Review: Heaven’s Door lineup

Bob Dylan… bourbon… rye whiskey… all American icons. So when the musician/artist teamed up to release American whiskies, it was simply a match made in… well, you know.

The Heaven’s Door brand has several whiskies under its core lineup – a Tennessee straight bourbon whiskey, a straight rye finished in Vosges oak barrels, and a double barrel whiskey. Additionally, a limited edition 10-year-old Tennessee straight bourbon whiskey is available in its second (and final) release.

The design on the tall bottles feature Dylan’s welded iron gates from his Black Buffalo Ironworks studio. They beautifully showcase the color of the whiskey and look great on the shelf. The production of the whiskey inside was overseen by Heaven’s Door Master Blender Ryan Perry.

TENNESSEE BOURBON

This 7-year-old straight bourbon whiskey is made from a high-rye mash bill and has NOT undergone the Lincoln County Process of maple charcoal filtering. The bourbon is bottled at 90 proof and available for a suggested retail price of $49.99.

The nose features hints of caramel-covered popcorn, lemon-honey tea, vanilla, and a touch of oak. The smooth entry starts with hints of fresh honeybuns followed by a small burst of cinnamon. Aged grain and slight mineral notes appear in the mid-palate, followed by toasted oak. The medium-long finish leaves lingering hints of buttered rum and oak spice.

Heaven’s Door Tennessee bourbon is an enjoyable sipping whiskey. It’s buttery richness is complemented by the spiciness of the rye from its high-rye mash bill. Bottom line – this is good whiskey. 8.5/10

STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY

Heaven’s Door straight rye whiskey features a unique finishing process. The 7-year-old straight rye is finished in toasted (not charred) French oak cigar barrels from Vosges, France. Cigar barrels are named after their elongated shape. I don’t know of an American whiskey, or any other whisky for that matter, finished in this type of barrel.

Bottled at 92 proof and priced at $79.99, the rye is big and vibrant on the nose, with hints of toasted rye bread, ginger, lemon peel, and black peppercorn. With a little airtime, dried orchard fruit and an interesting floral note appear. Taste-wise, this rye splits its character between the rye grain and fruitiness. Like its bourbon sibling, this expression starts out gentle, allowing the spice to build. Caramel develops into candied ginger and black pepper. Stewed pear and apricot provide some sweetness and a slight herbal quality. Oak spice leads to a long finish.

Not too shabby. Though it’s slightly off-balance with its peppery nature, Heaven’s Door rye whiskey is very close to being a classic, well-structured rye whiskey. It’s a nice sipper, but makes for a wonderfully spicy Old Fashioned. 8/10

DOUBLE BARREL WHISKEY

A hybrid whiskey comprised of two Tennessee bourbons and a straight rye whiskey. All whiskies are aged separately for six years in new oak and freshly dumped bourbon barrels. They are then blended together and aged another year in new, charred American oak barrels. Before aging, the whiskey undergoes the Lincoln County Process, which filters the whiskey though sugar maple charcoal. The resulting 7-year-old whiskey is bottled at 100 proof and available for $49.99.

On the nose, Heaven’s Door Double Barrel whiskey features hints of toffee, sweet corn, and slight minerality. A bit of orange essence pops up in the background. The palate is very reminiscent of an Old Fashioned, with caramel and spice followed by orange peel and dried fruit. The back palate sees some herbs and more oak spice, which is slightly amplified thanks to the higher proof. The finish is long and a touch dry, with hints of spiced caramel followed by slightly astringent oak.

This blend is generally pleasant to sip thanks to its big flavors and higher proof. The combination of flavors works well together, though the oak astringency on the finish makes this a good whiskey, not a great one. Still worth checking out. 7.5/10

10-YEAR-OLD BOURBON

Image courtesy of Heaven’s Door

The limited edition Heaven’s Door 10-year-old Tennessee straight bourbon whiskey comes from only two barrel lots. The new make spirit undergoes the Lincoln County Process before aging in two completely different parts of a rack house.

After a decade of maturation, this bourbon is bottled at 100 proof. The packaging is more upscale than the brand’s core lineup, with a gold-plated adornment on the bottle and inclusion of a printing of Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” in a commemorative box.

How’s the whiskey inside?

Very nice, actually. The bold nose features hints of grilled pineapple, candied corn, flint, and a sprinkling of baking spices. Compared to the standard bourbon, this offering is a bit heavy-handed with tropical fruit. On the palate, the bourbon is creamy and full-bodied. Brown sugar and vanilla creme brûlée serve as a foundation rich with fruit cocktail. Cinnamon and allspice enter mid-palate, as does tobacco leaf and minerals. The long finish features bittersweet oak, dried fruit, and spice.

I’m glad to say that, for its $130 asking price, Heaven’s Door 10-year-old bourbon is rich, complex, and most important – delicious. To my palate, it’s the most pleasing of the four whiskies reviewed here. Highly recommended. 9/10

Heavensdoor.com

Thanks to Heaven’s Door for the samples. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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