Blackened American Whiskey, the sonic enhanced by music whiskey started by rock band Metallica and late master distiller Dave Pickerell, is these days managed for the musicians by Rob Dietrich, former master distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, under the moniker of Sweet Amber Distilling. Dietrich, a legend in the industry himself, has been joined by recently retired Angel’s Envy Co-Founder and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Member, Wes Henderson, in creation of the latest expression under this label.
The new Blackened x Wes Henderson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in White Port Wine Casks, according to those behind it, “is crafted from a base of six-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon and finished in White Port wine casks. Dietrich and Henderson both have extensive backgrounds in Port wine finishes and knew they wanted to use that expertise for this whiskey. After exploring several finishes, they jointly sourced and selected a unique white port wine as the cask finish, that balanced well with the depth of the bourbon. The resulting whiskey features notes of pear, raisin, cinnamon, and cigar box on the nose and hints of pear, honey, chipotle cinnamon, vanilla, barn hay, and walnut on the palate.
“During finishing, the whiskey undergoes a sonic enhancement process in which the finishing barrels are pummeled by the low hertz frequencies of Metallica’s music. The sound waves cause vibrations that shake the finishing barrels, causing greater interaction between the whiskey and the wood, thereby extracting more flavors and color. The expression is bottled at cask strength and is non-chill filtered.”
The whiskey is part of the brand’s “Masters of Whiskey Series,” the first release of which was a madeira-cask finished rye whiskey done in collaboration with Willett master distiller Drew Kulsveen.
“I love rye, so for the first release of the Masters of Whiskey Series, we created a cask-finished rye” explained Dietrich in a prepared statement. “It was only natural that our next release should be a bourbon. But like everything we do, we couldn’t create just any bourbon; it needed to be uniquely different. To do that, we partnered with one of the most renowned names in the industry: Wes Henderson. It was a true honor getting to work with Wes and learn how our palates aligned together in the process. His close friendship with Dave Pickerell sparked some of the concepts we designed for this whiskey.
“We’ve created something truly special that I hope whiskey enthusiasts will enjoy as much as we did making it.”
“I didn’t think I’d be working on another whiskey so soon after my retirement, but I couldn’t pass this up,” added Henderson. “As a close friend of Dave’s, I’ve been watching Blackened for a while now and have been impressed with Rob, the team, and with what they’ve created. It was an incredible experience getting to work closely with Rob, compare palates and use our respective skill sets in cask finishing to develop this flavor profile. We both have a very similar approach to whiskey – that it takes drinkers on a journey.”
The new Blackened x Wes Henderson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in White Port Wine Casks is available in limited quantities for a suggested retail price of around $100 per 750 ml bottle.
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...