Home News Metallica’s Blackened Whiskey Debuts Second Release in “Masters of Whiskey Series”

Metallica’s Blackened Whiskey Debuts Second Release in “Masters of Whiskey Series”

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Combining The Talents Of BLACKENED American Whiskey’s Master Distiller & Blender, Rob Dietrich With Recently Retired Angel’s Envy Co-Founder, Wes Henderson, This Expression Features Six Year Old Straight Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey Finished in White Port Wine Casks, Sonically Enhanced, and Bottled at Cask Strength

New York, NY (September 15, 2022) – Today, BLACKENED American Whiskey continues to push the boundaries of whiskey with the second release in its “Masters of Whiskey Series,” introducing BLACKENED x Wes Henderson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in White Port Wine Casks.

The limited edition expression was created in partnership with BLACKENED American Whiskey’s Master Distiller & Blender, Rob Dietrich, and recently retired Angel’s Envy Co-Founder and Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Member, Wes Henderson, marking his first project post-retirement. 

BLACKENED American Whiskey’s “Masters of Whiskey Series” builds upon the brand’s core tenant of collaboration, converging the passions, talents, and skills of two master whiskey makers to create new, distinctive expressions.

This latest release is crafted from a base of six-year-old Kentucky straight bourbon and finished in White Port wine casks. Dietrich and Henderson both have extensive backgrounds in Port wine finishes and knew they wanted to use that expertise for this whiskey.

After exploring several finishes, they jointly sourced and selected a unique white port wine as the cask finish, that balanced well with the depth of the bourbon. The resulting whiskey features notes of pear, raisin, cinnamon, and cigar box on the nose and hints of pear, honey, chipotle cinnamon, vanilla, barn hay, and walnut on the palate. 

During finishing, the whiskey undergoes a sonic enhancement process in which the finishing barrels are pummeled by the low hertz frequencies of Metallica’s music.

The sound waves cause vibrations that shake the finishing barrels, causing greater interaction between the whiskey and the wood, thereby extracting more flavors and color. The expression is bottled at cask strength and is non-chill filtered. 

“I love rye, so for the first release of the Masters of Whiskey Series, we created a cask-finished rye,” explained Rob Dietrich. “It was only natural that our next release should be a bourbon. But like everything we do, we couldn’t create just any bourbon; it needed to be uniquely different.

To do that, we partnered with one of the most renowned names in the industry: Wes Henderson. It was a true honor getting to work with Wes and learn how our palates aligned together in the process. His close friendship with Dave Pickerell sparked some of the concepts we designed for this whiskey. We’ve created something truly special that I hope whiskey enthusiasts will enjoy as much as we did making it. 

“We don’t do anything halfway,” said Metallica’s lead guitarist, Kirk Hammett. “We partnered with our Co-Founder, the late, great, Dave Pickerell, to bring you our badass original blend – now helmed by the amazing Rob Dietrich, Willett Distillery to bring you an explosive rye, and Wes Henderson to create this outstanding bourbon.

That’s the really cool thing about the ‘Masters of Whiskey Series’ – we build on our core idea of collaboration, getting to work with these insane Master Distillers and Blenders to innovate and bring new expressions to our fans and whiskey drinkers.”

The inspiration for the collaboration with Henderson came from BLACKENED’s late Master Distiller and whiskey luminary, Dave Pickerell. Henderson and Pickerell were close friends and were both revered in the whiskey industry as innovators and makers.

Further, Henderson’s background in bourbon made him a natural partner for the project. Kentucky whiskey royalty, he represents several generations of distilling provenance and was inducted into the Kentucky bourbon hall of fame, joining his father, Lincoln Henderson, as one of the few father/son inductees in the history of the industry. 

Given so many connections to Kentucky, and as much of the region is still recovering from 2021’s devastating tornadoes, the team at BLACKENED, Rob Dietrich, and Wes Henderson felt it was of the utmost importance to help the community through this release.

With Dietrich a veteran of the 10th Mountain Division and Henderson a first responder and death coroner, BLACKENED reached out to Metallica’s nonprofit All Within My Hands Foundation for suggestions on organizations who serve Kentucky and who align with their values and goals.

They were introduced to Team Rubicon, a veteran-led, non-profit organization that serves global communities before, during and after disasters and crises. 

To support the team and specifically the rebuild efforts in Western Kentucky, BLACKENED will donate $25,000 to Team Rubicon. Metallica and All Within My Hands will match this donation in kind, making the overall total donation $50,000.

If you would like to learn more or to make a donation to Team Rubicon, we encourage you to please visit their website at donate.teamrubiconusa.org

“I didn’t think I’d be working on another whiskey so soon after my retirement, but I couldn’t pass this up,” said Wes Henderson, Co-Founder and former Chief Innovation Officer of Angel’s Envy. “As a close friend of Dave’s, I’ve been watching BLACKENED for a while now and have been impressed with Rob, the team, and with what they’ve created.

It was an incredible experience getting to work closely with Rob, compare palates and use our respective skill sets in cask finishing to develop this flavor profile. We both have a very similar approach to whiskey – that it takes drinkers on a journey. I believe we accomplished that with this expression, and the fact we were able to tie-in a charity that’s serving the community of Western Kentucky, which is so near and dear to my heart, is amazing. I can’t wait for others to try it!  

