WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now completing our 10th year, each weekly episode brings you the latest in whisky news, along with the latest events, tasting notes, comments from other listeners, and the weekly “In-Depth” segment features interviews with the people who help make whisky the “water of life”.
One of Scotland’s newest distilleries opened its doors for the first time to visitors this week, though opportunities to visit InchDairnie Distillery in Fife will be few and far between. The state-of-the-art distillery will produce two different styles of malt whiskies – one for blending and one for use in its own single malts that won’t be bottled until at least 2029, if founder Ian Palmer has his way. We’ll take a tour of InchDairnie with Ian Palmer on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth and uncover more of InchDairnie’s mysteries. In the news, WhistlePig Farm is in the middle of a dispute as founder Raj Bhakta is asking a Delaware court to block a vote by dissident investors to remove him. We’ll have the details, along with the sudden departure of MGP master distiller Greg Metze after 38 years at the Indiana distillery and the rest of the week’s headlines. We’ll also have some of your responses to last week’s question – what’s the most you’ve ever spent on a bottle of whisky?
Links: InchDairnie Distillery | WhistlePig Rye | Burlington Free Press | MGP Ingredients | Jura | Four Roses | Paddy Irish Whiskey | Sazerac | Buffalo Trace | 1792 Barton | Scotch Whisky Association | The Macallan | The Glenturret | Douglas Laing & Co. | Whiskey: A Spirited Story | Glenmorangie | Kilchoman
Booker Noe passed away in 2004, but some of the whiskey he laid down shortly before his death is adding a new chapter to his legacy. This past week, Booker’s son Fred filled the first bottle of Booker’s Rye, an experimental whiskey only Booker and a handful of people at Jim Beam knew about for many years – and discovered long after his passing. It’s one of two new whiskies that help make up what we’re unofficially calling the “Booker Noe Trilogy” along with the 25th Anniversary edition of Booker’s from 2014, and we’ll talk about it with Fred Noe on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we’ll have the latest on new whiskies from around the world, and one of the whiskies in this week’s tasting notes may “enlighten” you a bit…
Links: Booker’s | Knob Creek | Chivas Brothers | InchDairnie Distillery | Rebecca Creek | Nikka | Suntory | Glenmorangie | Johnnie Walker | Buffalo Trace | Compass Box | Mars Whisky | Benromach
Jonathan Drew wants to take his success in the cigar business and expand into the spirits industry, and he plans to do it with the same unique style and drive that turned Drew Estate into a cult favorite among cigar lovers – including fans of the Pappy Van Winkle-branded cigars. His John Drew Brands range is heading to market with a Canadian Rye whisky, a rum, and his Brixton Mash Destroyer – a blend of Bourbon and rum. We’ll meet Jonathan Drew on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with tasting notes for his rye whisky. In the news, Jim Rutledge and his partners have pulled the plug on the crowdfunding campaign for their new distillery after just five days, and he’ll explain the reasons why. Another historic Kentucky distillery is being earmarked for restoration, while one of Ireland’s historic whiskey brands is about to be sold and a distillery strike in Canada has come to an end.
Links: John Drew Brands | Pappy & Co. | J.W. Rutledge Distillery | James E. Pepper | Paddy Irish Whiskey | Crown Royal | Canadian Club | Hillrock Estate | 1792 Bourbon | Cooper Spirits | Glenfiddich | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Jim Beam | Shelter Point Distillery | Cooper River Distillers
The other night, Louisville’s Haymarket Whiskey Bar held a “Jim Rutledge Tribute Night” to honor the retired Four Roses master distiller. Less than 24 hours later, Jim announced his plans to come out of retirement and start a $2 million crowdfunding campaign to build a new distillery near Louisville. We’ll talk with Jim about his new project on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Brown-Forman is back in the Scotch Whisky business after 11 years with a $416 million deal to buy the BenRiach Distillery Company from Billy Walker and his partners, Compass Box is hoping to “enlighten” those who oppose transparency in Scotch whisky with two new bottlings, and Cleveland Whiskey’s Tom Lix is using his “magic” maturation machine for a new range of finished whiskies.
Links: J.W. Rutledge Distillery | Brown-Forman | The BenRiach Distillery Company | Compass Box | The Glenrothes | Wemyss Malts | Sagamore Spirit Distillery | Cleveland Whiskey | Monmouth Whisky Club | Trail’s End Bourbon | Yellowstone Bourbon | Michter’s
Paul Hletlko is one of the leaders in North America’s craft distilling movement, and the founder of FEW Spirits is in the middle of a distillery expansion that will triple his annual spirits production – in the heart of what was once the capital of America’s temperance movement. We’ll talk with Paul Hletko on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, and look at some of the highlights from this week’s Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America convention and Independent Spirits Expo in Las Vegas during the news. Finally, we’ll listen as one of today’s hottest country music stars – and a budding whisky entrepreneur – pays tribute to Prince shortly after the music icon’s death this week.
