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Iron Smoke Distillery music collaboration produces 120-proof bourbon whiskey

Rock the Barrel will be released in a limited batch on Monday, May 3rd noon via online purchase at Iron Smoke’s website. (provided)
Rock the Barrel will be released in a limited batch on Monday, May 3rd at noon via online purchase at Iron Smoke’s website. (provided)

Fairport’s Iron Smoke Distillery has partnered with legendary Dream Theater guitarist John Petrucci on a signature bourbon, Rock the Barrel.

The 120 proof bourbon whiskey joins Iron Smoke’s collection of award-winning bourbon whiskeys created by Master Distiller Drew Westcott. In 2018, Iron Smoke was rated a 95.5 in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible and in 2019 was listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the 10 Best Bourbons Beyond Kentucky.

“We take the craft of making whiskey just as seriously as John takes appreciating a truly good bourbon,” said Iron Smoke Co-Founder Tommy Brunett. “This collaboration is proof of that – 120 proof.”

Petrucci, a founding member of the two-time Grammy-nominated progressive metal band Dream Theater, drove to the Finger Lakes to taste-test Iron Smoke’s cask strength, which refers to whisky that is not diluted with water. He then hand-picked each of the barrels that were combined for the bourbon blend.

“As soon as I tasted Iron Smoke’s cask strength I knew I wanted to partner with this distillery,” Petrucci said. “I take a craftsmanship approach with everything I do — whether it’s my guitar playing or the people I surround myself with. I care about details and caring to the fullest is what makes something great. Iron Smoke takes the same approach and that is why we forged what we consider the perfect relationship.”

Rock the Barrel will be released in a limited batch on Monday, May 3rd at noon via online purchase at Iron Smoke’s website. Each bottle comes with a limited edition “All Access Laminate” including a unique, redeemable merchandise code. The laminate also gives purchasers exclusive access to a live tasting with Petrucci and Brunett. Each bottle will retail at $200.

Brunett also is an accomplished musician, having played guitar with the 1980s band Modern English. He has written and produced several albums and regularly performs with the Tommy Brunett Band. He said it was destiny that brought Petrucci and Iron Smoke together for the collaboration.

“To join an award-winning distillery with one of the world’s greatest guitarists – it’s an amazing combination,” Brunett said. “There’s nothing like the age-old combo of bourbon and rock n’ roll. They go together like Elvis on velvet and we are more excited than a pack of weasels in a hen house.”

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Belly up to a new whiskey festival in September

Selling out their Buffalo event in January wasn’t enough for the Tommyrotter Distillery and

The distillery and event promoter from the Queen City are bringing their act on the road to Rochester, with the Rochester Whiskey Riot Festival Sept. 15. The festival will allow participants to sample up to 80 different whiskeys, made by Tommyrotter and other distilleries from other parts of the country and abroad.

Promoters say “Whiskey Riot celebrates and encourages education on the storied history, production, and experience of whiskey and all its varieties.” Seminars at the event will be led by Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distillery and Scotland’s The Macallan.

The partners are also offering another Whiskey Riot in Buffalo, scheduled for Sept. 29 at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. They’ll be in Albany Oct. 28 at the Desmond Hotel.

The Rochester event will be held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, 4 to 7 p.m., Sept. 15. Tickets cost $45 and include a souvenir tasting glass, tastings, access to seminars and three pop-up bars serving whiskey cocktails. The bars will be sponsored by Tommyrotter Distillery, Highland Park Distillery from the Scottish Island of Orkney, and Four Roses Bourbon from Kentucky. The event will include a disc jockey, vendors and food for purchase.

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