In 1981 in Los Angeles, California, the world of music would forever change. That year, drummer Lars Ulrich and vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield formed Metallica. Over three decades, Metallica pushed the boundaries of rock to become one of the most influential bands in history. Along with longtime lead guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, Metallica tours the world.
Seeking a new venture and fresh way to connect with fans, the band decided to create a whiskey. They’d bring the same attention to detail and passion for artistry they give their music, to the new spirit, but they needed the right partner. With a vision to go big and bold, to challenge the norms of whiskey aging, the band needed Dave Pickerell.
Dave Pickerell enjoyed a storied career every young spirits enthusiast dreams to emulate. Pickerell’s talent for tasting and blending propelled him into the master distiller world. As an unapologetic master of his craft, he played a pivotal role in the expansion of bourbon and rye in America. Pickerell’s gift for whiskey made him the only option for a collaboration with Metallica. He brought BLACKENED to life; sadly, he left the world far too soon.
Taking the reins where Dave Pickerell left off, Rob Dietrich serves as the guardian of Pickerell’s blend. Dietrich’s background in Rock and Roll, military mountaineering, and whiskey distilling brings the right blend of edge, discipline, and palate experience to shepherd Blackened into the next era. He stands behind the power of Black Noise Sonic Enhancement. Whiskeys treated to low frequency vibrations, he says, “have deeper flavor, deeper color, and richer oak notes because the whiskey penetrates deeper into the wood.” Dietrich is responsible for future innovations, so stay tuned.
Tapping into his vast network, Pickerell sourced favored lots of bourbon and rye. The goal: to blend the ultimate North American whiskey that would reflect the band’s palate and Pickerell’s vision. Pickerell experimented with the formula until settling on a precise ratio with an average age of 8 years. The finishing touch: black brandy casks delivering a zip of citrus and dark fruits notes. Master Distiller Rob Dietrich continues building the BLACKENED legacy while staying true to the recipe and unique blending approach Pickerell established.
Imagine if music could alter flavor. If the low hertz rumblings of Metallica’s music, played on a proprietary sound system, could influence the taste of whiskey. Pickerell explored this idea using Metallica’s Meyer Sound system during BLACKENED's finishing process. The theory behind sonic-enhancement: vibrations increase the liquid’s movement and interaction with the wood. The result: different music played to each barrel of Blackened created nuance in taste from one batch to the next.
Start with classic sweet corn flavor of bourbon. Meld it with the savory spice of rye. Layer dark fruits from black brandy casks. Each sip is perfectly balanced and smooth. That is the taste of BLACKENED.
How would the The Unforgiven, Fade to Black or Damage Inc. taste if music translated into whiskey? That was the question Metallica and Dave Pickerell sought to answer through Black Noise Sonic Enhancement. Each batch of BLACKENED whiskey received its own playlist during the finishing process. Metallica’s band members collaborated as well as created their own. Explore Blackened whiskey through the lens of song with selections by James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo.
Pick your favorite playlist. Find your favorite batch.