Links: FEW Spirits | Scotch Whisky Association | Balcones Distilling | Sierra Norte Whiskey | Independent Spirits Expo | Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America | Glencadam | Rampur Single Malt Whisky | John Drew Brands |That Boutique-y Whisky Company | Douglas Laing & Co. | Michter’s | Maker’s Mark | Kikori Whiskey | Egan’s | Virginia Black | Las Vegas Distillery
Japan’s Hombo Shuzo has been making whiskies off and on since 1949, and the company’s whisky heritage claims a critical link to Masataka Taketsuru, the “father of Japanese whisky.” Now, Hombo Shuzo’s Mars whiskies are back for good, and the company is beginning construction of a new distillery on the site of its original Kagoshima distillery on the southern tip of Japan while producing whisky full-time at its Shinshu distillery near Nagano. Mars whiskies are now starting to reach the US market, and will be available soon in Europe … we’ll discuss these developments with Hombo Shuzo’s Saki Umemara and Eric Swanson of Tokiwa Imports on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Kentucky’s governor has signed a new law that loosens up some of the limits on the state’s distillery visitor centers, Diageo is releasing several new North American whiskies, and there’s no Canadian content in a Canadian celebrity’s new whisky! We’ll also share a special moment with you as a new Keeper of the Quaich finds out about his nomination!
Links: Mars Whisky | Tokiwa Imports | Kentucky Distillers Association | Bulleit Bourbon | Crown Royal | Diageo | Just-Drinks.com | The Globe & Mail | Brown-Forman | Kilchoman | ImPex Beverages | That Boutique-y Whisky Company | Keepers of the Quaich
The Whisky Sponge has been puncturing egos and tweaking the Scotch Whisky industry with impunity – and relative anonymity – for nearly three years, but on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, the Sponge publicly reveals his true identity for the first time. We don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it’s not “Jill Bumsden” and especially not “Dark Mollesty”!
In the news, Luxco’s plans for another Bourbon distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky have been confirmed as the longtime blender and bottler tries to lock in whiskey supplies for the future … Crown Royal’s distillery strike could last well into the summer … and we’ll look at the results of two recent whisky competitions.
Links: The Whisky Sponge | Luxco | Blood Oath | Crown Royal | UFCW Canada Local 832 | Pure Scot | Bladnoch | American Distilling Institute | San Francisco World Spirits Competition | Highland Park | Ardbeg | Laphroaig
A lot of trends come out of Portland, Oregon…and while the craft distilling movement didn’t originate there, Portland’s House Spirits helped jump-start the industry when Christian Krogstad started making gin, aquavit, and whisky in 2004. Last November, House Spirits moved into an all-new distillery with a goal of making its Westward Oregon Straight Malt Whisky a leader in the emerging American Single Malt category. Tom Mooney is president of House Spirits, and is also wrapping up a year as president of the American Craft Spirits Association. We’ll talk with him on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Islay is mourning the passing of Kilchoman Distillery’s John MacLellan, legislation to ease some of the restrictions on visitors centers at Kentucky’s distilleries is headed for the Governor’s desk, and we’ll have details on a single malt matured in a cask first used for chili pepper sauce. No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke!
Links: House Spirits | Kilchoman | John MacLellan Tribute Fund | United Spirits | Scotch Whisky Association | Walsh Whiskey Distillery | Brewdog/Lone Wolf | Anchor Distilling | Bruichladdich | Benromach | anCnoc | Douglas Laing & Co. | Woodford Reserve | Westland Distillery | American Craft Spirits Association
You’ll see a lot of businesses with the “& Son” as part of the name, but rarely do we see businesses with “& Daughter” – let alone “& Daughters.” The Last Drop doesn’t have that in its name, but it has something more…Beanie Espey and Rebecca Jago have taken over the day-to-day management of the company from their fathers, longtime Scotch Whisky industry figures James Espey and Tom Jago. We’ll talk with Beanie Espey about that transition and the latest Last Drop release – a 50-year-old double-matured blended Scotch – on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also look at the resurgence of Rye whiskey among Pennsylvania’s craft distillers as they reclaim the state’s distilling heritage that dates back to Colonial times, along with the details on Whistlepig Farm’s newest release, a 15-year-old Rye finished in casks made from oak trees that came from the farm in Vermont. We’ll also have the story of one man’s goal to taste 366 drams in 366 days – on video, and for a good cause.
Links: The Last Drop | American Whiskey Convention | Bluebird Distilling | Dad’s Hat | Deer Creek Malthouse | Manatawny Still Works | Wigle Distillery | WhistlePig | Michter’s | Spey | Douglas Laing & Co. | Jameson | LBL Moonshine | San Francisco World Spirits Competition | A Dram A Day
After two years of victories for Pacific Rim whiskies, a single malt Scotch is back on top of the World Whiskies Awards. Old Pulteney’s 1989 Vintage was named “World’s Best Single Malt Whisky” in Whisky Magazine’s annual World Whiskies Awards. Thursday night’s announcement caused celebrations at the distillery in Wick and Inver House’s main offices near Edinburgh. We’ll discuss the results of this year’s competition with judging panel chairman Neil Ridley, along with his plans to launch a new line of independent bottlings at the end of this month with his business partner under the “Exile Casks” brand. In the news, Heaven Hill takes “Distiller of the Year” in the Icons of Whisky Awards, Ardbeg shines some light on its new Dark Cove malt, and High West releases a “light” whiskey.
Links: World Whiskies Awards | Old Pulteney | Icons of Whisky Awards | Heaven Hill | Scotch Whisky Association | Arran | Ardbeg | BenRiach | High West | Smooth Ambler | Brenne Whisky