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Few Spirits, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club Collaborate On Rum, Vermouth Barrel Finish Whiskey

Few Spirits is set to release “Motor Oil Whiskey,” a collaboration between Few’s founder and master distiller Paul Hletko, and rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

The collaboration whiskey is made to honor the 21st anniversary of the band’s debut album, B.R.M.C.

“I’ve been a fan of Black Rebel since the debut album came out,” Hletko said in a prepared statement from the distiller. “When we heard they were looking for a distillery to work with, you better believe we jumped at that chance.”

Motor Oil Whiskey
Few Spirits is set to release “Motor Oil Whiskey,” a collaboration between Few’s founder and master distiller Paul Hletko, and rockers Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. (image via Few Spirits)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club founding member and bassist Robert Levon Been said they’d always joke around about how someday they should make their own whiskey and call it Motor Oil.

He said their thinking was that Motor Oil would “be so painful nobody would be able to actually drink it. It would basically be jet fuel in a bottle, just pure pain. But then we met Paul Hletko and he said, ‘Yeah that’s cool, but that’s illegal.’ So after brooding for a bit, Paul took the next year to properly school us in how it’s really done, dialing in what somehow eventually became a legitimate, incredible whiskey blend, which is crazy, and we’re still mostly surprised we didn’t blow up the barn.”

The new whiskey features label art inspired by the band’s logo. Every bottle of Few Spirits Motor Oil Whiskey, suggested retail price of $60, is a blend of three whiskeys: Few Bourbon finished in rum barrels, Few Bourbon finished in vermouth barrels, and a mesquite-smoked wheat whiskey. It clocks in at 101 proof.

The distiller’s notes explain that this is a full-flavored and complex whiskey, grassy and sweet from the rum barrel; herbaceous and bitter with vegetal notes from the vermouth barrel; and heavy mesquite smoke that evokes back road pit stops at the roadside barbecue joints of West Texas.

The creative process for this whiskey spanned two years and the pandemic, involved sending samples to band members at points around the world, conducting blind tastings over video calls, tweaking flavor profiles based on band feedback, regrouping, and starting the process over and over again.

“Creating a new whiskey is a lot like working a song … what are you trying to say? What do you want it to feel like?” Hletko said. “I was picturing riding on a motorcycle through backcountry roads and Route 66, from one end of the ‘Mother Road’ in Chicago, to the California coast where the band began. But what does that sound like, and taste like, and what kind of feelings are evoked by that ride?”

Motor Oil is the latest in a series of collaborations between Few Spirits and celebrated music acts. In 2016, Hletko partnered with The Flaming Lips to create Brainville Rye Whiskey. And released in 2019, All Secrets Known was a limited-edition bourbon created with Alice In Chains.

All 1,800 bottles of Few’s Motor Oil Whiskey will be available online at

Levon Been said, lightheartedly, “This project went so far beyond anything we had in mind. I’m still pretty sure it can power your car, but it’s also a really great whiskey. So it’s like a win-win, and I defy anyone to prove that to be untrue. The tasting part. Don’t actually put this in your car. That’s on you, don’t do that.”

He noted that in addition to the launch of Motor Oil, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is set for a slate of summer U.S. shows, the first in St. Paul, MN, on July 8th.

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