Next month, Bob Dylan, along with lifelong fan and liquor entrepreneur Marc Bushala, will introduce Heaven’s Door, a collection of three whiskeys — a straight rye, a straight bourbon and a “double-barreled” whiskey. They are Dylan’s entry into the booming celebrity-branded spirits market, the latest career twist for an artist who has spent five decades confounding expectations.
Dylan is not simply licensing his name. He is a full partner in the business, Heaven’s Door Spirits, which Bushala said had raised $35 million from investors.
“We both wanted to create a collection of American whiskeys that, in their own way, tell a story,” Dylan said in a statement. “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.”
Heaven’s Door is meant to conjure an idea of Dylan that is part Renaissance man, part nighthawk. The label design is derived from his ironwork sculptures, with rural iconography — crows, wagon wheels — in silhouette. And in promotional photos lighted like classic movie stills, a tuxedo-clad Dylan, 76, gazes off in a dark cocktail lounge or lonely diner, glass in hand.
Like his recent albums of standards, they portray Dylan as an urbane but still gritty crooner — one who might well wind down his day with a glass of bourbon.
“Dylan has these qualities that actually work well for a whiskey,” Bushala said. “He has great authenticity. He is a quintessential American. He does things the way he wants to do them. I think these are good attributes for a super-premium whiskey as well.”