The “Masters of Whiskey Series” was born from the core tenet of BLACKENED® American Whiskey and Metallica…collaboration. This series combines strengths of Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich and renowned whiskey makers to re-imagine craft whiskey and create more complex expressions. Each of these limited edition whiskies are finished to their own unique playlist which is blasted to the barrels using BLACKENED’s proprietary BLACK NOISE™ sonic enhancement process.
For the first release in the series, Rob Dietrich and Willett Distillery’s own Master Distiller, Drew Kulsveen, teamed up to create the BLACKENED X Willett Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Madeira Casks.
Sweet-simmered rhubarb and brown sugar butter, corn husk, vanilla bean, cigar box and ripe fig on the nose. A mouth-warming symmetry of buttery caramel & earthy mint on the palate, with a degree of raspberry sweetness from the Madeira cask-finish, balancing with the rustic notes of fresh cut hay from the high rye and rolling into a white pepper, cinnamon butter & walnut finish.
54.8% Alc./Vol. | 109.6 PROOF
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Like all great whiskies, this collaboration took years to come to fruition. BLACKENED’s founding partner and late Master Distiller Dave Pickerell was a longtime friend of the Kulsveen family. As part of the same small circle of elite Kentucky distillers, they bonded over their shared passion for whiskey making. In 2011, when the Kulsveens were working to bring the Willett Distillery back online, Dave pitched in some of his technical knowhow to assist. In early 2018, when BLACKENED was scouting locations for a brand video, the Kulsveens, as a testament to their friendship, graciously offered the distillery as the setting to capture footage of Dave in his element. It was then that Dave introduced the BLACKENED team to the Willett Distillery team and the friendship began. The following year, while Metallica was in Louisville for their WorldWired Tour, the family welcomed the band to Bardstown, giving them a first-hand look behind the curtain of the distillery, christening their new restaurant with a lavish meal, and bonding over fine cigars. The rest, as they say, is history.
BLACKENED x Willett Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey was curated with an in-house marriage of Kentucky high rye and low rye recipes that were hand-selected by both Rob and Drew from Willett Distillery’s Family Estate Selection. The high rye whiskey offers spicier, more robust notes like fresh-cut hay and walnut, while the low rye features a slightly sweeter, earthier taste, such as cinnamon, mint and honey. Drew and Rob naturally gravitated towards these two recipes for a balanced flavor, smoothed out by the whiskey’s collective age statements and cask finishing. The oldest whiskey features an age statement of 8 years, while the average age of the bottling is 6 ½ years.
The whiskies are then married together and finished in Madeira Casks for up to 14 weeks, imparting subtle fruity notes, honey overtones and hints of raspberry. During that time, 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.
The BLACKENED x Willett Kentucky Straight Rye playlist was selected by both Rob Dietrich and Drew Kulsveen and sequenced by Metallica cofounder and drummer, Lars Ulrich.
Selections of BLACKENED® Cask Strength batches are available through a number of retailers across the United States. Click the link below to see what other batches are available.