This expression follows the inaugural release, the BLACKENED x Willett Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey Finished in Madeira Casks, created in collaboration with Willett Distillery and Master Distiller Drew Kulsveen. The BLACKENED x Wes Henderson Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in White Port Wine Casks is available in limited quantities for a suggested retail price of $99.99. 

To purchase online, find local retailers, or gather more information, visit BLACKENED American Whiskey’s website www.BlackenedWhiskey.com and follow on social at @BlackenedAmericanWhiskey. For more information on Wes Henderson, follow along on social @kybourbonmaker.    


Established in 2018, Sweet Amber Distilling Co. is a producer of hand-crafted spirits. Helmed by Co-Founder and CEO John Bilello, Sweet Amber launched with the creation of BLACKENED® – a masterful collaboration between late whiskey luminary Dave Pickerell and rock icons Metallica, which is now available in all 50 states and parts of Canada, with plans to expand rapidly.

Sweet Amber is a nimble, dynamic organization that is completely virtual, allowing a greater flexibility, efficiency, and geographic coverage across the U.S. with depth of experience in the spirits and music industries. 


Rob Dietrich is the Master Distiller & Blender of BLACKENED® American Whiskey, and the former Master Distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Rob has more than 15 years in the industry and is well-regarded for his unique limited-release, cask finish expressions such as Snowflake, Sherry Cask and more recently, the Masters of Whiskey series. Rob is responsible for every aspect of production and is committed to not only maintaining the original recipe of Blackened, using artisanal methods and a handcrafted approach, but is also dedicated to creating contemporary and unique world-class whiskey.

Rob Dietrich initially learned the art and science of distilling from legendary distiller Jess Graber whom he proudly calls his mentor. His passion for music was honed across 10 years spent in the music business, beginning  with working with Bill Graham Presents, and also as a freelance agent for a variety of venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater and The Fillmore in San Francisco and Denver, as well as producing and managing many tours and festivals.

He is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and served from 1992 to 1995. His two tours in Somalia as well as relief operations in Haiti helped shape his life-affirming philosophy.


Formed in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield, Metallica has become one of the most influential and successful rock bands in history, having sold nearly 120 million albums worldwide and generating more than 15 billion streams while playing to millions of fans on all seven continents. 

The band’s several multi-platinum studio albums include Kill ‘Em AllRide The LightningMaster of Puppets… And Justice for AllMetallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), LoadRe-LoadSt. AngerDeath Magnetic, and most recently Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, released in November 2016 and charting at #1 in 32 countries.

Metallica’s awards and accolades include nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and a 2009 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In June of 2018, the band was awarded one of the most prestigious musical honors in the world: Sweden’s Polar Music Prize.


Metallica’s All Within My Hands (AWMH) was founded by the members of the band in 2017. The Foundation aims to assist and enrich the lives of members of the communities who have supported the band for years, as well as encourage participation from fans and friends. 100% of donations go directly to AWMH’s charity partners.

As always, Metallica covers all administrative costs. To date, All Within My Hands has provided $5.9 million in grants to career and technical education programs, over $2.5 million to combat food insecurity, and more than $3.3 million to disaster relief efforts.


Wes Henderson co-founded Louisville Distilling Company with his late father, Master Distiller Lincoln Henderson. He served as the company’s Chief Innovation Officer from 2010 to 2022, working to turn Angel’s Envy into a global brand, creating some of the finest, awards-winning whiskeys, and is recognized as a pioneer of the craft whiskey movement.

He was inducted in the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame in 2020, joining his father Lincoln as one of the few father/son inductees in the history of the industry. Prior to co-founding Angel’s Envy, Wes was a self-described “serial entrepreneur” for 30+ years. He gained his foothold in the spirits industry at Brown-Forman as the CO of Master Distiller’s Select, the President and CEO of Conecuh Ridge Distillery, the producer of Clyde May’s Whiskey, and a Founding Partner of Papa’s Pilar Rum. 

In addition to spirits, Wes is a State certified firefighter, where he is a trained member of the Regional Hazardous Materials and Weapons of Mass Destruction Task Force. He is also a Deputy Oldham County Coroner working as Death Investigator, Sworn Law Enforcement Officer, and member of the Kentucky State Mass Casualty and Disaster Response Team. Furthering his passion for flight, he has also served as Lieutenant in the Civil Air Patrol as a pilot, specializing in search and rescue operations, and he studied Aviation at the Florida Institute of Technology. 

ABOUT TEAM RUBICON Team Rubicon is a veteran-led humanitarian organization that serves global communities before, during, and after disasters and crises. Founded following the Haiti earthquake in 2010, the organization has grown to more than 150,000 volunteers across the United States and has launched over 1,100 operations domestically and internationally.

To drive equity across disaster and humanitarian services, Team Rubicon focuses on three areas of impact: disaster services- from mitigation to immediate response to recovery; rebuild services- maintaining the fabric of communities through resilient building methods; and international services- providing emergent and surge medical services, WASH, and disaster risk reduction. Visit www.teamrubiconusa.org for more information.

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