Bob Dylan Releases New Whiskey Line, ‘Heaven’s Door’

Oh, the times they are a’changin’. When you think of Bob Dylan, his discography of American classics probably runs your head at warp speed. Twangy guitar pickin’ and ramblin’ lyrics aside, America’s iconic musician is now dabbling in another iconic American venture: whiskey. That’s right, the New York Times reported Bob Dylan is officially releasing a collection of three small-batch whiskeys next month under the brand Heaven’s Door.

Marc Bushala, 52, sold his bourbon brand Angel’s Envy and immediately saw that Bob Dylan was poking around the liquor industry. You might remember Angel’s Envy because they just replanted more trees than barrels they’ll use in the coming year, so thumbs up for sustainability there! Back to Mr. Dylan and Mr. Bushala’s new project, though. Forbes reports that the Heaven’s Door whiskey line will feature a straight rye finished in French Vosges oak cases, a seven-year-old straight bourbon, and a ‘double barrel’ whiskey.

This impressive lineup comes straight from the heart of Appalachia as Heaven’s Door is based in a deconsecrated church in Tennessee. In May, the brand will only be available in California, Florida, Illinois, New York, Tennessee, and Texas. The brand expects to roll out to more states over time, but initially, these are the lucky first-round imbibers. When it comes to American whiskeys, the bar is raised higher than ever as the whiskey market is booming across state lines, especially in Texas.

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According to the New York Times, Dylan first took out a trademark application for the name “bootleg whiskey”, which eventually became the basis for the luxury “Bootleg Series” that will be sold in ceramic bottles and decorated with Dylan’s own oil and watercolor paintings. The 25-year-old whiskey will be the first release in the series and will follow the initial launch next year. Dylan is officially a partner in Heaven’s Door Spirits, and even the bottle label is based on his ironwork sculptures.

You might be wondering how a new brand is able to scrape up the 25-year-old release set for 2019? That’s because rye whiskey is produced by Midwest Grain Products, as Forbes points out, and is sold to other brands, including Bulleit and George Dickel.

What led the iconic musician to whiskey? In a statement to the Times from Bob Dylan, he said, “We both wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their own way, tell a story. 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.” As for the confidence in Dylan’s palate, liquor entrepreneur Marc Bushala told the Times that “Dylan has these qualities that actually work well for a whiskey. He has great authenticity. He is a quintessential American.”

While we haven’t tried the whiskey just yet, we do bristle at the idea that Dylan pivoted his initial thought into a more high-end, super-premium whiskey brand. His art has always centered around a baseline American experience, one that feels as much pain and dismay as it does wonder and joy, and being able to afford a super-premium whiskey is simply not the baseline American experience. That being said, the bourbon and double barrel variety will retail at $49.99 and the rye will retail at $79.99.

Knowing that, is Dylan less of a liquor entrepreneur? It’s something we’ll only learn by tasting it, so let’s hope we have the opportunity soon.
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