Metallica's signature "Blackened" whiskey has been around for a few years now, but ever since James Hetfield's return to rehab in the fall of 2019, some have questioned the integrity of the decision to continue the liquor line. Kirk Hammett has defended the whiskey, noting that the two should not be compared.

“You can’t compare the two things. James’s struggle to get dry is a completely personal matter mentally and emotionally," the guitarist told the Daily Star. "The fact that we produce, bottle and sell alcohol is totally independent of this. It is completely up to you whether you drink or not. And I think I can sell what I want. If I were a diabetic, that wouldn’t mean that I couldn’t sell sweets.”

"Blackened" is an American whiskey in conjunction with master distiller Dave Pickerell, and was first announced by the band in 2018. Metallica shared the news that Hetfield was returning to rehab a little over a year later in September of 2019, which resulted in the cancelation of their tour in Australia and New Zealand with Slipknot.

Hetfield made his first few post-rehab public appearances in the beginning of 2020, including a performance at an Eddie Money tribute show. Metallica had some tour plans throughout the year, which were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In May, the rockers announced a limited edition "Blackened" whiskey and a vinyl box set.

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