Finally, we’re digging into the Masters of Whiskey series from the heavy metal-inspired whiskey-makers at Blackened. For those not in the know, Master Distiller and Blender Rob Dietrich partners for each release in this series with a notable whiskey personality to create a uniquely finished whiskey that also undergoes Blackened’s patented Black Noise sonic-enhancement process. They kicked things off with Willett’s Drew Kulsveen to finish a Willett rye blend in Madeira casks and followed that one up with a Wes Henderson collab that saw a Kentucky bourbon finished in white Port wine casks.
For this, their third release, Blackened teamed up with relative newcomer Kaveh Zamanian and his Rabbit Hole Distillery. The base of this release is a blend of 13-year-old bourbon sourced from Tennessee and Rabbit Hole’s own Heigold, a high rye, double malt bourbon that happens to be one of my personal favorites from the distillery. All of that gets finished in Calvados apple brandy casks and sonically enhanced, presumably by some heavy, 90s era Metallica tunes. Let’s check it out.
I went into this one looking for bright apple notes from the Calvados, but the aroma is initially all dark spices, toffee, and honey roasted peanuts. A bit gritty at first, it really opens up with a few minutes in the glass becoming silky and round with warm cinnamon and maple notes and, at last, a bit of baked apple. The palate doesn’t lean very hard on the Calvados finishing either. Big, round notes of butterscotch and peanut brittle evolve to pie spice and poached pear. The fruit notes build with black cherry and jackfruit on the midpalate, but things remain well-balanced, brown butter and barrel char helping to keep the sweetness in check. A flourish of peppery rye spice late in the game erodes into a dry, warming finish of apple chips and smoked cinnamon. I don’t know how the first two Masters of Whiskey releases faired, but this third edition is solid stuff.
A- / $150 / blackenedwhiskey.com