METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo spoke to Wine Enthusiast about the band's recently launched brand of whiskey. Dubbed Blackened after a track on the group's 1988 album "...And Justice For All", the spirit is a blend of American bourbon, rye, and whiskey that wasn't just barrel-aged, but also sound-aged to the group's own music. But what truly makes Blackened is "Black Noise" — billed as a patent-pending, "sonic-enhancement" process that uses METALLICA's music to help "shape the flavor" of the whiskey.
Asked what made METALLICA decide to do a whiskey, Trujillo said: "When I was in Ozzy's [Osbourne] band, I was deemed the 'Whiskey Warlord.' It's kind of interesting, here we are now celebrating Blackened whiskey and collaborating with Dave Pickerell. I can honestly say that was my nickname for many years. It's interesting how things come around. For me, it seemed like a natural fit, and a great way to celebrate METALLICA's music, along with the whiskey and also most importantly, our fans."
Asked if he feels like the whiskey reflects the ethos of the band, Robert said: "Definitely. There's that spirit and celebration on all fronts. As a band, it's important to know we are individuals. We have four different characters who celebrate life in different ways. We're brothers, we come together [and] try to make people happy. But we couldn't be more different. The fact that we can come together and experiment, take chances and enjoy life this way — it's what makes any band great. It's an important ingredient in what we do and who we are. Blackened is an extension of that. It brings us together, it creates a bond, it takes that family vibe. Families aren't perfect, but you come together and make magic."
Dave Pickerell, the acclaimed master distiller and blender behind Blackened, died in November in San Francisco where he was scheduled to take part in the annual WhiskyFest event.
Pickerell, along with a team of scientists and Sweet Amber Distilling, used the power of music on the black brandy barrels where Blackened was stored for maturation. Soundwaves impact chemical reactions taking place in the aging whiskey.
Subwoofers were added and the result was amazing: that whiskey pulled the good caramels and lactones from the insides of the barrel walls much faster than it would normally have. And the flavor is astonishingly different.
Blackened was rolled out in California, Wisconsin, New York and Florida for a suggested retail price of $43.