- DISTILLER: Heaven's Door Distillery
- MASH BILL: Undisclosed straight bourbon finished in Spanish sweet vermouth casks
- AGE: 18 years old
- YEAR: 2023
- PROOF: 114
- MSRP: $600
- BUY ONLINE: Heaven's Door Online Shop
SHARE WITH: Spendy people, Bob Dylan superfans, and friends who love a good Manhattan cocktail.
WORTH THE PRICE: 2023 was a big year for $500+ bourbons with lots of brands making their way further and further upmarket. Heaven's Door's Bootleg Series has been at the pricey end of their lineup for five years now, yet even they felt compelled to raise the going rate on this one. I personally would not spend $600 on this bottle or even half that, but for the well-heeled bourbon collector/Bob Dylan lover who has everything else, this one won't disappoint on the quality or uniqueness front.
BOTTLE, BAR OR BUST: Bar all the way. The Bootleg Series continues to be a showcase for some of the better finishing experiments from Heaven's Door, making it worth the splurge on an ounce at your favorite overstocked whiskey saloon or luxury hotel bar. I might recommend making this your only pour of the night or at least your first. It's a bourbon unlike most anything else on the shelves and requires, dare I say, deserves, some devoted attention.
OVERALL: As with the four Bootleg Series releases that came before this one, we don't get a lot of backstory on this whiskey outside of age and finishing cask. While I don't necessarily need to know the nuances of the specific vermouth and the duration of finishing time, at this price, I feel like drinkers might deserve that information. Regardless, this is a pretty unique whiskey. Vermouth cask finishes are a rarity (Dad's Hat Rye Vermouth Finish is the only other one that comes immediately to mind), and without even really researching the statement, I'm going to say this is the oldest out there. The goal here, of course, is not to make a large format Manhattan but to enhance and complement the underlying bourbon. And in that Heaven's Door has succeeded admirably.
On the nose, the winey characteristics of the vermouth aren't overpowering, but they lend a nice dryness and a layer of oxidized fruit notes that work exceedingly well with the bold oak and baking spice notes of the well-aged bourbon at its core. On the palate, that balance is even more apparent, delivering high tone red fruits and roasted walnuts to offset sweeter, richer praline and cinnamon sugar notes. Even at 114 proof, it's as approachable as any well-built cocktail from the first warming sip to the long, lingering finish accented by notes of lemon-kissed black tea, raw honey, and allspice.
Heaven’s Door is pleased to announce the highly-anticipated annual Bootleg Series release for 2023. Bootleg Volume V is an exceptional 18-year-old straight bourbon whiskey secondarily finished in Spanish vermouth rouge casks.
The Bootleg Series offers rare and unreleased whiskeys with special blends and barrel finishes that showcase Heaven’s Door’s innovative approach to whiskey making. Each bottle is adorned with one of Dylan's original paintings on a hand-crafted ceramic bottle and presented in a bespoke leather journal.
Nose: Rich, complex aroma with dark fruit notes, hints of allspice, and subtle vanilla undertones.
Palate: Delicate notes of caramel, honey, and vanilla, resulting in a clean, pleasant, and lingering finish that leaves a lasting impression.
Disclaimer: Bourbon & Banter received a sample of this product from the brand for review. We appreciate their willingness to allow us to review their products with no strings attached. Thank you.