Blackened Whiskey Releases 2024 Edition of Rye The Lightning

by Phillip Galyean

Today, award-winning BLACKENED Whiskey® announces the release of the 2024 edition of Rye the Lighting™, inspired by Metallica’s 6x platinum sophomore album, Ride the Lightning. This limited-edition expression follows the highly acclaimed 2022 edition of Rye The Lightning, which received Gold from the John Barleycorn Awards, Best Finished Whiskey from Breaking Bourbon, a 93 rating from Whisky Advocate, and was awarded the #14 spot on Whisky Advocate’s 2022 Top 20 Most Exciting Whiskies of the World. Given the overwhelmingly positive response, BLACKENED Master Distiller & Blender Rob Dietrich sought to bottle lightning again with this latest iteration.

The 2024 edition of Rye The Lightning is crafted from a blend of straight rye whiskeys hand-selected by Dietrich. The whiskeys are vatted and transferred for finishing to Madeira wine and Caribbean rum casks for 2-14 weeks each, where they undergo BLACKENED’s proprietary BLACK NOISE™ sonic-enhancement process. Rye The Lightning is non-chill filtered and bottled at 92 proof. The result is notes of green apple, barn hay, caramel, and banana bread on the nose with pear, honeysuckle, muscovado, almond, cinnamon, sawn-wood, and waffle cone on the palate.

“When we launched the first edition of Rye The Lighting in 2022, I knew we had something special,” said Master Distiller & Blender Rob Dietrich. “I absolutely love the hay spice and dark earthy notes in American rye whiskey, so it was an adventure to play around with a creative flavor profile through cask finishing. I was thrilled that consumers loved this whiskey as much as we did, and with this limited release, I tried to capture some of the innovative magic of the first expression, but with a slightly new spin by upping the proof a couple of notches, while applying non-chill filtering and using a rye with a different mash bill with different types of Madeira and Rum finishes.”

The makers of BLACKENED Whiskey sonically enhance their whiskeys to extract more flavor from the casks, using a proprietary scientific process co-developed by the sound engineers at Meyer Sound, a global leader in sound technology. Dubbed Black Noise™, this sonic-enhancement process produces low hertz sound waves causing the whiskey to reverberate at a fast rate, interacting with the oak staves of the barrel, measurably releasing wood compounds and flavors.

“They say that lightning never strikes twice, but the second release of Rye The Lightning proves otherwise,” said Metallica’s lead guitarist, Kirk Hammett. “Rob captured the spirit of our ‘Ride The Lightning’ album with the award-winning first batch. And now with the 2024 edition, we are excited to take our fans on that ‘Ride’ once again.”



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. In 2019, Rob Dietrich took the helm as Master Distiller & Blender, introducing new expressions like Rye The Lightning™, which was celebrated as one of the 20 best whiskies in the world in 2022 by Whisky Advocate. 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® Whiskey, and the former Master Distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Rob has more than 15 years in the industry and gained notoriety during his time at Stranahan’s for producing unique, award-winning whiskies such as the limited edition, cask-finished Snowflake, and more recently, the Master of Whiskey series with BLACKENED. 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 and including guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, Metallica has become one of the most influential and successful rock bands in history, selling nearly 125 million albums worldwide and generating more than 17 billion streams while playing to millions of fans on all seven continents—more than 1.3 million of whom belong to the band’s fiercely loyal and consistently growing Fifth Member fan club. Metallica’s catalog of multi-platinum studio albums includes Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master 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 most recently the Grammy-winning 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 the All Within My Hands Foundation to give back to communities that have supported the band. To date, All Within My Hands’ collective efforts have raised nearly $15 million – providing $8.2 million in grants to career and technical education programs, over $3.6 million to combat food insecurity, and more than $3.5 million to disaster relief efforts.

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