Last night (Thursday, December 6), members of METALLICA celebrated the launch of their whiskey, Blackened, at Charmaine's in San Francisco. Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield were spotted mingling with guests and enjoying the rooftop views of iconic Market Street. Later in the night, Ulrich was seen enjoying the outdoor fire pit with a glass of Blackened.
Throughout the evening, guests were guided through immersive sensory tasting sessions where they could experience the role each of our senses play and the music that forged the whiskey. This Blackened sensory tasting experience was developed in collaboration between Sweet Amber Distilling and Sweet & Chilli.
Dave Pickerell, the acclaimed master distiller and blender behind Blackened, died on November 1 in San Francisco where he was scheduled to take part in the annual WhiskyFest event.
METALLICA's first-ever spirit was dubbed Blackened after a track on the band'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.
Pickerell told Rolling Stone that the brandy casks contain a lot of wood chemicals. "Right near the surface is the wood caramel, so when you burn the barrel, you make char and right behind the char there's what people call the red layer," he said. "That's where the wood sugars get hot enough to caramelize but not hot enough to burn. There's a lot of caramel right underneath the char, so the thing I'm going for is pulling some extra wood caramel out. As the ligaments in the wood break down, they form six different compounds that all taste and smell like vanilla — one actually is vanilla. If you can cause the interaction between the whiskey and the wood to be enhanced by sonic vibration, you can cause the whiskey to pull extra goodies out of the wood."
Blackened was rolled out in California, Wisconsin, New York and Florida for a suggested retail price of $43.
Photo credit: Allison Webber Photography