Blackened American Whiskey
Blackened is a brandy barrel-finished American whiskey produced by Sweet Amber Distilling Company, a collaboration between the late master distiller Dave Pickerell and Metallica that was created in 2018. In 2019, former Stranahan’s master distiller Rob Dietrich came from Colorado to join Blackened and is now responsible for sourcing casks, blending and managing the finishing process.
Made from ~2/3 bourbons and ~1/3 rye whiskies from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee and aged in ex-Spanish brandy barrels. While aging, those barrels go through "sonication", where the lowend of music played in the rickhouse vibrates the barrels, increasing the amount of whiskey-to-wood contact. This technique is not new - Hudson did it over a decade ago - but Dave Pickerell really studied it and brought legitamacy to the process. With the unique barrel finishing, the lack of clear provenance of the blend of whiskies, and blasting tunes in the rickhouse, it's hard to say what's responsible for the delicious that comes out in the glass. Lots of dry fruitiness and baking spices - pear, apricot, cinnamon and nutmeg all come spilling out - while the 90 proof adds to the brightness. Worth taking a plunge into even if you're not a Metallica fan.