In life, some combinations just work. Whether it’s Jack and Victor from Still Game, fish and chips, salt and pepper, pork and apple sauce, or cranberry and turkey. While these double acts are all fantastic, another match made in heaven is whiskey and heavy metal music.
Yes, you heard that right, heavy metal music, specifically from Metallica, and American whiskey have finally been brought together in the form of Blackened American Whiskey. The results of a collaboration between master distiller Dave Pickerell (and later Rob Dietrich after his sad passing) and heavy metal rock band Metallica, we have one of the most interesting and unique whiskies you could ever imagine.
The whisky/whiskey industry here in the UK is currently thriving, and as we see more and more whiskies hitting the market, we’re seeing whiskey distillers becoming increasingly innovative in their distilling processes and their marketing. Blackened American Whiskey however, may be the most innovative and unique whiskey we’ve ever seen. And considering they have one of the greatest heavy metal bands of all time on board, you know boundaries are going to be pushed.
Here’s a look at Blackened American Whiskey and the story behind this unique whiskey.
Heavy Metal Legends
Unless you happen to be especially young (in which case why are you reading an article about whiskey, you’re far too young for that, stick with Prime) you’ll know exactly who Metallica are.
Metallica were THE heavy metal band during the 80s and much of the 90s, and are responsible for some of the most iconic heavy metal songs in the history of music. With tracks such as For Whom the Bell Tolls along with Seek and Destroy, Fade to Black, The Unforgiven, Master of Puppets, and so many more, they’re one of the most famous bands of all time.
Formed by James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich in Los Angeles, California, in 1981, the band has won nine Grammys, sold more than 125 million albums around the world, and is considered to be one of the most influential of all time.
A whiskey from a heavy metal band of course needs strong flavours and a unique backstory, and Blackened American Whiskey certainly has that.
Lately we’ve seen a surge in the amounts of celebrities getting into the brewing and spirits industry, and that trend only looks set to continue for the foreseeable future.
Here in the UK, we’ve seen Jeremey Clarkson’s Hawkstone Lager gradually roll out across the country, along with James May’s James Gin. Those, however, are on a much smaller scale compared to Conor McGregor’s Proper Twelve Irish whiskey, before he and his business partners sold their majority stake to Proximo Spirits for a reported $600 million.
Perhaps most lucrative of all however, is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson’s Teremana Tequila, which is believed to be valued at $3.5 billion!
Needless to say, as there is clearly money to be made from booze, more and more celebs are climbing on board and offering their unique takes on all manner of weird and wonderful booze. This is where Metallica enter the picture, as a result of Blackened American Whiskey.
The ultimate fusion of American whiskey and heavy metal music, Blackened American Whiskey is like nothing you’ll have ever seen or tasted before. Produced via a joint venture between the late master distiller Dave Pickerell and the band Metallica, this is described as being a blend between American bourbon whiskey and rye whiskey, from throughout the USA.
A Collaboration Between Bourbon and Rye
Metallica as musicians, are used to collaborating so collaboration is very much a theme here when looking at Blackened American Whiskey.
Described as being the ultimate marriage between bourbon and rye whiskey, the whiskies were expertly selected and blended by master blender Dave Pickerell, to give drinkers a truly unique and delicious taste experience.
The sweet and sticky notes of the bourbon pair perfectly with the aromatic, sharp, smoky, and savoury notes provided by the rye whiskey. The sweetness of the corn and the earthy notes of the rye help to create the ultimate umami sensation in your mouth.
Sadly, Dave passed away shortly after the release of Blackened American Whiskey, with Rob Dietrich being brough in to oversee Dave’s legacy. Rob was not only a master blender, he also had a music industry background, meaning that the whiskey’s story could just write itself.
Blackened American Whiskey is matured within a black brandy cask which gives it a unique apricot note which compliments the caramel, honey, and maple syrup notes of the pre-finished whiskey perfectly.
That’s not all however, because once the whiskey has been transferred into the black brandy casks, it then gets to enjoy the earth-shattering, head-banging music of Metallica. No, seriously, they makers do in fact play Metallica songs for the whiskey, via their proprietary Black Noise process, and the results may surprise you.
What the Heck is Black Noise?
Go on, admit it, how many of you rolled your eyes when you read about how the makers of the music play Metallica songs at high volume for barrels full of liquid. We must admit, we were sceptical, but there is some logic behind it.
People play classical music for growing plants, so why not for barrels full of liquid? Well, while the liquid inside the barrels may not be alive, the soundwaves from the earth-shaking Metallica songs helps with the finishing process.
Their ‘sonic-enhancement process’ means that the whiskey inside the casks is shaken via low-hertz soundwaves which causes it to act unusually inside the barrels. The soundwaves shock the liquid and agitate it, allowing it to penetrate deeper inside the brandy cask. This means more flavours and notes from the brandy.
As the whiskey penetrates deeper inside the casks it not only picks up the oaky, smoky, woody flavours and notes, and the fruity flavours from the brandy, it also picks up more notes from the wood itself.
Is playing Metallica songs to a barrel of whiskey a gimmick? You bet it is, but we love it.
Okay, so now that we know the backstory behind this unique tipple, it’s now time for us to learn about how it tastes. The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating, or in this case, drinking.
At 45% ABV, there is more burn to this whiskey than a bourbon alone, yet this stunning golden amber liquid doesn’t burn and slides down the throat far too easily.
Take your first sniff and on the nose you will immediately pick up strong notes of honey and caramelised sugar. This gives way to undertones of poached pears, vanilla pods, candied orange peel and ginger, and dates. There are also American oak notes.
On the palate, burnt caramel shines through instantly, coupled with honey, cinnamon, more pears, vanilla, and ginger. These gradually fade away to leave a toasted oak flavour, hints of black pepper, fresh thyme, red grapes, and apricot jam.
The finish is medium and leaves you with a distinct taste of honey, oak, maple syrup, vanilla cream, and brandy.
If you’re looking for more info on your favourite American whisky, or any other kind of whiskey/whisky for that matter, you should find everything you need here at GreatDrams.com and a whole lot more besides.
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