ANTHRAX has been celebrating its 40th anniversary since the festivities kicked off in late April. But even with the actual Big 4-0 having taken place on July 18, the band is not quite done saluting that milestone.
Today, the band announces the release of its 40th-anniversary high-end spirit, "Anthrax XL" (Roman numerals for 40), a smooth Solera-aged, single-barrel bourbon finished for 40 days in a 20-year old Oloroso Sherry cask, providing the spirits with balanced flavors and layers of complexity. Only one barrel of "Anthrax XL" has been produced, yielding 400 hand-numbered bottles at a cask strength of 115 proof. Each bottle features the bandmembers' signatures, and is encased in a black drawstring velvet gift bag emblazoned with the Anthrax XL logo, with a suggested retail price of $155. Additionally, 40 limited-edition numbered bottles will be available. Priced at $350, each limited-edition bottle is also housed in a black drawstring velvet gift bag, imprinted with the Anthrax XL logo, then packed in a customized box encased in a SilverFoil card stock wrap-around. Each limited-edition item comes with a Golden Ticket, printed and debossed on gold foil-coated-card stock. The Golden Ticket awards the purchaser and a guest admission to an ANTHRAX headline concert in the purchaser's area and includes a special in-person meet-and-greet with the band to take place during ANTHRAX's 2022 U.S. tour.
In July, guitarist Scott Ian and bassist Frank Bello traveled up to the Hillrock Estate Distillery for a series of tastings to find that perfect elixir that would be "Anthrax XL" worthy.
"I had a great time up at Hillrock," said Bello of the experience. "Everything there is homegrown, and all done by hand. Jeffrey, Cathy, Alex, and everyone who works there are all really nice people who care so much about what they do and how they do it. I'm very, very happy with our 'Anthrax XL' whiskey. It's smooth, has a great aftertaste, and creates a great vibe. Right after my first taste, I wanted more."
"I sampled eight different whiskeys from Hillrock's rickhouse when I was there to pick one for our 40th-anniversary bottle," said Ian. "It's a difficult task in that they're all so great, thieved from the barrel and into my glass. Every time I've had to choose a whiskey, I wait for the juice to tell me that, 'it's the one.' This barrel spoke up loud and clear. On the nose, there is an explosion of caramel, toffee, and butterscotch with hints of dried cherries and fresh herbs. The palette has a rich texture of bright red fruits, baking spices, and toasted almonds. I'm drooling just reading that back. Get yourself a bottle, you deserve it!"
"Anthrax XL" is the band's most recent collaboration with the multi-award-winning Hillrock Estate Distillery, located in the luxuriant Hudson Valley Highlands in New York State. Built from the ground up by husband and wife Jeffrey Baker and Cathy Franklin and the legendary late master distiller Dave Pickerell, ANTHRAX continues to return due to the high level of care and attention that the Hillrock trio puts into what they do.
According to Franklin, Baker and Alex Eckstein, owners of Hillrock Estate Distillery, "This 'Anthrax XL' Anniversary cask is the band's fourth Hillrock Solera Aged Bourbon selection. Over that time, we have become very close with Scott and have enjoyed getting to know all of the other bandmembers, either up here with us in person or virtually. We hope to have Scott and Frank, as well as Charlie, Joey and Jon all up here together soon to taste, create and finish more beautiful craft whiskey together for many more years."
Photo credit: Omar Mendez