Don’t Miss a Standout Pair of K&L Exclusive Single Casks – Heaven’s Door Whiskey News

A K&L Exclusive Pair: Cask Strength, Single Barrels from Heaven’s Door
“These two barrels from Heaven’s Door are absolutely crushing the competition for me these days.” — David Othenin-Girard, K&L Spirits Buyer

In their search for the most unique bourbon barrels in the country for our K&L Exclusive program, our spirits team has often had to pivot away from Kentucky and look further afield. Thankfully, the hunt has been bountiful. Indiana’s renowned MGP distillery in Lawrenceburg is a key supplier for many of the most coveted labels in the domestic craft whiskey market, but access to aged single barrels has had to wait for time to take its course. Those stocks laid down by numerous craft bottlers and distillers six years ago are now coming to maturity and to market. Two of the most impressive MGP barrels we’ve found so far have been this pair from the hidden-gem label, Heaven’s Door. Despite both bottlings being from the same distillery and made in the same fashion, they show striking stylistic differences, with #230 falling in the more opulent end of the spectrum and #297 showing a pronounced earthy, spicy profile, and that’s just the start. With so many complex nuances between them, it’s almost impossible to compare them. As our own David Othenin-Girard says, “Either way, they’re both absolutely lovely, and I still can’t tell you which one is better!” Stocks are limited, however, so the obvious answer is load up on both and savor the distinctive character of some of the most thrilling and unique new whiskeys we’ve run across in a while.

It’s finally happening! All that MGP, which brands put down more than a half decade ago is starting to come of age. Of course, if this said Smoke Wagon on it, we’d probably sell the stuff out in a matter of minutes. But a new brand, without a record of selling cask strength barrels might be a bit of a sleeper. With the mature MGP stocks having been bottled years ago, this release marks the beginning of a new era. Our allocations from the legacy producers just down river are being cut left and right, so we’ve jumped head first into any good MGP cask we could find. And while 4 year old MGP can be delicious, there seems to be a BIG quality difference in just two years of additional aging. That’s why the prices nearly double on the brokers market between 4 and 6 year old stocks. Just 2 more years in the warehouse does make a huge difference. This lot of two barrels is bottled by Heaven’s Door – the brand founded by Folk Legend Bob Dylan. This barrel on April the 14th of 2015 and bottled on April 15th of 2021, just in time for its 6th birthday. Using the MGP 21% Rye Bourbon mashbill and an ISC #3 Medium toast, this barrel is a great reminder of why MGP should always be considered one of the country’s great distillers. These Heaven’s Door barrels are rich, complex and yet nicely balanced between the sweet toasted oak and bold barrel spice easily making this is one of the best new barrel programs on the market.

Heaven’s Door 6 Year Old K&L Exclusive Barrel #230 Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) ($59.99)

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 13, 2021

This absolutely gorgeous barrel of nicely aged Indiana bourbon is exactly the reason I’m not so sad that Kentucky is cutting all our allocations left and right. If we can continue to get barrels like this out of MGP at this excellent price, we can all leave the Kentucky cartel in the rearview! You’ve seen the detailsthis looks pretty good on paper, but it drinks even better! The color is chestnut. The nose is a bombastic explosion of sweet tarts, rose hip syrup, dark cherry, bitter orange peel, and toasted vanilla bean. With a bit of time in the glass more spice comes forward along with some herbssubtle dill, bright mint, cinnamon, and clove. It’s definitely off the big hot spices though. On the palate, the entry is very sweet with a downright buttery texture. That dark cherry continues, and now some chocolate, exotic wood, and a balancing spice appear in the back end. It goes down altogether too easily. Everyone wants me to pick a favorite between these two casks, but honestly they’re so different, despite being almost identical on paper. If you’re a Four Roses fan, you’ll probably like the pungent opulence of this cask. Maybe you Wild Turkey guys, looking for earthy spice, will prefer 297…You’re not going to be disappointed either way.

Heaven’s Door 6 Year Old K&L Exclusive Barrel #297 Indiana Straight Bourbon Whiskey (750ml) ($59.99)

David Othenin-Girard | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: July 13, 2021

These two barrels from Heaven’s Door are absolutely crushing the competition for me these days. It’s partly the additional age and easy availability (for now) that attracts me to them, but I also love tasting these next to each other to show just how different two nearly identical barrels can be. They’re obviously so similar on paper, but as soon as you drill down, you’ll notice that barrel 297 has a significantly higher proof by nearly 3%! Otherwise, they share almost everything except slightly different distillation and bottling dates. Let’s see how this barrel tastes. The color is chestnut. This one is a bit closed to start, offering hints of black pepper, toasted oak, and roasted herbs. With some air and maybe the tiniest drop of water, we start to see it build. Powerful aromas of fresh herbsdill and aniseand licorice root are coupled with a rich, earthy spice and an exotic peppery note. It’s all a bit brooding, and you might expect a hard edge on the palate, but it’s surprisingly friendly, still highlighting those darker earthy flavors. It doesn’t have the big cinnamon thing that you might expect but does have a lot more of that than the other barrel, which is very pretty and approachable. This one is more wood-driven and has that earthy warehouse thing with a distinct pepperiness that we sometimes get in Russell’s picks. Either way, they’re both absolutely lovely, and I still can’t tell you which one is better!

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