WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 9th 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”.

Episode 550: August 29, 2015

Two Gingers founder Kieran Folliard at The Local in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie. Kieran Folliard is a native son of Ireland, but calls Minnesota his home now. While running a group of Irish pubs in Minneapolis, he and his staff decided they should sell their own special Irish whiskey. Two Gingers became so successful in the pubs that Folliard decided to sell his stake in the pubs to his staff and make a go of Two Gingers, which was named for his mother and aunt back in Ireland. He wound up selling his brand to Beam, while retaining control over the day-to-day management. We’ll hear more from this Irish entrepreneur on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Heaven Hill’s hoping to raise more money for ALS treatment and research with the 2015 Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey and Old Forester honors its founder with the annual Birthday Bourbon. In Scotland, Royal Brackla finally gets its due as a single malt, Edinburgh could soon have its first malt whisky distillery in 90 years, and a forgotten time capsule yields a really old bottle of whisky!


Links: Two Gingers | Heaven Hill | Old Forester | Limestone Branch | Last Great Malts of Scotland | Bonhams | Woodzee | Bunnahabhain | Four Roses | Karuizawa 1983 Nepal Appeal

Leave a response

Episode 549: August 22, 2015

Westland Distillery in Seattle, Washington. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.Many American craft distillers produce single malt whiskies, but Seattle’s Westland Distillery is one of the few that only produces single malts. The distillery in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood also produces one of the few peated American single malts, and while Westland is currently importing peated malt from Scotland, that’s about to change. The distillery has exclusive rights to one of the only harvestable peat bogs in the Pacific Northwest, and is working with Skagit Valley farmers and a local malting house to produce Washington-grown peated malt for distilling. We’ll visit the distillery — and the peat bog — on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Four Roses’ Jim Rutledge goes out with a bang, Bowmore goes to Japan for its latest cask finish, and we’ll go bottom-shelf in this week’s tasting notes.


Links: Westland Distillery | Four Roses | Bowmore | Fujikai | William Grant & Sons | Binny’s | Spec’s Liquors | BevMo | Total Wine & More | Gordon & MacPhail | Kingsbarns | Puni | Stoll & Wolfe  | Johnnie Walker | Trader Joe’s | Rebel Yell

Leave a response

Episode 548: August 17, 2015

"Bourbon Curious" by Fred Minnick. Image courtesy Zenith Press.The “Bourbon Boom” has led to a corresponding boom in the publishing industry, with almost as many new Bourbon books as there are Bourbons on the market. Fred Minnick’s second whisky book, “Bourbon Curious” not only shares some of the history behind many Bourbon brands, but breaks down many of them by flavor characteristics to help new Bourbon fans find the whiskies they’re most likely to enjoy.

Fred’s based in Louisville, and keeps a close eye on the Bourbon industry. On this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, we sat down over drams to discuss his book and the state of Bourbon today, including the growing interest among distillers in using technology to do what only time has been proven to do successfully…create a mature whisky.

In the news, longtime Burn Stewart whisky guru Ian Macmillan is leaving to become Bladnoch’s new master distiller and blender as part of that distillery’s revival, the still maker under scrutiny following April’s distillery explosion in Kentucky is keeping quiet, and we’ll have a roundup of the week’s new whiskies.


Links: FredMinnick.com | Silver Trail Distillery | Revenoor StillsBladnoch | The Whisky Show London Nepal Appeal Whisky | Shetland Reel | Douglas Laing & Co. | Sullivan’s Cove | Catoctin Creek | Dalwhinnie | Jameson | Jack Daniel’s 

Leave a response

Episode 547: August 8, 2015

Silver Trail Distillery founder Spencer Balentine looks over the concrete slab where his moonshine still stood until an explosion April 24, 2015. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.This week, we’re on location at the M.B. Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky for a special benefit to raise money for the Lifting Spirits – Jay & Kyle Rogers Support Fund. Jay and Kyle were critically burned in the April 24th still explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin, Kentucky, and while Kyle died of his injuries two weeks later, Jay is well on the road to recovery. He and Silver Trail founder Spencer Balentine will share their stories of that tragic day and the weeks since then with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also hear from M.B. Roland co-founder Paul Tomaszewski on why he and his wife opened their distillery to help Silver Trail get back in business.

