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Metallica launch Rye The Lightning whiskey

By | Published on Friday 29 April 2022

Rye The Lightning

Metallica have added a new whiskey to their Blackened American line called – wait for it – Rye The Lightning. RYE. Do you get it? RYE THE LIGHTNING. Because it’s a rye whiskey and Metallica have an album called ‘Ride The Lightning’, you see? It’s clever.

Now, to make this brew, they didn’t just bung a mixture of existing whiskeys into some barrels and hope for the best. Well, I guess they did, but that’s blended whiskey for you. But it was a bit more involved than that.

Blackened American distiller Rob Bietrich took some Kentucky straight rye whiskeys aged between five and eight years, mixed them up, then popped it all in some Madeira wine casks for a couple of weeks, and then some Caribbean rum casks for another fourteen weeks. See? It’s a whole process.

And that’s not all, either. If you did that, you’d just have some blended whiskey, which, while it might be good, wouldn’t have that Metallica twang, would it? So how do you get that?

Well, while the whiskey was just sitting around in the barrels, it also went through Blackened American Whiskey’s unique ‘Black Noise’ process. This means that it had music played to it via special subwoofer speakers which mimic the vibrations you’d feel at a Metallica show. If you were a barrel full of whiskey. They reckon this does something to the liquid at a molecular level. At the very least all that jiggling will mix it a bit more, I suppose.

The music used for this whiskey was Metallica’s 2012 live performance of their 1984 ‘Ride The Lightning’ album at their Orion Music + More festival in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Hence the name, remember? RYE. THE. LIGHTNING.

“The vibe from the crowd at the first Orion Music + More Festival was electrifying”, says Metallica bassist Rob Trujillo. “It’s really cool that we get to capture that energy in this [whiskey]. We’ve used a few live songs in our [whiskey maturing] playlists before, but never a full live playlist. So to be able to incorporate our fans in the Blackened journey and have them be a part of the whiskey-making process is really unique, and makes this a true collaboration”.

Dietrich adds: “I absolutely love the high spice and earthy notes in American rye whiskey. I wanted to play with those flavour profiles by bringing a symmetry of subtle flavour elements by combining not just one, but two different cask finishes to the whiskey, creating a complex balance of sweet and savoury”.

Like jam on toast? Well, not quite. Apparently Rye (RYE!) The Lightning will give you notes of “dried fig, hay, pinewood, pear, and rum cake on the nose, and on the palate, clover honey, mint, corn husk, sugar cane, walnut, and cinnamon”.

Try putting all that on a slice of toast and see the looks people give you. Or just have a drink of this whiskey. Perhaps with a slice of toast on the side.

You can buy the limited edition whiskey now, and if you go to its very own website here you can download Metallica’s performance of the song ‘Ride The Lightning’ from the very live recording that (possibly, although it seems unlikely) helped the whiskey develop its flavour.