Sweet Amber Distilling, helmed by Master Distiller & Blender Rob Dietrich and backed by legendary band Metallica, is known for its Blackened American Whiskey that’s influenced by the brand’s proprietary Black Noise sonic enhancement process. Joining this offering now is the new, limited edition Rye The Lightning Kentucky Straight Rye Double Cask Finished Whiskey, said to be a play on words inspired by Metallica’s 6x platinum sophomore album, Ride the Lightning.
The new Rye The Lightning, according to those behind it, is crafted from Kentucky straight rye whiskeys aged between 5-8 years that are hand selected by Dietrich, formerly the master distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. The whiskeys are then vatted and transferred for finishing in Madeira wine and Caribbean rum casks for 2-14 weeks each.
It is during the rum cask finishing the Black Noise process is applied to this expression. The barrels are pummeled by the low hertz frequencies of Metallica’s music, and the sound waves visibly shake the finishing barrels, causing greater interaction between the whiskey and the wood, thereby extracting what’s said to be more flavors and colors.
Interestingly, the previously mentioned album is the playlist used during the Black Noise enhance. Dietrich and Metallica, it is said, didn’t want to just use the original version — they wanted to amp it up a notch. They chose a playlist consisting solely of the Ride The Lightning portion of Metallica’s June 2012 Orion Music + More festival setlist — the only time the band has ever played the album live in its entirety, albeit in reverse track order from the original album.
“The vibe from the crowd at the first Orion Music + More Festival was electrifying,” said Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo in a prepared statement, “and it’s really cool that we get to capture that energy in this release. We’ve used a few live songs in our playlists before, but never a full live playlist. So to be able to incorporate our fans in the Blackened journey and have them be a part of the whiskey-making process is really unique, and makes this a true collaboration.”
“I absolutely love the high spice and earthy notes in American rye whiskey!” added Dietrich. “I wanted to play with those flavor profiles by bringing a symmetry of subtle flavor elements by combining not just one, but two different cask finishes to the whiskey, creating a complex balance of sweet and savory.”
The packaging is emblazoned with a green soundwave to differentiate from the Blackened American Whiskey flagship and align with what’s described as the historical significance of using the color green to characterize rye whiskey bottles. Rye The Lightning is bottled at 90 proof and sold for an SRP of $69.99.
As a side note, fans interested in hearing this performance of Ride the Lightning from back to front can now enjoy a newly remixed version exclusively through blackened. A copy can be downloaded by scanning a QR code found at retail, following @blackenedamericanwhiskey on socials, or visiting blackenedwhiskey.com for more information.
The 10-track Black Noise playlist includes:
Ride The Lightning Intro
The Call of Ktulu
Escape (Live Debut)
Trapped Under Ice
Fade to Black
For Whom the Bell Tolls
Ride The Lightning
Fight Fire with Fire
Nino Kilgore-Marchetti is the founder and editor-in-chief 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...