One rarely expects creativity from a celebrity branded spirit, but Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door whiskeys continue to surprise and delight.
This latest release from the operation involves an innovation I don’t think I’ve ever heard of previously: It starts with Heaven’s Door’s standard 10 year old low-rye bourbon (a sourced Tennessee bourbon), then finishes it in Redbreast 12-year-old Irish Whiskey casks for 15 months. It’s the first collaboration of this kind for both brands. Dylan himself designed the front label, which features a tiny redbreast robin perched atop the gate it depicts.
Heaven’s Door’s 10 year old bourbon is solid, but this Redbreast-finished version improves on it. A light note of leathery barrel char on the nose informs an aromatic profile that is otherwise laden with sweeter elements, including butterscotch, chocolate sauce, and a hint of licorice candy. It’s surprisingly less fruity than the unfinished 10 year old, given the inherent fruit character of Redbreast, with something of a pastry note dominating.
Things are more exciting on the palate, where a vibrant sweetness quickly opens the door to the fruit that feels elusive on the nose. Big notes of pineapple, orange cream, and mango are slathered in Irish whiskey-evocative honey, gently nutty and touched with toasted coconut. Caramelized banana notes linger for quite a while. Many shades of Heaven’s Door’s standard 10 year old bourbon continue through on this whiskey’s balanced and immersive finish — but they feel amped up here, if only just a touch. And just like its predecessors, all I can do is think of how this would fare as a wild ingredient in a tiki cocktail.