Does Lars Ulrich Believe Metallica Playlists Affected Whiskey?
Lars Ulrich explained his feelings on whether playing Metallica's music affected the aging process of their whiskey, admitting there might be some doubt but saying the expert hired by the band was adamant that it did.
Blackened whiskey was launched this year along with the claim that the liquid was “jolted back to life by the unmistakable, earth-shattering music of Metallica.” The band added, “Using our proprietary sonic enhancement system BLACK NOISE™, the whiskey is pummeled by sound, causing it to seep deeper into the barrel, where it picks up additional wood flavor characteristics."
Asked to discuss the process, Ulrich said it had been masterminded by whiskey artisan Dave Pickerell, who died recently. “The idea was: ‘What can we do to make this ours and separates it from what the guy down the street is doing?’” the drummer told Maxim. “We were just looking for what we would call an authentic way of tying the music and the beverage together. We thought if you could actually have the beverage experience the music in some way, shape, or form, and there was a way that it actually would influence it to some degree...I say this with a grain of salt. This is supposed to be somewhat fun, you know?”
He continued, “It was always something that was of great interest to Dave, and he was actually a chemical engineer at West Point. There was this whole thing that he gets into, when the sound waves hit a particular frequency range then it intensifies the molecular, I guess, action with the barrel and the whiskey, and this type of stuff. That was his idea. It was something he brought to us.”
Pressed on whether the concept was more than just a gimmick, Ulrich replied, “I think that it depends. Do you believe in UFOs? Do you believe in Bigfoot? Do you believe in whatever? … Certainly Dave felt that this made enough of a difference to be able to tell the difference in the taste.”
He accepted he wasn’t knowledgable enough about distillation to fully understand, adding, “I can hear things in music or be analytical about music or intellectualize certain things about music … [i]n the same way that Dave would be able to sit down and talk about things in whiskies and tastes and process and all of this type of stuff that obviously a mere mortal like myself or you would not be able to tell the difference, but to him there was enough of a difference. This was obviously his forte.”
In September, Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo admitted he’d “had skepticism initially” over Pickerill’s arguments, but that he’d been “won over by this process” and added: “there’s a molecular structure that is somehow mixed in with the sound and vibration.”