Heaven's Door "Homesick Blues" Minnesota Bourbon Review & Tasting Notes

Heaven’s Door started in 2015 with Bob Dylan trademarking the term bootleg whiskey. Dylan wasn’t out to create a whiskey brand. But Marc Bashula, formerly of Angel’s Envy, and Ryan Perry, a whiskey developer for Diageo, were fascinated with Dylan’s trademark. They invited him to partner with them on their whiskey adventure. Dylan refused, but in 2018, he had a change of heart. Dylan was named co-creator, and the new brand came to life as a tribute to his 1973 hit Knocking on Heaven’s Door.


“I 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 whiskey spirits that the world has to offer. This is great whiskey.” – Bob Dylan


Homesick Blues Minnesota Bourbon Whiskey comes from the harsh climate of the namesake state’s “North Country,” which likely refers to the North Country National Scenic Trail, the longest national scenic trail in the United States. About 800 of the trail’s 4600 miles are in Minnesota.


Aside from being beautiful, what’s so special about North Country? Check this out: it experiences annual temperatures between 116°F in the summer and way down to -80°F come winter! That’s a whole lot of opportunity for whiskey to interact with wood.


While the distillery is undisclosed, it is located within 150 miles of Duluth, where Dylan was born. While limiting things north of his place of birth, I tried to search and could only come up with Far North Spirits, but that’s slightly outside the 150-mile limit.


Homesick Blues aged seven years in oak before being packaged at its cask strength of 61.35% ABV (122.7°). A 750ml bottle comes with a recommended price of $79.99. You can also order a bundle on the brand’s website that includes the whiskey and the Bob Dylan Center’s newest book, Bob Dylan: Mixing Up the Medicine.


Is this latest release worth the investment? We’ll #DrinkCurious to discover the answer, but before we get there, I must thank Heaven’s Door for providing me with a sample of Homesick Blues in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.


Appearance: I poured this Bourbon into my Glencairn glass to sip neat. The liquid was the color of caramel. The husky rim almost refused to shed any tears. Eventually, the weight caught up, and what was released was thick and slow.


Nose: I smelled candy corn, caramel, strawberry fruit roll-ups, and toasted oak. When the air hit my tongue, I found caramel.  


Palate: The mouthfeel was airy and fluffed its way across my palate. On the front were flavors of agave, toasted oak, and corn. The middle featured nutmeg and cinnamon, and on the back, I could swear that I tasted freshly baked oatmeal raisin cookies.     


Finish: The finish possessed what started as medium-long and, on the second sip, became a lumbering one. It began with more oatmeal cookies and morphed into cinnamon, nutmeg, leather, and dry oak.


Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Homesick Blues is an interesting Bourbon that will keep your attention. The longer I left the whiskey in my glass, the more emboldened the caramel and agave notes became. I can’t say that I’ve tasted a Bourbon quite like it. It is an exceedingly easy sipper. Homesick Blues is one of those dangerous whiskeys where the proof will sneak up and smack you with a 2x4. It's certainly worth picking up and earns my Bottle rating. Cheers!


My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It


Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you to do so responsibly.