• A Review of Metallica’s NEW Whiskey … BLACKENED

The world has been patiently waiting for a Metallica concert for over a year now.  And we’ve been patiently waiting for several years for the highly anticipated Metallica whiskey…BLACKENED.  It’s hit the Sioux Falls market!  So we were anxious to slap Metallica’s “And Justice for All” album on the turntable and try a snort of BLACKENED.  

We’re usually cautious when a whiskey is finished in some sort of other spirited barrels, like sherry, rum, tequila, peanut butter, etc.  So when we noticed BLACKENED was finished in a black brandy cask, we hesitated…but then came to our senses when we thought about the cool dudes behind this project.  

BLACKENED is the creation of Master Distiller Dave Pickerell and the branding of the galaxy’s most important metal band, Metallica.  The genius of Pickerell is duly noted as the one-time Master Distiller of Maker’s Mark.  He also served time at Whistle Pig.  It’s easy to see why Metallica sought him out to partner on this project.  The Master of Puppets knew what they were doing when they hired the Master Distiller….Dave Pickerell.

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The packaging and presentation is so Metallica.  Simple, yet hard-hitting.  The bottle features a sound wave in black (of course) that is the actual sound wave of band members speaking the word “BLACKENED” in a recording studio.  We like that.  The artwork itself carries a rock n’ roll attitude that makes you want to pour another with your friends.  And really, isn’t that what a good whiskey is all about?

At 90 proof, it has plenty to offer for buzz-ability and flavor, without burning your tonsils.  We pick up a hint of oak and cherry on the nose.  Pleasant…  The first taste was surprising for its fullness. despite being a lighter color than we usually favor.  We detected apricot and the delightful sweetness of brown sugar.  Although any suggestions of black brandy were barely present.  

Overall, we agreed, this is a comfortable sipper.  A good entry-level whiskey, although, a bit pricy for a newcomer to the whiskey world, ringing in at $49.99.  Not to be wasted as a mixing whiskey, on things such as a highball.  So put the ginger ale and Coke back in the fridge.

Couldn’t find an age statement, other than a FINISHING statement, which was between 2 and 10 weeks spent in that black brandy cask.  But...this is where the fun begins: each batch has its own Metallica playlist selected and arranged by the band members themselves. These aging barrels have Metallica music played directly at them so the vibration in the wood interacts with the whiskey. 

We had batch 109 which was inspired by Robert Trujillo. This particular batch had 9 different Metallica songs to age to. Here's the guide to your batch number of Blackened.

Listening to Metallica’s “And Justice for All” double vinyl remastered album on the turntable whilst trying the BLACKENED whiskey was the best possible accompaniment we could’ve had.  Metallica purists will know the album contains the epic “One” and the inspiration for the whiskey, the song, “BLACKENED”.  It was their 4th studio album and their first album after the death of bassist Cliff Burton.  Yes, this is the Metallica album which was heavily criticized because the bass was hardly detectable, yet it is still a classic with complexity and hardness.  Other than getting up to flip the record over every 20 minutes, it was an effortless evening of pure enjoyment.  

Your ‘Bourbon on the Rock’ reviewers had the rare opportunity to witness the great Metallica when they came to The Denny in Sioux Falls in the fall of 2018.  One of us had a few too many at the Legion before the concert, so all he remembers from the show was the floating boxes, suspended from the ceiling of The Denny.  And, of course, some loud, beautiful music from the stage below and our 4 boys. 

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