To the heavy metal band Metallica, there’s nothing that can’t be made better by cranking up their amps and cutting loose. That’s also the idea behind their own brand of whiskey which is made by – I kid you not – bombarding it with the band’s songs while it’s still in the barrel. This unusual blending of heavy metal percussion and time-honored whiskey making is intriguingly captured in the limited edition packaging for Blackened American Whiskey Batch 100.
Though ostensibly geared toward lovers of fine spirits, the rigid-box artwork, designed by Metallica Creative Director James North and produced by our friends at Fastkit Luxury Packaging [projects / website] on 95 lb. C1S paper (mounted on 95 pt. Eska board) with a soft-touch laminate, is pitched squarely at Metallica fans. (As is the whiskey’s name, which is a nod to their 1988 song “Blackened.”)
It features subdued tone-on-tone, Black and White photographs of the band – as well as of Blackened American Whiskey masters past and present – and a worn-looking “Whiskey Re-Mastered” logo for that rough hard-rocker look.
However, it’s the recreation of the bottle on the box lid that really catches the eye. It almost seems to leap off the packaging thanks to a Spot Gloss UV coating, which is also applied to the Orange logo on the side. This blending of dark photos and light highlights is definitely “on brand” for Metallica, who are known for smoothing over their dark lyrics and subject matter with virtuosic musical proficiency.
I should say at this point that the label branding, which plays such an important role in this limited edition packaging, subtly hints at the music-induced whiskey blending process – dubbed “Black Noise” – through its use of a Black sound-wave pattern behind the whiskey’s name.
So what’s inside? Let’s find out.
Lifting the box lid reveals 2 Limited Edition Metallica 12-inch Vinyl Picture Discs in a plastic sleeve, and beneath these, the bottle itself. This is nestled in a form-fitting, die-cut grotto to ensure it remains in place during shipping.
Next to it, a shallower die-cut tray is packed with goodies, starting with a small envelope offset printed on Mano by Corvon and mounted to 17 pt. uncoated Black board. Tucked inside the envelope: a die-cut vinyl sticker, guitar pick, and enamel pin.
The final item in the box is a copy of a ‘zine offset printed on 100 lb. Text paper, featuring more Black and White images of the band, as well as the backstory of how Master Distiller & Blender Rob Dietrich and drummer Lars Ulrich came to choose the Metallica songs used to “shake things up” in their whiskey barrels, as well as lyrics to the songs on the Batch 100 playlist. The restrained use of Orange as an accent color keeps the design engaging.
From the moody photography of the band to the use of an eye-catching Spot Gloss UV finish on the box, this packaging speaks to Metallica’s fanbase…without subjecting them to the sonic pummeling used on the whiskey inside. (Though something tells me that many of them wouldn’t mind that one bit 😉 )