You could make the case that few things go together — pun intended — quite as well as whiskey and hard-charging rock music. Bottle them both up and you’ve got a match made in heaven, as is the case with new FEW Motor Oil Whiskey, released just in time to celebrate indie rock outfit Black Rebel Motorcycle Club‘s debut album hitting legal drinking age.
The simply named B.R.M.C. hit like a sonic kick in the all-too-quiet rock landscape at the time, with swagger, volume and sinister guitars all in the mix, quite literally.
Plug in and find yourself floored by a sound that’s still uncommon in the music landscape — and perhaps pair your listening experience with an uncommonly good whiskey.
It’s not unlike the bold approach to crafting FEW’s latest music-inspired whiskey, which plays off a long-running band joke and is delivered in an eye-catching bottle with band-inspired label art.
In the past, the Evanston, Illinois-based FEW has worked with similarly innovative acts like The Flaming Lips on limited-edition whiskey.
“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,” said BRMC founding member and bassist Robert Levon Been.
Drummer Leah Shapiro and founding member and multi-instrumentalist Peter Hayes join Been on stage and in the whiskey development process — the trio just wrapped up a summer tour supporting fellow hard rockers The Cult, and one imagines whiskey was in no short supply on the road.
Thankfully, the watchful guidance of FEW Spirits Founder and Master Distiller Paul Hletko yielded much more drinkable, pleasant-yet-still bold results beyond something you’d use as auto fuel.
The highly collaborative process of developing a hard-rocking whiskey was not unlike that of crafting a song, with the trio testing out samples and providing feedback virtually through the pandemic to hit just the right notes.
Hletko, a fan of the band since its debut album, said FEW “jumped at that chance” to work with BRMC.
“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?” Hletko said, noting that he was inspired by visions of a cross-country motorcycle ride – naturally, ending in the band’s hometown of San Francisco. “But what does that sound like, and taste like, and what kind of feelings are evoked by that ride?”
The finished product draws from a fitting wellspring of inspiration, blending rum and vermouth barrel-aged FEW whiskey with mesquite-smoked wheat whiskey for a full-flavored, complex spirit that harnesses everything from grassy, sweet notes to heavy mesquite smoke.
Suffice to say, both the band and FEW Spirits think the final cut more than passes muster.
“This project went so far beyond anything we had in mind,” Been said. “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.”
Similar to fast-selling, high-voltage concert tickets, FEW Spirits Motor Oil Whiskey won’t hang around for long — only 1,800 bottles are available, priced to sell at $60. We’d urge you to plug in, tune up and pour yourself a glass.