BLACKENED Whiskey’s Master Distiller & Blender, Rob Dietrich, Teamed with Rabbit Hole Distillery’s Founder & Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Whiskey Maker, Kaveh Zamanian, to Create the BLACKENED x Rabbit Hole Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskeys Distilled in Tennessee & Kentucky Finished in Calvados Casks

NEW YORK, Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Today, BLACKENED Whiskey announces a groundbreaking collaboration with Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame Whiskey Maker, Kaveh Zamanian, founder of renowned craft whiskey distillery, Rabbit Hole, for the 2023 release of its acclaimed “Masters of Whiskey Series.” Together, BLACKENED Master Distiller & Blender, Rob Dietrich, and Zamanian have created the BLACKENED x Rabbit Hole Blend of Straight Bourbon Whiskey Distilled in Tennessee & Kentucky. Finished in Calvados Casks, the blend is bottled at cask strength at a proof of 106.59, and non-chill filtered.

Debuted in 2021 with the BLACKENED x Willett Straight Rye Finished in Madeira Casks, the “Masters of Whiskey Series” is built upon the brand’s core tenant of collaboration, uniting the unparalleled expertise of two master craftsmen to reimagine craft whiskey and create new, extraordinary expressions.

For this release, esteemed whiskey visionaries, Dietrich and Zamanian, crafted the expression from a base of 13-year-old straight Tennessee bourbon whiskey featuring a mash bill of 64 percent corn, 36 percent rye, and Rabbit Hole Heigold High Rye Double Malt Kentucky straight bourbon, made from a mash bill of 70 percent corn, 25 percent malted rye, and 5 percent malted barley. The whiskey is then finished in Calvados Casks, imparting sweeter notes as Calvados is an apple brandy. The resulting expression features notes of apple butter, rhubarb, honey-suckle, graham cracker, and macadamia nut on the nose and hints of ripe pear, cinnamon stick, smoky campfire, field clover, honey, and black walnut on the palate.

The basis of the partnership stems from both brands’ and distillers’ uncompromising passion, reputation for forging their own paths in American Whiskey, and most importantly, their ability to innovate. For its whiskeys, Rabbit Hole’s Chief Whiskey Maker, Kaveh Zamanian, looks beyond traditional methods, creating one-of-a-kind mash bills using malt sourced from Europe, while BLACKENED Whiskey pushes the envelope with its Black Noise™ sonic-enhancement process.

During finishing, the whiskey is sonically-enhanced to extract more flavor from the finishing casks, using a patent-pending scientific process co-developed by the sound engineers at Meyer Sound. The process produces low hertz sound waves causing the whiskey to reverberate at a fast rate, interacting with the oak staves of the finishing barrel, measurably releasing wood compounds and flavors. Their ardor for constantly challenging traditional whiskey-making processes and treating the craft as an art form led them to the flavorful blend.

“It was great working with Kaveh, as we came in with different backgrounds and similar mindsets, with a passion to create something unusual and unique to see where we could take it,” explained Dietrich. “We were both interested in starting with the 13-year-old Tennessee bourbon whiskey, and then worked back to see what was going to pair well with that as far as mash bill and blending different whiskeys from their distillery. We were really looking for something that balanced and layered the flavor profiles together, then adding a dash of flavor through the Calvados cask finishing. I’m ecstatic at what we came up with!”

“It was so exciting to be able to work with BLACKENED Whiskey and Rob Dietrich,” said Zamanian. “It seems like it was just an organic process, more art than science when we came together. It’s always great to be able to work with whiskey makers who are doing new things, such as BLACKENED, as it helps us learn more and improve our game. And ultimately the consumers benefit from it too, because you get new expressions – something that’s genuinely different and a blend of our different approaches and voices.”

“The ‘Masters of Whiskey Series’ represents our dedication to innovation and speaks to our core principle of collaboration,” said Metallica bassist, Robert Trujillo. “Just as Metallica always tries to blaze new trails with our music and artistic style, we love that we are able to do the same with our approach to crafting exceptional whiskey.”

As a testament to the collaboration and taste, the expression was entered into the 2023 New York Wine & Spirits Competition (NYWSC), where it was awarded a Gold Medal. Currently in its 13th year, the competition is one of the most respected judging events in the eastern USA and consists of a judging panel of the wine and spirits industry’s most trusted authorities. 

The award-winning expression is available both in-store and online for limited quantities for a suggested retail price of $149. To purchase online, find local retailers, or gather more information, visit BLACKENED Whiskey’s website and follow on social at @BlackenedAmericanWhiskey. For more information on Rabbit Hole Distillery, visit the website at   

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 vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich, Metallica has become one of the most influential and successful rock bands in history, selling nearly 120 million albums worldwide and generating more than 15 billion streams while playing to millions of fans on all seven continents. Metallica’s catalog of multi-platinum studio albums includes Kill ‘Em AllRide the LightningMaster of Puppets… And Justice for All, Metallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), Load, Reload, St. Anger, Death Magnetic, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, and the new 72 Seasons, released April 14, 2023, on the band’s own Blackened Recordings label. Metallica’s awards and accolades include nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, multiple MTV Video Music Awards, a 2009 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. In 2017, Metallica established its charitable foundation, All Within My Hands, to give back to communities that have supported the band. To date, All Within My Hands and Metallica have provided nearly $16 million in grants to career and technical education programs, organizations combating food insecurity, and critical local services and disaster relief efforts.

Rabbit Hole was born to blow the cobwebs off the American whiskey category and pierce through the conformity that had kept it stuck in the 19th century. Rabbit Hole’s Founder and Whiskey Maker, Kaveh Zamanian, left a 20+ year career as a clinical psychologist to pursue his long-standing passion for fine spirits. With a mission to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary, he set course to develop one-of-a-kind expressions of American whiskey. Through its signature core offerings – Cavehill Four Grain Triple Malt Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Boxergrail Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey, Dareringer Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Finished in PX Sherry Casks, and Heigold High Rye Double Malt Kentucky Straight Bourbon – along with its innovative Founder’s Collection series, stands as the best example of innovation and craft distillation in the country. This distinction is highlighted by its use of truly singular mash bills, signature malted grains, and custom-made, hand-selected, toasted & charred barrels. Our state-of-the art distillery is a cathedral to the art and science of whiskey making and is located in the Nulu neighborhood in heart of downtown Louisville. Designed as a true craft distillery designed to scale, it produces 27,000 barrels every year. Since opening in 2018, it has been heralded as the “Architectural Icon” of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and was recently named “World’s Leading Bourbon Distillery Tour” by the World Travel Awards. In 2022, Kaveh was inducted into the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame’s 20th anniversary class, cementing his place among industry pioneers and visionaries.


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