In the news, another suspect has pleaded guilty in the Kentucky Bourbon theft ring, Nashville’s Corsair Artisan Distillery is expanding again in the Tennessee capital, another new Irish distillery has opened, and a 110-year-old New Jersey woman credits her longevity to a dram and three beers a day for the last 70 years!


Links: “Lifting Spirits” Fund | Silver Trail Distillery | M.B. Roland Distillery | Corsair Artisan Distillery | Kings County Distillery | Great Northern Distillery | Suntory | A. Smith Bowman | Templeton Rye Settlement | Edinburgh Whisky Ltd. | American Craft Spirits Association | Tomatin

Leave a response

Episode 546: August 1, 2015

Scotland’s Bladnoch Distillery will be 200 years old in 2017, but for more than a year, it was fair to question whether one of the oldest Lowlands distilleries would be around for that milestone. The questions about Bladnoch’s future have been answered with the distillery’s sale to Australian entrepreneur David Prior, who’s making a “substantial investment” in equipment upgrades with plans to resume distilling in 12 to 18 months. We caught up with Prior in Bali during a combination business and surfing trip to discuss his plans for Bladnoch, including a release this fall of vintage casks maturing in the distillery’s warehouses. He’ll also explain why he decided to buy a distillery in Scotland instead of investing in Australia’s growing whisky industry. In the news, investigators have released their report on the Silver Trail Distillery explosion in Kentucky, while the state’s distillers are using the tragedy to start a new safety initiative. We’ll also have details on two new distillery projects in Kentucky, a reprieve for a French distillery, and the week’s new whiskies.


Links: Bladnoch | Kentucky State Fire Marshal| Silver Trail Distillery | Revenoor Stills | Kentucky Distillers Association | Dueling Barrels Brewing & Distilling | TerrePure | Maker’s Mark | Kazerouni Law Group | Glann ar Mor | Tullamore D.E.W. | Tomatin | Last Drop Distillers | Rogue | WhistlePig Rye | The Pogues Irish Whiskey | Old Pogue Distillery | Green Spot | Scapa | MGP Ingredients

Leave a response

Episode 545: July 25, 2015

A Bourbon warehouse at Kentucky's Buffalo Trace Distillery. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.The history of Bourbon is filled with enough myths to make a dozen Disney movies, enough crimes for years of True Detective, and enough mysteries to make Sherlock Holmes hang up his deerstalker cap. In part two of our conversation with “Bourbon Empire” author Reid Mitenbuler, we’ll look at the crimes, corruption, and prejudice that are part of Bourbon’s past, as well as the resurgence of craft distilling and other factors that give Bourbon a bright future. In the news, Brown-Forman has started work on its new Old Forester Distillery on Louisville’s Whiskey Row two weeks after a four-alarm fire threatened the $45 million dollar project, Utah’s High West has opened its new distillery outside of Park City, and a rock group is lending its name to a new Irish whiskey.


Links: Reid Mitenbuler | Templeton Rye | Old Forester | Woodford Reserve | High West | MGP | Maker’s Mark | The Pogues | West Cork Distillers | PowersIrish Whiskey Collection | The Glenrothes | Blackadder | International Wine & Spirit Competition | Aberlour | 1792 Bourbon

Leave a response

Episode 544: July 19, 2015

"Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey" by Reid Mitenbuler. Image courtesy Viking Books.Bourbon has a unique place in American history, but as with other elements of American history…many of the stories of Bourbon are based more on myth and legend than actual facts, and the truth often gets lost over decades of marketing mythology. Reid Mitenbuler debunks many of the myths and provides historical context in his book “Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America’s Whiskey.” He’ll share some of his stories with us in the first of a two-part interview on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, a more recent whiskey tale will cost Templeton Rye thousands of dollars in refunds and legal fees after the Iowa company settled three class-action lawsuits in what Templeton Rye co-founder Keith Kerkhoff called “legalized stealing.” Scottish National Party activists want the Edinburgh government to intervene in the Scotch Whisky industry to keep more profits in Scotland, and we’ll have details on new whiskies from Jack Daniel’s, The Famous Grouse, The Dalmore, Pendleton, and more!


