Classification: Straight Rye Finished in Madeira Casks
Company: Sweet Amber Ventures
Distillery: Willett Distillery
Release Date: August 25, 2021
Age: NAS (Press release states whiskey is as old as 8 years with an average of 6.5 years)
Mashbill: Exact percentages undisclosed (Blend of high rye and low rye mashbills according to their press release)
Color: Dark Copper
MSRP: $140 (2021)
Red raspberries | Strawberry | Mint | Charred oak | Faint anise | Touch of smoke
Brown sugar | Strawberry rhubarb | Oak | Hint of grape
Rhubarb | Fig | Plum | Charred oak | Spice
Blackened x Willett marks the launch of Blackened’s Masters of Whiskey Series which showcases the talents of renowned whiskey makers utilizing the company’s trademarked Black Noise sonic enhancement finishing process. Given the name of the whiskey, Backened x Willett, it's easy to assume this is Backened’s whiskey finished in ex-Willett barrels instead of their standard black brandy casks, but come to find out it's not that at all, and in fact so much more.
This is a hands-on collaboration between Blackened’s master distiller and blender Rob Dietrich and Willett’s master distiller Drew Kulsveen. The duo selected a range of high rye and low rye Willett rye whiskey barrels that average 6.5 years old and go as high as 8 years old. This bespoke blend is then finished in Madeira casks for 14 weeks and subjected to the company’s proprietary Black Noise process that uses low hertz frequencies from Metallica's music to vibrate the barrels as they age.
Much like aging whiskey on a boat, truck, cold or hot climate, or even outer space, regardless of how you feel about the Black Noise process, subjecting barrels to additional vibration or outside effects is bound to have some effect on the whiskey. Nevertheless, Blackened x Willett is an impressive sip. Immediately making an impact, this wine finished rye whiskey gets its barrel finishing right. Excellent intensity, paired with colorful tasting notes from both the rye and wine casks, creates an end product that is more than the sum of its parts. It’s a crowd pleasing whiskey from start to finish.