By Kenrick Thurston-Wilcox
Celebrity-endorsed spirits have become common, using the established star power to boost the status and sales of their products. With products like vodka and gin, it’s relatively easy for a distillery to roll out a product soon after conception, as they do not have to wait any time for the liquid to age. Whiskey is a bit different, requiring the company to source out it’s whiskey from other distilleries.
Bob Dylan first registered the brand Bootleg back in 2015, before partnering with Marc Bushala (co-founder of Angel’s Envy) and Ryan Perry, who suggested changing the name to Heaven’s Door. Keeping in mind that the company doesn’t plan to open their distillery until the autumn of this year, the whiskey is sourced and the back of the bottle states that the liquid is distilled in Indiana with a 95% rye mash bill (more then likely coming from MGP, the giant spirits producer responsible for much of the sourced whiskey currently out in the market). Aged for 10 years and bottled at 100 proof, this bottle marks the second release in their new Decade Series, which sees whiskies aged a minimum of 10 years. Each release of Heaven’s Door features metalwork art, created by Bob Dylan, which at the least makes for some interesting looking bottles.
Once poured the liquid is a nice copper-brown color. The nose is very grassy, with apples notes, some mint, caramel and eucalyptus. The whiskey is hot on the palate, rivaling some higher proof whiskies that I’ve enjoyed. There’s a good amount of oak from spending so long in the barrel, as well as mint and cloves. There’s some fruit here with apple, mango and orange with some floral qualities coming in the back. The finish is herbaceous with mint and eucalyptus notes, yet doesn’t stay around for very long.
Some water totally changed the experience, reducing the herbal qualities all around. The nose has some orange marmalade, more oak and caramel coming through. The palate is more fruity, juicy feeling, the oak changing to a cedar taste and lavender coming out. Overall with water, the whiskey starts to taste very reminiscent of other MGP made products, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. With other producers using MGP products in unique and interesting ways (High West’s A Midwinter Night’s Dram being a prime example), coming in at or below the same price as this release, one wonders how much the brand is riding on the coattails of Bob Dylan.
A bottle of this rye release will set your wallet back $99.