Links: Reid Mitenbuler | Herald Scotland | Scotch Whisky Association | Jack Daniel’s | The Famous Grouse | Scapa | The Dalmore | Bonnie Rose | Pendleton | Tales of the Cocktail | Aberdeen Press & Journal | Evan Williams | Hudson Whiskey

Leave a response

Episode 543: July 11, 2015

A behind-the-scenes view of Craigellachie Distillery in Scotland. Photo ©2014 by Mark Gillespie.There are dozens of stakeholders in the Scotch Whisky industry, and while they do work together on a few key fronts, their competitive nature makes it difficult to set aside their own needs for the common good. Victor Brierley is on a one-man mission to change all that with an ambitious dream of creating a unified marketing platform for Scotch Whisky. He’ll share his plans with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, sparks from a construction worker’s tool are being blamed for this week’s Whiskey Row fire in Louisville, while high winds get the blame for tearing roofs off two Heaven Hill warehouses in Bardstown. We’ll also have word on new whiskies from Johnnie Walker and Kininvie, along with tasting notes for a collaboration between four craft distillers.


Links: Liquor to LipsBrown-Forman | Main Street Revitalization | Heaven Hill | Kentucky Distillers Association | UNESCO | Johnnie Walker | Kininvie | Dewar’s | BenRiach | Diageo | M.B. Roland Distillery Amrut | Single Cask NationCorsair Artisan Distillery | Few Spirits | Journeyman Distillery | Mississippi River Distilling Company  | Jefferson’s Reserve

Leave a response

Episode 542: July 4, 2015

Four Roses Master Distiller Jim Rutledge. Image courtesy Four Roses Distillery.Jim Rutledge gets most of the credit for reviving Four Roses Bourbon in the US over the last decade after years of neglect by the brand’s previous owners, who shipped the distillery’s high-quality Bourbon to export markets while giving domestic consumers a cheaply blended Four Roses American Whiskey instead. This week, Rutledge announced his plans to retire September 1 after 49 years with Seagram and Four Roses, and will become the distillery’s Master Distiller Emeritus. We’ll talk with Jim about his plans for the future, and how the success of Four Roses in recent years came with a personal cost. We’ll also talk about whisky and food with award-winning chef David Bouley, discuss Suntory’s new Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky with blender Shinji Fukuyo, and preview the upcoming Harlem Whiskey Festival.


Links: Four Roses | Bouley | Suntory Whisky | The Balvenie | Tullibardine | Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky | Glann ar Mor | Bruichladdich | Heaven Hill | Diageo | Scotch Whisky Association | Sidney Frank Importing Company | Beam Suntory | Harlem Whiskey Festival | Jim Beam | Crown Royal | Smooth Ambler | Spirit of America Bourbon

Leave a response

Episode 541: June 27, 2015

Diageo warehouse workers compete in the 2013 World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Photo ©2013 by Mark Gillespie.Just as whisky brands need to change things up once in a while to remain fresh, so do whisky festivals. Tickets have gone on sale for this September’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and while most of the changes this year are taking place behind the scenes, next year’s 25th edition of the festival should look very different. We’ll talk with the Bourbon Festival’s new executive director, Jill Hawkins, on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Silver Trail Distillery’s Jay Rogers is back home two months after the explosion that destroyed the distillery, Heaven Hill is planning to expand the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville to avoid Bourbon shortages in the future while introducing a new/old Rye whiskey, Chivas Brothers opens the Dalmunach Distillery in Speyside, and Prince Charles visits Islay to help Ardbeg and Laphroaig celebrate their 200th anniversaries.


Links: Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Silver Trail Distillery | M.B. Roland Distillery | Heaven Hill | Evan Williams | Pikesville Rye | Woodford Reserve | Corsair Artisan Distillery | Few Spirits | Journeyman Distillery | Mississippi River Distilling Company | Kilchoman | Ardbeg | Laphroaig | Chivas Regal | Chivas Brothers | Master of Malt | Jameson’s “Drinking Buddies” | The Glenrothes

Leave a response