Metallica's Blackened American Whiskey is a lot of things. It's fair to say that it was one of the firsts as far as band/spirits collabs go. I mean, these days, who doesn't have their own signature booze (or beer? Or coffee?) Blackened is also damned tasty; I had a bottle from the original batch back in 2018, and it didn't last very long — though I'm not sure if that says more about me than it does the hooch. But besides all that, it also has the distinction of being the only whiskey that receives a "proprietary Black Noise sonic-enhancement" during the casking process.
As it so happens, the newest edition to the Metallica family of whiskeys is called "Rye the Lightning," and it should come as a surprise to no one that part of the aforementioned "proprietary Black Noise sonic-enhancement" included playing Ride the Lightning for barrels and barrels of the Kentucky Straight Rye — and not just the classic 1984 release of Ride the Lightning, either. This bad batch was treated to a playlist featuring Metallica's performance of the album live—albeit backwards—at the first Orion Music + More festival in 2012.
"The vibe from the crowd at the first Orion Music + More festival was electrifying,” said bassist Robert Trujillo, “and it’s really cool that we get to capture that energy in this release…. 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.”
Now, if right now you're thinking this might be the most ludicrous thing you'll hear this week, I get that. It's a little kooky. It’s what my wife likes to call “woo-woo,” our universal catchphrase for all things new age-ish and weird. But before scoffing, bear in mind there is some science behind all of this. Or, at least something that sounds like science.
As explained by the folks at Blackened Whiskey: "It is during the rum cask finishing that the whiskey undergoes the proprietary Black Noise sonic enhancement process that uses the low hertz frequencies from Metallica’s music to vibrate the barrels, causing a greater interaction between the whiskey and the wood, forcing the liquid further into the barrel and extracting more flavor and color. This expression has notes of brown sugar, honey, mint and hay followed by spice and wood notes from the rum cask finish."
All kidding aside, these are the type of nuanced innovations that drive up the demand—and the price—for many signature spirits. You can purchase Rye the Lightning here. Drink safely, folks! And if you're looking to catch that Orion set without getting plastered, here you go!