Whiskey In the Can – Grado Labs New Headphones


So what do you do with old whiskey barrels? If you’re John Grado, you make $395 headphones out of them.



Even though Grado’s cans are always made of wood, using whiskey-soaked white oak for the Bushmills x Grado headphones posed a unique challenge.  The wood is brittle and early prototypes tended to crack.  The solution was to develop a tuning-fork like mass of wood placed behind the drivers to give the cans more stoutness, which also makes them sound better.  Adding the Bushmills name meant that a closed-back design was required, leaving it “vented” instead to help create that natural sound Grado is famous for.

Like most in the industry, Grado Labs is confident in their sound, but unlike many, they tend to eschew super fancy product endorsements or tie-ins to build their brand. However, after listening to the wood out of the barrels, Grado felt like a partnership was worth it.  However, Mario Aguilar of Gizmodo feels that, “for all their sonic excellence, the Bushmills x Grado headphones will appeal primarily to aesthetes.”  It doesn’t hurt, though, that enjoying a nip or two of Irish spirits while listening to great music is an age-old tradition.



  • limited edition Bushmills x Grado custom collab headphones
  • designed by Elijah Wood & Zach Cowie
  • crafted from recycled white oak bodies from the wood of old barrels from Bushmills Distillery in Ireland
  • legendary Grado sound
  • vented back design representing a first in Grado headphone history
  • custom brown leather headband
  • wooden outer box
  • lab exclusive


  • transducer type – dynamic
  • operating principle – vented back
  • frequency response – 16hz to 26kHz
  • spl at 1mW – 98dB
  • nominal impedance – 32 ohms
  • driver match – .05dB

 Audiogoners, what do you think? Gimmicky or would you be interested in hearing them?


source: Aguilar, Mario. “€‹Grado Labs Made Gorgeous Cans Out of Irish Whiskey Barrels.”Gizmodo. Gizmodo, 04 Dec. 2013. Web.

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