, $50
Comprised of a distinctive blend of three different whiskeys, the Heaven’s Door Double Barrel finishing process utilizes hand toasted, new American Oak barrels for a secondary aging worthy of another year’s wait. A great, complex alternate for something like Mellow Corn.
This one is rich and deep, earthy, with more body than the bourbon. The extra barrel has given this one more tannins, more oak, and the resulting whiskey is slightly more earthy and dark with just the smallest, slightly smoky hint of mesquite. Cool and probably great for cocktails (that’s our plan).
Heaven’s Door Straight Rye, $80
Breaking with convention, Heaven’s Door finishes its Straight Rye Whiskey in toasted oak cigar barrels, harvested and air-dried in the low-lying mountain region of Vosges, France.
Our favorite of the bunch, this rye is minty, spicy, and earthy with tons of cinnamon and clove, and a little cedar spice. If you like high-rye ryes, it’s a good, well-rounded option. If they can get beyond the price, bartenders might love this one. And with a cube, it’s a solid nightcap.