The band's "sonic-enhanced" Blackened Whiskey comes with a compilation curated by Lars Ulrich and master distiller Rob Deitrich.

By Mike Pomranz
May 18, 2020
Blackened American Whiskey

In 2018, when Metallica launched Blackened Whiskey, other alcohol had been aged with music—like beer aged to Wu-Tang Clan or brandy aged to Bowie—but, of course, the metal gods had to take things further.

Blackened uses a “proprietary sonic-enhancement process” called “Black Noise,” based around a custom-made subwoofer. And now, for the band’s Batch 100, they’ve kicked it up another notch, combining the idea of the booze and box set into a single package that pairs the whiskey with vinyl records of the music used in its aging process.

Released today, Blackened’s Batch 100 arrives exclusively in a limited-edition box set that not only contains a bottle of the blended American whiskey, but also two 12-inch vinyl picture discs of the custom Metallica playlist pumped through the Black Noise system during aging.

Plus, any good box set comes with a “booklet,” so here, that’s the first edition of the Blackened Zine—billed as bringing “fans into the belly of the beast that is the Batch 100 playlist, with personal commentary from [drummer] Lars Ulrich and [Master Distiller & Blender] Rob Dietrich, delving into the masterful collaboration behind the whiskey [along with] iconic imagery of the band and Dietrich captured by legendary photographer Danny Clinch, with behind-the-scenes glimpses of Metallica’s HQ and rehearsal space.”

Danny Clinch

Adding to the allure of Batch 100 (which, for the record, is actually the 20th batch; the group started at Batch 81 to commemorate the year they were founded), this bottling is the first time the music chosen for the aging process wasn’t handpicked by a member of the band. Instead, Dietrich was able to select his favorite Metallica tunes—meaning he didn’t just choose the bourbons and ryes used for the final blend, but also the sounds they matured to. Ulrich then curated those choices down into the albums included in the box, “which resulted in an eclectic mix of rare, live and studio recordings from various albums,” according to the announcement.

“I wanted to add live versions to show the connection of the fans to the music, to the band, and to the whiskey,” explained Dietrich, who also has a professional background in music. “‘Nothing Else Matters’ is an acoustic version from the band’s first Helping Hands Benefit Show that James [Hetfield, Metallica co-founder, guitarist and vocalist] verbally dedicated to Blackened’s founding Master Distiller, Dave Pickerell, just days after his passing. ‘One’ is a song we listened to over and over again when I was deployed to Somalia during Operation Restore Hope and Operation Continue Hope. It was one of our anthems, and the energy of the crowd in this live version is incredible.”

Danny Clinch

Other tracks included across the two records are “Blackened (Live),” “Creeping Death (Live),” “The Unforgiven (Live),” “Disposable Heroes,” “Fade to Black,” “Spit Out the Bone,” “Whiplash,” “…And Justice for All,” “Leper Messiah,” and “Battery.” Metallica diehards can find the playlists for every batch on the official Blackened website, with links to Spotify if you want to age your ears like whiskey.

“When I look at Rob’s playlist, I love the selections. I love the variety and I love that he’s gone for two deeper live tracks from the Damaged Justice tour,” Ulrich added. “I love seeing both the Binge & Purge and Through the Never eras represented. And he even tapped the Helping Hands album, so it’s clear he is not a part-timer!”

Danny Clinch

Of course, the box also comes with whiskey. “Being thrashed by the Black Noise sonic enhancement process helps give the spirit a warm, honey-amber hue,” the official tasting notes begin. “Burnt caramel, oak and honey are present on the nose and moderate hints of spice upon first sip. The flavor of Blackened builds with notes of honey, cinnamon, allspice, clove and mint, with unexpected hints of apricot lingering underneath. Expect a long and smooth finish with slightly creamy hints of butterscotch taffy, maple and honey.”

The package has a suggest retail price of $149.99. Information on where to purchase can be found at Subwoofers sold separately.