Editor’s Note: This whiskey was provided to us as a review sample by Heaven’s Door Spirits. This in no way, per our editorial policies, influenced the final outcome of this review. It should also be noted that by clicking the buy link towards the bottom of this review our site receives a small referral payment which helps to support, but not influence, our editorial and other costs.
The last Christmas I spent with my papa, I remember playing cards in the kitchen with my Amma while he had the hockey game muted and the stereo blasting. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 came on, and immediately my papa yelled, “Oh! This is my favorite song!” He rushed into the kitchen, clapping and loudly singing. He made me get up and dance with him. Suffice it to say, the card game paused until we couldn’t dance anymore.
My papa adored Bob Dylan, however, he hated whiskey. But here I am reviewing Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door Bootleg Volume 2 wishing I could share it with him. We probably would put on Bob Dylan’s retrospective album collections that this whiskey series is named for and enjoy ourselves.
The bottlings for both Volume 1 and Volume 2 are limited; the 15-year-old rum cask finish for Volume 2 made less than 3,000 bottles. As well, each porcelain bottle features a personal painting from Bob Dylan himself. The 2020 edition of the Bootleg Series features Sunset, Monument Valley. The special bottles come in ornate leather journal cases.
Most celebrity spirits aren’t worth the hype. However, Bob Dylan’s passion project, Heaven’s Door is different. The Bootleg Series is considered the most premium and rarest available. It took two years of experimentation with different barrel finishes for them to be satisfied for the Volume 2. So that says something!
Of course you can’t drink Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door Volume 2 without listening to the singer’s music. So if you don’t have a vinyl album to play, I have curated a specific Spotify playlist for you to listen to as you read the review below or sip on other Heaven’s Door whiskies.
Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series Vol II (image via Heaven’s Door Spirits)
Tasting Notes: Heaven’s Door Bootleg Series Volume 2
Vital Stats: 52.3% ABV, 104.6 proof. A straight bourbon finished in Jamaican pot still rum casks. The whiskey comes in a collector’s bottle, individually numbered, featuring the artwork of Bob Dylan and stored in a leather case. 750ml $499.99.
Appearance: Burnt umber
Nose: At the forefront, I first notice salt. It moves into a buttery Ritz cracker. Secondly, walnuts, raw almonds, and raw peanuts stand out like opening a mixed nut jar from Costco. In the middle, cocoa powder, ginger, and allspice linger. Towards the backend is faint nail polish remover. Toasted sandalwood, salt water taffy and caramel finish the nose.
Palate: The whiskey is sweet up front. While it is cask strength, it is only mildly hot. I also tend to find rum cask finishes hot compared to other finishes. A sour ferment comes in behind. Soft vanilla moves throughout the palate. The mouthfeel is slightly oily leaving a velvety feel. There are nutty overtones, which are reminiscent of peanut butter Ritz Bits. Lemon peel and apricot arrive near the finish as it warms on the backend. The finish is dry with oak, espresso bean, and maybe a hint of cocoa powder.
For the Heaven's Door Bootleg Series Volume 2, the whiskey itself is not worth the price tag, but buying the artwork of Bob Dylan on a custom porcelain bottle is. It is different from other rum cask finishes, and it doesn't drink like cask strength. I honestly thought I was crazy picking up all the nut notes. I enjoyed the complexity of it, and recommend anyone try it at least once.
Courtney Kristjana is a leading whiskey taster in the country. She left a career in Gerontology after an article on Heather Greene inspired her to follow her passion for whiskey. She is studying to become a Master of Scotch and someday hopes she is nominated for the Keepers of the...