Folk singer, rock star, poet, creative genius, Grammy winner, Nobel Prize recipient. Bob Dylan wears a lot of hats. Now he can add whiskey to his resume.
On April 30, Nashville-based Spirits Investment Partnership, in partnership with the writer of lyrics such as “They say “Drink and be merry, Take the bull by the horns.I keep seeing visions of you, a lily among thorns” is debuting Heaven’s Door, a collection of super-premium craft American Whiskeys. Dylan’s first and only brand partnership, Heaven’s Door will be an ever-evolving portfolio of handcrafted whiskeys in collaboration with different master distillers and blenders from across the country.
The genesis of Heaven’s Door came when spirits entrepreneur Marc Bushala, CEO of SIP, read that Dylan had registered a trademark application for “Bootleg Whiskey” in 2015. Bushala embarked on a mission to connect with the artist and explore ideas.
Through a mutual friend, a meeting between the two was arranged. Together, they developed the idea of creating a whiskey collection that would be the perfect blend of art and craft, incorporating Bob Dylan’s artwork in the packaging.
“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,” Bushala said, “By working with different whiskey artisans for each new expression, the portfolio would be more diverse and eclectic.”
“We both wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their own way, tell a story,” said Dylan in the news release. “I’ve been traveling for decades, and I’ve been able to try some of the best spirits that the world of whiskey has to offer. This is great whiskey. I am happy to be partnering with Marc and our entire team as we bring Heaven’s Door to the public.”
After years and countless iterations of blending and finishing, Heaven’s Door arrived at its first three expressions. The trilogy includes a Straight Tennessee Bourbon, a Double Barrel Whiskey, and a Straight Rye Whiskey finished in “Cigar” Barrels from Vosges, France.
“The whiskeys had to be unique, uncompromising in quality and center stage,” said Ryan Perry, who leads whiskey development for Heaven’s Door. “We weren’t restricted by deadlines, budget or a particular taste profile. Working with master distillers like Jordan Via enabled us to establish creative collaboration as a foundational principle of the brand.”
Heaven’s Door bottles feature Bob Dylan’s distinctive iron gates that he created in his studio, Black Buffalo Ironworks, from objects found on farms and scrapyards across America. Complementing the mainstay portfolio, next year Heaven’s Door will introduce The Bootleg Series, showcasing Bob Dylan’s paintings on proprietary bottles. The Bootleg Series will offer rare whiskey stocks and special blends, available in very limited quantities.
In 2019, Heaven’s Door will open its distillery and brand experience center in a 140-year-old church in Nashville. Dylan recorded four albums and made lasting impact on the Music City.
The inaugural Heaven’s Door expressions are described as:
• TENNESSEE STRAIGHT BOURBON – 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.
• DOUBLE BARREL WHISKEY FROM TENNESSEE – 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.
• STRAIGHT RYE WHISKEY – 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.
For more information: www.HeavensDoor.com . It will be available on shelves mid-May in Tennessee, Texas, California, Florida, New York and Illinois with a suggested retail price range between $49.99- $79.99.
As Dylan sang in his cover of the folk ballad Moonshiner:
Let me eat when I am hungry
Let me drink when I am dry
A dollar when I am hard up
Religion when I die
The whole world’s a bottle
And life’s but a dram
When the bottle gets empty
It sure ain’t worth a damn