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Heavy Metal Band Metallica Jumps Into The American Whiskey Space

American heavy metal band Metallica recently found itself seeking new ways in which to connect with its rather significantly large fan base. As has been the case in recent times with other musicians, the idea of being involved with a whiskey label ultimately came to mind. Not wanting to do a half ass bottling, the group turned to master distiller Dave Pickerell for help, with the end result being a new release known as Blackened American Whiskey.

Blackened American Whiskey, according to those behind it, is drawn from an undisclosed mix of bourbons, ryes and whiskeys which were chosen and blended by Pickerell himself in conjunction with Metallica. The music group was upfront about their goal in creating a unique expression, stating on their website that “we want to show the world, and in this case especially the whiskey connoisseurs, how seriously we take this endeavor. We are obviously not just slapping a Metallica label on a pre-existing mediocre whiskey, but have been working on this for the last several years and overseeing every detail from the first idea to your first taste with careful precision. The ultimate goal is to make a whiskey that fits into the Metallica experience and sets itself apart from all the others.”

Blackened American Whiskey
Blackened American Whiskey (image via Metallica)

In keeping with this philosophy, two interesting undertakings happened with the Pickerell created blend. First off, the predominately bourbon forward mix was finished in black brandy barrels, which resulted in what’s described as “an added apricot note that plays perfectly alongside the honey and caramel tones of the pre-finished spirit.” On top of this the whiskey in barrel was influenced by low frequency sound waves generated by a special subwoofer created by Meyer Sound, a company Metallica collaborates with. It is said Pickerell had in mind using such sound for influencing whiskey, and the band’s range of music fell into where he was thinking it might work. Put another way by Metallica, this sonic enhancement known as “Black Noise”

is the process of using certain sound waves to affect the spirit inside the barrel. When applied properly, the sound waves actually cause movement of the barrel and the liquid inside. This movement increases the interaction between the liquid and the barrel, resulting in a deeper penetration of the spirit into the wood. Whiskey gains a great deal of character from the barrel, with flavors such as clove, cinnamon and nutmeg, as well as a variety of aromas like vanilla and caramel. Sonic-enhancement kicks these characteristics up a notch or two, depending on the sound waves being deployed.

Blackened American Whiskey, named after a song on the …And Justice For All album, is now making its way to retail across the U.S. for a price point of around $50. Official tasting notes from Metallica indicate a 90 prof whiskey with a spirit that “has a warm, honey-amber color. Burnt caramel, oak and honey are present on the nose, with moderate hints of spice upon first taste. The flavor builds with notes of honey, cinnamon, allspice, clove and mint, with unexpected apricot lingering underneath. Expect a long and smooth finish with slightly creamy hints of butterscotch taffy, maple and honey.”

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti

Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder of The Whiskey Wash, an award winning whiskey lifestyle website dedicated to informing and entertaining consumers about whisk(e)y on a global level. As a whisk(e)y journalist, expert and judge he has written about the subject extensively, been interviewed in various media outlets and provided tasting input on many whiskeys at competitions. He also maintains a large private collection of whiskey from which he continually educates his palate on this brown spirit type.

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