I had the opportunity to sit down with Rob over beignets and chickory coffee (sadly without BLACKENED in it) in New Orleans at the Tales of the Cocktail Conference in July. We chatted about so many things and was so glad to have the chance to find out more about this interesting person taking over this huge role.
Who is Rob Dietrich?
As former head distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Rob brings with him over 12 years of experience in blending with special editions like limited-edition Snowflake and Stranahan’s Sherry Cask Finish. And if you know about these or anything about whiskey, you’ll know that they were much sought after products. Dietrich said the lines would be crazy long for them. He calls his departure “bittersweet”, but is excited about his new expressions coming with BLACKENED.
I found out that Rob is a motorcycle nut and we talked about his recent visit to Austin where he was able to geek out at Revival Cycles shop. As a kid, he motorcrossed and at the age of twelve, bought his first Honda bike off his friend. He has a passion for restoring and currently owns 4 bikes. His favorite? A custom hybrid Harley Norton Chopper.
We talked about touring with the band (They were in Austin for last year’s ACL), his animals and outlook for BLACKENED. His goal is to honor Dave’s contribution and creation, but add his own twist to it and continue to create the magic that Dave started; calling it Innovative, Legendary and Epic.
As a former concert promoter, his love for music pairs perfectly in bringing this awesome spirit into its next phase. When Dave passed, the product had just launched. With less than a year on the market, it will be exciting to see where Rob can take BLACKENED. The combination of his love for whiskey and music will marry exceptionally, just like the BLACKENED blends of straight bourbons, American sourced whiskeys and ryes finished in black brandy casks do.
Over the course of the next few days, we kept crossing paths and was able to learn yet another side to him that I loved - he loves cigars! You know how much I enjoy a cigar and whiskey. All in all, he is a very cool guy. I also discovered he is extremely humble given all the success with his former distillery and anticipated success with BLACKENED.
When asked to describe himself in 3 words, they were: Resourceful, Innovative and Adventurous. I have a feeling we won’t be disappointed with his endeavors. He is a purist and says BLACKENED (and all whiskey) should be enjoyed neat or on the rocks… and I have to agree. I know that’s how I prefer my whiskey AND my vodka.
About Blackened Whiskey:
Owned by Sweet Amber Distilling, Blackened was created by late Master Distiller Dave Pickerell in conjunction with Metallica, and is a blend of straight American Whiskeys. The spirit isn’t just inspired by the iconic band’s music, it is literally shaped by it. The team behind BLACKENED has taken the concept of sonic-enhancement and turned it into BLACK NOISE™, a patent-pending process that uses Metallica’s own music to shape the flavor of this unconventional American whiskey. Learn more on their website at https://blackenedwhiskey.com
So what is Sonic Enhancement:
Yes, it’s really a thing. Think of it as being near a large speaker at a concert and the way the music makes your chest vibrate. (I’ve always loved that feeling.) If you go to the website, you can enter in your batch number (located on the neck of the bottle) to find out which Metallica playlist was used.
I’ve had the pleasure of recently working promotional events with BLACKENED and can honestly say it is one of my favorite whiskies. I really enjoy rye vodkas, so the fact that they use rye in their blend makes for a great juice! Fairly new to the Texas market, they are currently in Austin/San Antonio and Houston areas according to Director of Sales, Mario Freixas. “We’re focusing on involvement with the service industries through partnerships and participation at industry trade shows and conferences. We’re bringing awareness to the public through music events and festivals when possible and sampling events at liquor stores.”
You can find BLACKENED for sale locally at most liquor stores in the Austin, San Antonio and Houston areas. If you like to attend cocktail events, BLACKENED will have a booth at WHISKEY X on Friday, Sept. 13th taking place at Fair Market.
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