- Heaven’s Door Spirits has announced an ‘exclusive whiskey collaboration’ with MGM Resorts.
- Heaven’s Door Spirits creates American Whiskeys in partnership with legendary singer Bob Dylan.
- The limited edition ‘777 Blend’ is available at Maryland’s MGM National Harbor along with the MGM Resorts Properties in Las Vegas including Bellagio, ARIA, MGM Grand, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage.
Here’s one from the ‘strange bedfellows’ department. MGM Resorts and Heaven’s Door Spirits have just announced an ‘exclusive whiskey collaboration’. More about that in a moment–a partnership between a spirits brand and a gaming company isn’t too strange I will admit. What if we got Bob Dylan involved? Not a problem. Heaven’s Door Spirits is a collaborative effort between the Spirits Investment Partnership and Bob Dylan on a collection of high end American Whiskeys. The press release announcing the deal indicates that Heaven’s Door Spirits is the ‘first and only consumer brand partnership’ in Bob Dylan’s career and I have no reason to doubt that.
Maybe the most interesting element of this story–the whiskeys made by Heaven’s Door are damn good. They’re not cheap–you’ll drop somewhere between $60 and $80 dollars a bottle depending on which of the company’s ‘portfolio of whiskeys’ you choose. I recommend the Straight Rye Whiskey that weighs in at 92 proof and is aged in oak cigar barrels from Vosges, France. I will admit that I’m a sucker for anything aged in barrels. They also make a Straight Bourbon Whiskey (92 proof) and a Double Barrel Whiskey (100 proof) along with various ‘limited time offerings’. The brand launched in 2018 and each bottle features one of Bob Dylan’s ‘unique ironwork sculptures’.
Dylan’s piece is called ‘Portal’, a sculptured iron archway standing 26 feet by 15 feet is at the west entrance of the property. Here’s some backstory on the piece:
Dylan’s welding work pays homage to America’s industrial core as well as his personal history. He grew up in Hibbing, Minnesota an “Iron Range” city home to one of the largest mines and iron ore deposits in the country, which supplied 90 percent of the nation’s iron for World War II. At 75, Dylan has witnessed the transition of the American economy and the subsequent hard times that befell towns like Hibbing during his lifetime. His art – from his lyrics – “The Times They Are a-Changin’” – to the discarded and often obsolete metal items he collects and welds – reflect a bygone era. As a folk artist, Bob Dylan captures the nation’s lament for the time before modern technology, when it was just the soil, the hand and the tool. Fittingly, each work of art contains a small metal buffalo, signed Black Buffalo Iron Works, followed by Dylan’s signature.
Dylan has sculpted iron pieces for family and friends for the past 30 years, but it wasn’t until 2013 – at London’s Halcyon Gallery in an exhibition called Mood Swings – that his metal artwork was first viewed publicly. His works feature found objects, vintage scrap metal and industrial artifacts collected from junkyards. Dylan collects everything from farm equipment, children’s toys, kitchen utensils and antique fire arms to chains, cogs, axes and wheels. He then welds these curiosities into thoughtfully juxtaposed masterpieces. Commissioned by MGM National Harbor to envision an open entrance, Dylan hand-selected unique objects and welded a stunning composition into a soaring archway. Guests walk through this incredible architectural artwork entitled “Portal” as they enter the new resort.
The ironwork sculptures are another interesting subplot I knew nothing about. The relationship between MGM Resorts and Bob Dylan actually predates the creation of Heaven’s Door Spirits. In September, 2016 MGM Resorts dropped a press release announcing that Dylan’s ‘first permanent public work of art’ would be featured at their MGM National Harbor hotel and casino near Washington, DC. It’s part of a permanent art collection called the MGM National Harbor Heritage Collection that consists of ‘commissioned and procured works by visionary local and international sculptors, photographers and mixed-media artists, including Bob Dylan, Margaret Boozer, Alice Aycock, Sam Gilliam, John Dreyfuss, John Safer, Liao Yibai and Chul Hyun Ahn, among others.’
Back to the whiskey collaboration–the new release is called the 777 Blend and here’s the scoop:
Crafted by the Heaven’s Door Master Blender and the MGM Resorts team, the 777 Blend consists of three 7-year-old straight whiskeys: Heaven’s Door’s previously unreleased wheated bourbon; a low rye bourbon; and a straight rye whiskey, with the final liquid showcasing the best of three different whiskey types. Presented in the brand’s signature glass bottle, the label art showcases “Portal,” the sculpted iron archway designed by Dylan exclusively for MGM National Harbor. The 26-foot by 15-foot custom piece adorns the west casino entrance as part of the resort’s Heritage Collection, an art program that showcases high-quality commissioned and procured works by visionary local and international sculptors, photographers and mixed-media artists.
Heaven’s Door Master Blender Ryan Perry had this to say about the new release:
“This partnership is a natural continuation and celebration of Bob Dylan’s ‘Portal’ gate at MGM National Harbor, and we’re honored to have collaborated with their team to bring this new offering to life. We’re bringing fans an exclusive new whiskey that’s a true representative of our brand’s dedication to celebrating music, whiskey and art and look forward to continuing crafting new liquids and forging unique partnerships that give them an experience you can’t find elsewhere.”
MGM Resorts Chief Hospitality Officer Ari Kastrati spoke on behalf of his company:
“As an industry leader in hospitality and entertainment, we always seek to deliver exceptional experiences. This collaboration provides our guests, as well as fans and followers of Heaven’s Door, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to taste a rare blend made with Mr. Dylan’s exceptional whiskey collection and it has been an absolute pleasure.”
No quote from Dylan in the press release but he did have this blurb on the Heaven’s Door website:
“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.”
The press release informs us that like most good whiskeys ‘the 777 Blend is best enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or with a splash of water’. So don’t mix it into some abomination of a cocktail, dirtbags. Here’s some of the characteristics of the 777 Blend:
- Age: 7 Years
- Proof: 93.6
- ABV: 46.8%
- Nose: Bing cherry, baked bread, and soft wheat
- Palate: Brown sugar, dried fruit, and allspice
- Finish: Toasted oak, nutmeg, pipe tobacco
If you want to try the 777 Blend the first thing you’ll have to do is move out of ‘Flyover Country’. You’ll only find it at the MGM National Harbor and the MGM Resorts Properties in Las Vegas including Bellagio, ARIA, MGM Grand, Park MGM, Mandalay Bay and The Mirage.