Metallica just released their first new album since 2016, 72 Seasons, on their own Blackened Recordings label. That’s perfect timing because their Blackened Whiskey brand is dropping a new cask-strength version of the original, a high-proof spirit to match their heavy metal music.
Metallica created Blackened Whiskey in 2018 with Dave Pickerell, the man who advised and consulted on other successful whiskey brands like WhistlePig and Hillrock Estate. Blackened is part of Sweet Amber Distilling Co., and since 2019 Rob Dietrich has been the master distiller and blender for the brand (Dietrich previously worked for Stranahan’s in Denver before taking on this role). Since his arrival, Blackened has released new expressions like Rye the Lightning which was subjected to the sounds of Ride the Lightning while it aged (more on this in a bit).
The new Blackened Cask Strength, which previously was a limited release specific to certain states, starts off with the same whiskey as the core expression—a blend of bourbon and rye that as been finished in brandy casks and pummeled with low-hertz sound waves. This process, trademarked by the brand as Black Noise, is meant to extract more flavor from the barrels by vibrating the liquid within and increasing interaction between wood and whiskey. If this sounds like a gimmick, well, that’s because it kind of is. That being said, just as temperature and humidity cause the expansion and contraction of a barrel and evaporation of the spirit within to infuse it with flavor and color, agitating the liquid within likely has at least some effect.
“I absolutely love cask-strength whiskey,” said Dietrich in a statement. “You are drinking whiskey in its purest form; unfiltered, uncut, and born straight from the barrel with one unapologetic purpose—to be savored.”
“When creating Blackened, we didn’t want to create just another whiskey,” added Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo. “Our goal was to create something unique and refined that would appeal to even the top notch whiskey experts.” And that comes from a guy who, according to a recent report, washes his hair with beer and Jägermeister to keep it lustrous.
Blackened Cask Strength will now be released in “volumes,” so the first release will differ from future ones in terms of proof and flavor. We have not had a chance to sample the whiskey, but the official tasting notes describe vanilla wafer, fig, and maple sugar on the nose; walnut, caramel, brown sugar, and ancho chile on the palate; followed by a cinnamon spice finish. Volume 1 is bottled at 122.85 proof, Volume 2 at 122.09 proof, and Volume 3 at 122.3 proof. There will be at least one more release, details TBD. You can order the Blackened Cask Strength Volume 1 now (SRP $70) from websites like Flaviar.