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Produced in collaboration with FEW Spirits’ founder and master distiller Paul Hletko, the new whiskey blend features a bourbon finished in rum barrels, a bourbon finished in vermouth barrels, and a mesquite-smoked wheat whiskey, to create an expression as unique as the band itself.
The whiskey features a mix of grassy and sweet notes with a mesquite smoke finish that FEW says, “evokes winding back roads, long stretches of highway, and pit stops at roadside barbecue joints of West Texas.” The blend was proofed and bottled at a very rock and roll 101, while the label riffs off the BRMC logo.
The band says they’ve always tossed around ideas for their own whiskey release, and are excited for it to finally come to fruition. “We’d always joke around about how someday we should make our own whiskey called ‘Motor Oil’ that’s so painful nobody would be able to actually drink it,” laughs bassist Robert Levon Been. “It would basically be jet fuel in a bottle, just pure pain. But then we met Paul Hletko and he said, ‘Yeah that’s cool, but that’s illegal.’ So after brooding for a bit, Paul took the next year to properly school us in how it’s really done, dialing in what somehow eventually became a legitimate incredible whiskey blend, which is crazy, and we’re still mostly surprised we didn’t blow up the barn.”
For Hletko, the new release is a chance to work with one of his favorite bands, while honoring that common ground between whiskey-making and music. “I’ve been a fan of Black Rebel since their debut album came out, so when we heard they were looking for a distillery to work with, you better believe we jumped at that chance,” he says. “Creating a new whiskey is a lot like working a song: what are you trying to say? What do you want it to feel like? I was picturing riding on a motorcycle through backcountry roads and Route 66, from one end of the ‘Mother Road’ in Chicago, to the California coast where the band began.”
The actual process to create Motor Oil Whiskey started more than two years ago, and with Covid shutting down in-person meetings, it involved a lot of “blind tastings over video calls” and sending samples to the band members, who were quarantining separately in different parts of the world. Once all three members approved of the flavor profile and blend, the “motor oil” was ready for bottling.
Only 1,800 bottles of FEW Spirits Motor Oil Whiskey were produced, retailing for $59 online. This is a limited release, so fans and connoisseurs alike should snap up their bottles while they’re still in stock. For everyone else, FEW sells their regular straight bourbon whiskey online for $54 at sites like ReserveBar.com.
“This project went so far beyond anything we had in mind,” says Breen. “I’m still pretty sure it can power your car, but it’s also a really great whiskey. So it’s like a win-win, and I defy anyone to prove that to be untrue.”
In addition to the launch of Motor Oil, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are on the road this summer for a string of U.S. shows in support of The Cult. See tickets and tour dates here.