The Story: According to the Blackened website, “Each batch of BLACKENED is enhanced by its own Metallica playlist, selected and arranged by the band members themselves.” While the blend of whiskies is being finished in black brandy casks, the whiskey is “pummeled by sound.” In other words, Metallica is played really loudly at the whiskey-filled barrels. The idea is that the sound vibrations will enhance the interactions between the whiskey and the barrel wood. This may sound familiar, as Copper & Kings brandy has a similar shtick.
Each batch has a slightly different playlist curated by a one of the band members. Batch 089 was selected by bassist Robert Trujillo and consists of the following 8 Metallica tracks, which rather nicely spans the band’s catalog:
- DAMAGE INC.
- I DISAPPEAR
- HOLIER THAN THOU
- THE CALL OF KTULU
- …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL
- MY APOCALYPSE
- SAD BUT TRUE
Name: Blackened American Whiskey
Bottler: Sweet Amber Distilling Co, Shoreham, VT
Type of Producer: Non-distiller Producer
Year Established: 2018
Bottling Proof: 90
Mashbill: Unknown (A blend of ryes and bourbons finished in black brandy casks.)
Release Date: Late 2018 (Ongoing)
Blackened American Whiskey – Batch 089
Nose: Dominant rye upfront; some light pear; a hint of cherry; a little grainy
Palate: surprisingly syrupy mouthfeel; spicy rye all over at first and settling mid palate; spice is tempered by a touch of vanilla
Finish: appropriately medium in length, rye spice throughout
Overall: This is not a sweet whiskey; caramel and baking spice notes are absent and the vanilla is quite light. Of course, it probably shouldn’t be sweet given it’s developed with a heavy metal band and named Blackened. At first I found the viscosity rather surprising, but soon realized it works as a effective alternative to those sweet notes in order to balance out the rye spice and prevent it from becoming harsh or one-dimensional. The rye dominance isn’t a surprise either, given that was “re-mastered” by Dave Pickerell and bottled in Shoreham, VT – home to another distillery known for its rye. Some might find the story behind the whiskey is a bit gimmicky and, ahem, the ultimate in vanity, but I thought the whiskey was a solid everyday pour for anyone who is a fan of rye spice and/or a Metallica fan. Of course, whiskey preferences are always in the Eye of the Beholder.
I rate on a 5 point scale on which 5 is perfect, 1 is something I hope to never ingest again, and 3 is a solid daily drinker with no obvious flaws.