This week we dive into some of the interesting new releases and strange bits of news from around the spirits world. First off, Heaven Hill is suing Bob Dylan’s whiskey brand, Heaven’s Door. And they weren’t wasting any time—the whiskeys just hit the market. In other news, a sophisticated whisky UK-based counterfeiter is on the run from the law. Lastly, we take a look at some new releases including The Balvenie DoubleWood 25 Year and Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon 2018.
Kick back, relax, pour yourself a glass, and check out the Distiller Friday Roundup for August 24th, 2018.
Heaven Hill Sues Bob Dylan’s Whiskey Brand
Last week in a suit filed in US District Court in the Western District of Kentucky, Heaven Hill claimed infringement of their trade name against Bob Dylan’s Heaven’s Door Spirits, a partnership between Dylan and Spirits Investments Partnership (SIP).
Photo Credit: John Shearer
Heaven Hill asserts that the names are confusingly similar, going so far as to call them “essentially identical.” The company believes consumers are likely to assume that Heaven’s Door products are associated with the Heaven Hill brand.
For their part, Heaven’s Door claims that the suit is “completely without merit” and that they intend to defend themselves and the brand.
The name Heaven’s Door comes from the 1965 Bob Dylan song entitled “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door”.
The brand has yet to respond to the lawsuit from Heaven Hill.
Whisky Counterfeiter Is On The Run
Back in January of last year, UK-based online site Whisky.Auction reported something strange to London police. A 41-year-old man had submitted bottles to be sold online through the platform that appeared to be extremely high quality frauds of expensive bottles of whisky. The man, apparently, had a large genuine collection, but was then filling hundreds of old bottles with cheaper whiskies.
He was arrested in February of 2017, released on bail, and was awaiting trial. That is, until he decided to skip bail and go on the run.
Keep an eye out, and if anyone tries to sell you a bottle of Laphroaig 1904 from the back of a van in a mall parking lot, be sure to call the police.
Back in 1982, Malt Master David Stewart began experimenting with cask finishing. It has since become an incredibly common practice in the Scotch whisky industry, but back then it was new ground. In 1983 The Balvenie released Balvenie Classic, mature Balvenie whisky that had been finished in oloroso sherry casks. In 1993 this release was re-branded as DoubleWood. 25 years later, The Balvenie is releasing DoubleWood 25 Year to mark the anniversary.
“When we launched the first DoubleWood in 1993, I would have never thought we would eventually be bottling a 25-year-old variant as we are today,” says The Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart MBE. “It’s a testament to the success and admiration of DoubleWood that we are releasing this more mature expression.”
The 25 Year was first matured in traditional American oak casks for 25 years, before being finished in Spanish oak ex-oloroso sherry casks. The Balvenie DoubleWood 25 Year Old is finished in sherry casks for only three months, as opposed to nine for the original 12 Year Old.
The Balvenie DoubleWood 25 Year is now available in very limited quantities across the United States at a suggested retail price of $599. It is bottled at 43% ABV and comes in a maroon and opaque box with an infinity symbol representing the marrying of sherry and American oaks.
The last time that Michter’s released its Toasted Barrel Bourbon was in 2015. The brand has struggled with stock shortages and hasn’t had enough whiskey to meet demand. The decision to release this year came after much deliberation, and no small amount of pressure from fans.
The Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon was first introduced in 2014 and is made by taking Michter’s US*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon and aging it for an additional period in a custom made barrel. The second barrel is built using 18-month air dried wood, then toasted, but not charred.
Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Bourbon 2018 is bottled at 91.4% proof with a suggested retail price of $60. Bottles will begin going out to stores in September of 2018.
Meet ‘Fistful of Bourbon‘: American Whiskey Made by Scots
We’re all familiar with William Grant & Sons—the powerhouse behind The Balvenie, Tullamore DEW, Glenfiddich, Monkey Shoulder, and Hendrick’s Gin.
But now, the brand is trying its hands at something a little different. Meet Fistful of Bourbon, a blend of five straight American bourbons aged at least two years.
“There’s an art and science to blending—and Fistful is a balance of both,” explains William Grant & Sons Whisk(e)y Blender, Kelsey McKechnie. “Our creative process combined the art of nosing along with our vision for the whiskey and the science of blending different bourbons to create a unique taste all its own. We’re excited to showcase William Grant & Sons’ long-time blending experience by bringing it to the American whiskey scene.”
Fistful of Bourbon is currently available only in Texas (with wider distribution to come), bottled at 45% ABV, with a suggested retail price of $24.99 for a 750ml bottle.
Whether you’re planning a trip to Texas to get your hands on a bottle of Fistful of Bourbon, or you’re digging in your couch to find the money for a bottle of The Balvenie DoubleWood 25 Year, make sure you let us know what you think of the whisk(e)y by creating a Taste in Distiller.
Also, save me some.