Blackened American Whiskey has announced an exciting new venture with James Hetfield, Master Distiller & Blender Rob Dietrich and Drew Estate Cigars.

The collaboration, Hetfield X Dietrich X Drew, is Blackened's new M81 maduro cigar and was recently announced on Drew Estate Cigars' live YouTube broadcast, Freestyle Live Event Pack Mania. Dietrich was on hand to chat with Drew Estates' JD, Willy, Pedro and Jack about the cigar and explained that this has been a secret he and the band have been sitting on for two years.

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Birthed while the country was experiencing mass shutdowns during the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dietrich found himself smoking cigars with Hetfield fairly regularly. The more they hung out and smoked, the more this idea took shape. "We hit it off in a lot of ways," Dietrich told the Drew Estate crew. "We became very close. I knew this was a good opportunity and a possibility."

Dietrich pitched the idea of a Blackened cigar to Hetfield—"When I say 'pitched,' I just said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if we could make our own cigar?'"—and he was ecstatic about it. Dietrich took it to the whole band and they all loved it, too.

"I've had the pleasure of being able to smoke the Blackened cigar and drink a Blackened cocktail at the same time," Dietrich explained. "I gotta tell you, there's nothing better than that sweet and savory—the sweetness of the bourbon and the spiciness of the rye of our Blackened whiskey blend that balances well with the earthy notes, the chocolate notes of the Blackened cigar. I couldn't ask for a better pairing."

Blackened Cigar
Blackened American Whiskey and Drew Estate Cigars

In a pre-recorded message, Hetfield joined the broadcast and shared his excitement about the new cigar.

"I'm out here on the road, doing what I do best out here and enjoying a cigar at the same time," he said. In the official announcement shared by Cigar Aficionado, Hetfield added:

It is really a fun social thing for me, a fellowship, to have a few buddies sit around with a few sticks. My buddy, Rob Dietrich, Blackened’s master distiller, and I frequently enjoy cigars together and he introduced me to Jonathan from Drew Estate. The three of us connected and shared each other’s vision and story about where we’ve been, what we like to see and what is important to us now, and we all came up with what a Blackened ‘M81’ cigar would look and taste like. I love the maduro leaf and I’m super excited for everyone to try this.

As shared on Freestyle Live, the Blackened cigars should ship in 20-count boxes sometime in December and will come in four sizes; they'll cost about 10 dollars a stick. You can find a Drew Diplomat Retailer near you here, and if you happen to be at Cigar Aficionado's Big Smoke Las Vegas on Nov. 11-12, the Blackened cigars will be handed out throughout the event.

This announcement comes on the heels of Blackened sharing their latest whiskey collaboration in the Masters of Whiskey series; you can read about Blackened X Wes Henderson here.

Watch Freestyle Live Announce New Blackened Cigar

When we chatted with Dietrich earlier this year, he reminisced about his relationship with Hetfield and how it centered around the camaraderie of smoking cigars. "I'm able to sit and smoke cigars with him and he'll ask me questions about it all," he said about Hetfield's genuine passion for the whiskey-making process.

"I appreciate how much curiosity is there and how much [the whole band is] part of it. They leave the whiskey making up to me and the team, but the interaction they have is genuine and sincere."

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