Bob Dylan is Going Into the Whiskey Business

by VVN Music News Feed

On Monday (April 30), Spirits Investment Partnership ("SIP"), in partnership with Bob Dylan, announced the debut of Heaven's Door, a collection of super-premium craft American Whiskeys. Bob 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 Bob 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 explains, "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," says Bob Dylan. "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," says 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.
Each of these expressions has already been submitted to two of the most respected spirit competitions for early reviews—the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and The Ultimate Spirits Challenge. Those results are in:

San Francisco World Spirits Competition:
  • Tennessee Straight Bourbon: Gold Medal
  • Double Barrel Whiskey from Tennessee: Double Gold Medal
  • Straight Rye Whiskey: Gold Medal
Ultimate Spirits Challenge:
  • Tennessee Straight Bourbon: 96- Extraordinary, Ultimate Recommendation and recipient of the 2018 Chairman Trophy Finalist Award
  • Double Barrel Whiskey from Tennessee: 93- Excellent, Highly Recommended and tied for 1st Place Finish in American Whiskey category
  • Straight Rye Whiskey: 94- Excellent, Highly Recommended and recipient of the 2018 Chairman Trophy Finalist Award
In addition to these prestigious accolades, several of the most respected, industry-leading whiskey experts in the country have also tasted Heaven's Door pre-release, including one of America's foremost spirits authorities, cocktail historian & author, David Wondrich, as well as Heather Greene, spirits expert and author of Whiskey Distilled. Both have praised the brand's debut collection and are eager to see what the future holds.

"The Heaven's Door range manages to deliver distinct personalities across its three inaugural releases, something I've found many new whiskey producers struggle to achieve," says Heather Greene. "I look forward to using Heaven's Door to excite whiskey drinkers on how just a few ingredients can create such a wide array of flavors when put into qualified and skillful hands. There is clear intent, passion, and talent behind the making of this fun new brand."

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