Classification: Whiskey Finished in New Toasted Oak Barrels
Company: Heaven's Door Spirits
Distillery: Sourced from an undisclosed distillery[ies]
Release Date: Ongoing
Mashbill: Undisclosed (Blend of three whiskeys)
Heaven's Door Spirits is a collaboration between legendary artist Bob Dylan and Spirits Investment Partnership ("SIP"). Bob Dylan's first and only brand partnership, Heaven's Door is aimed to be an ever-evolving portfolio of handcrafted whiskeys in collaboration with different master distillers and blenders from across the country. According to the company's press release, Marc Bushala, CEO of SIP said, "Rather than make a single whiskey or work with one master distiller, we thought it would be far more interesting to work with various master distillers and blenders to make whiskeys that would each have their own unique signature."
The company's initial trilogy of releases includes a Straight Tennessee Bourbon, a Double Barrel Whiskey, and a Straight Rye Whiskey finished in "Cigar" Barrels from Vosges, France. Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey consists of a combination of three different whiskeys that are blended together and finished in hand toasted new American oak barrels for an additional year. Heaven’s Door inaugural releases were created by Ryan Perry of Heaven’s Door Spirits and master distiller Jordan Via, formerly of the Breckenridge Distillery.
According to the company, each bottle of Heaven’s Door showcases Dylan’s distinctive welded iron gates that he created in his studio Black Buffalo Ironworks. The gates consist of found objects collected from farms and scrap yards across the U.S.
Rich aged oak immediately greets you. Taking a deep inhale reveals scents of light hints of baked cinnamon, vanilla, butterscotch, and peanuts lying in wait. The main focus though is the oakiness, which clearly dominates the nose and helps usher in a very nicely balanced opening to the sip.
Deep buttery brown sugar swirled with cinnamon jumps to the front. Behind it lies a layer of oak combined with a sweet vanilla, light cinnamon apple, and hints of cherries. The secondary barreling process is evident here as the sweeter flavors from the wood are pulled forward while still showcasing a heavy amount of rich oak. It’s not overly complex, instead focusing on a robust mouthfeel that is perfectly balanced in its delivery of sweet and woody flavors. It’s a combination that is extremely pleasing and hard to beat.
The finish focuses more on drier flavors compared to the sweeter ones found in the nose and palate, and opens with drier oak, leather, hints of peppercorn, and light vanilla. Drier leather and oak pull forward and linger, while flashes of peanuts dash in and out. It’s a pleasing flavor profile is a nice way to end the sip.
Celebrity endorsed products are usually approached with a sense of caution. Oftentimes the products are subpar, getting a huge boost and more attention than they deserve due to the name associated with it. Going into sampling Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey, I had those same hesitations. It’s safe to say that they bucked the trend with this one.
The three whiskeys being blended and aged in the secondary toasted oak barrel just work together. There is a clear oak influence that is strong in some parts of the sip, but never to the point where it is a distraction. Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey is a whiskey drinkers’ whiskey first and foremost, with an association with Bob Dylan as a fun ornamental aspect to it. The whiskey delivers an all around pleasing pour with a particularly strong palate that is sure to please most who try it.
More so, I like the concept that Heaven’s Door is going after in terms of how their whiskeys are crafted. While they’re not only sourcing their whiskeys, they’re also sourcing their master distillers. This allows the company a broad variation in what they deliver to the marketplace, with each new lineup of whiskeys having the potential to breathe new life into the brand. This level of flexibility and variation is refreshing to see and makes me excited about the possibilities yet to come.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey comes in at $50 and is priced slightly higher than other double barrel whiskeys such as Woodford Reserve Double Oak or Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig Toasted Barrel Finished Bourbon. However, it delivers a slightly richer overall sip than those that justifies its price.
What holds this back from being anything other than an average value is truly the lack of information associated with what is in the bottle. No information is readily available on what source whiskeys go into this product, their age, or their associated mashbills. All you’re told is that they’re mingled and aged for an additional year in the second toasted oak barrel. For the price I would expect more information to be provided to the consumer.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey should be held up as an example of how to do celebrity affiliated whiskeys: deliver a rich satisfying sip first, with a celebrity tie-in second.
Heaven’s Door Double Barrel Whiskey delivers one of those pleasing sips that most whiskey lovers are bound to like. While the lack of information provided on the actual whiskey in the bottle is disappointing, there is no denying that the end result helps overcome that shortfall. Its unique and intriguing bottle shape and artwork may draw you in, but the whiskey inside will keep you coming back for more. Is this whiskey knocking on heaven’s door of perfection? No. (Could this review have ended without at least one reference to the song?) However, if you’re a fan of double barreled whiskey, a lover of oaky flavors, or just a Bob Dylan fan, give this a go as I think you’ll walk away pleasantly surprised. I know I did.
Editor's Note: When this review was originally published, the MSRP was stated at its previous amount of $60. The review was updated on 8/28/2020 to reflect the now current MSRP of $50.