Blackened “S84 Shade to Black” by Drew Estate Now Available to All Retailers Nationwide

Following the resounding success of Drew Estate’s partnership with BLACKENED Whiskey on BLACKENED Cigars “M81 Maduro to the Core” in 2022, Drew Estate announces the new, Connecticut Shade wrapped brand release and shipping of BLACKENED “S84 Shade to Black.” The cigars are a passion project between Rob Dietrich, the Master Distiller & Blender of BLACKENED Whiskey; James Hetfield, Metallica co-founder, singer and guitarist; and Jonathan Drew, Founder and President of Drew Estate.

Hetfield and Dietrich worked closely with Drew, a friend of Dietrich’s for over a decade, to create the perfect blend for the cigar. The “BLACKENED S84 Shade to Black” takes aficionados on a nuanced journey with its deliciously smooth and inviting blend. Wrapped in a luxurious Connecticut Ecuador cover leaf, the consumer experience of this expression is distinctly different from the original – while still retaining foundational qualities of M81 due to the Connecticut River Valley Broadleaf Maduro binder and Nicaraguan Maduro and Pennsylvania Broadleaf Maduro filler leaves.

James Hetfield of Metallica shares his excitement stating, “‘Shade to Black’ is more than just a cigar for us, it’s a celebration of passion and a tribute to the craftsman who strives for excellence in their lives.”

Echoing this sentiment, Rob Dietrich, Master Distiller and Blender of BLACKENED Whiskey, adds, “This collaboration of artistry just keeps kicking the door in on innovation! The ‘S84 Shade to Black’ is a powerhouse of a cigar, and there are times where vision and reality not only coexist, but thrive to excel and change the very landscape of an industry. This is that kind of cigar! It is a flavorful tango of the palate, balancing the easy taste of the Connecticut Shade wrapper with the rich maduro of the binder and filler. I couldn’t be more honored to work with such like-minded creators, and I think once the world has tasted this epic cigar, people will agree that there is a dynamic new player in the Blackened Drew Estate line-up!”

Jonathan Drew, Founder and President of Drew Estate exclaims, “I just walked inside our humidor here at headquarters and viewed the new white Blackened box sitting alongside the original black Maduro. All I can say is ‘WOW!!’ It’s so in your face, I love it. The new S84 Shade to Black is a must-try for any Connecticut Shade smoker. It’s like a deep, dark, rich Connecticut that’s smooth as silky velvet, plush with triple plushness. Rob Dietrich, Blackened’s Master Distiller, has been one of my best friends for almost 15 years. He brought Hetfield into the mix and I brought Willy and the DE brand team. This project is dope. We’re having fun with it.”

Presented in elegantly designed, 20-count boxes, BLACKENED “S84 Shade to Black” by Drew Estate is available in the same beloved sizes as M81: Robusto (5 x 50), Toro (6 x 52), Corona Doble (7 x 50), and Corona (5 x 43). The new “S84 Shade to Black” is now available to all retailers across the United States, marking a significant expansion in distribution from the exclusive Drew Diplomat Program availability of its Maduro predecessor, “M81”, with MSRPs of $195/box or $9.75/cigar for the Corona; $200/box or $10.00/cigar for the Robusto; $210/box or $10.50 /cigar for the Toro; and $220/box or $11.00/cigar for the Corona Doble.


Established in 2018, Sweet Amber Distilling Co. is a producer of hand-crafted spirits. Helmed by Co-Founder and CEO John Bilello, Sweet Amber launched with the creation of BLACKENED® – a masterful collaboration between late whiskey luminary Dave Pickerell and rock icons Metallica, which is now available in all 50 states and parts of Canada, with plans to expand rapidly. In 2019, Rob Dietrich took the helm as Master Distiller & Blender, introducing new expressions like Rye The Lightning™, which was celebrated as one of the 20 best whiskies in the world in 2022 by Whisky Advocate. Sweet Amber is a nimble, dynamic organization that is completely virtual, allowing a greater flexibility, efficiency, and geographic coverage across the U.S. with depth of experience in the spirits and music industries.


Rob Dietrich is the Master Distiller & Blender of BLACKENED® Whiskey, and the former Master Distiller for Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey. Rob has more than 15 years in the industry and gained notoriety during his time at Stranahan’s for producing unique, award-winning whiskies such as the limited edition, cask-finished Snowflake, and more recently, the Master of Whiskey series with BLACKENED. Rob is responsible for every aspect of production and is committed to not only maintaining the original recipe of Blackened, using artisanal methods and a handcrafted approach, but is also dedicated to creating contemporary and unique world-class whiskey. Rob Dietrich initially learned the art and science of distilling from legendary distiller Jess Graber whom he proudly calls his mentor. His passion for music was honed across 10 years spent in the music business, beginning with working with Bill Graham Presents, and also as a freelance agent for a variety of venues like Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater and The Fillmore in San Francisco and Denver, as well as producing and managing many tours and festivals. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army’s 10th Mountain Division and served from 1992 to 1995. His two tours in Somalia as well as relief operations in Haiti helped shape his life-affirming philosophy.


Formed in 1981 by vocalist/guitarist James Hetfield and drummer Lars Ulrich and including guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo, Metallica has become one of the most influential and successful rock bands in history, selling nearly 125 million albums worldwide and generating more than 17 billion streams while playing to millions of fans on all seven continents—more than 1.3 million of whom belong to the band’s fiercely loyal and consistently growing Fifth Member fan club. Metallica’s catalog of multi-platinum studio albums includes Kill ‘Em All, Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets, …And Justice for All, Metallica (commonly referred to as The Black Album), Load, Reload, St. Anger, Death Magnetic, Hardwired…to Self-Destruct, and most recently the Grammy-winning 72 Seasons, released April 14, 2023 on the band’s own Blackened Recordings label. Metallica’s awards and accolades include nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, multiple MTV Video Music Awards, a 2009 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and Sweden’s Polar Music Prize. In 2017, Metallica established the All Within My Hands Foundation to give back to communities that have supported the band. To date, All Within My Hands’ collective efforts have raised nearly $15 million – providing $8.2 million in grants to career and technical education programs, over $3.6 million to combat food insecurity, and more than $3.5 million to disaster relief efforts.


Founded in 1996 in the DUMBO neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, Drew Estate has single handedly defined modern day cigar culture through a hard-hitting, authentic, bottom-up approach to lifestyle branding and culture building. Our mission and manifesto is “The Rebirth of Cigars,” which we amplify through our uncanny authenticity, high energy and through deeply-loved brands produced from La Gran Fabrica Drew Estate in Estelí, Nicaragua, such as: ACID, 20 Acre Farm, Deadwood, Factory Smokes, Herrera Estelí, Isla del Sol, Kentucky Fire Cured, Liga Privada, Nica Rustica, Pappy Van Winkle Barrel Fermented Cigars, Tabak Especial and Undercrown; and the celebrated Barn Smoker, Cigar Safari and Freestyle Live experiential events. Learn more about our story and our brands by visiting Drew Estate.

Share This Post