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 536: May 23, 2015

Benromach Distillery's Keith Cruickshank. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.Gordon & MacPhail reopened Benromach Distillery in Speyside in 1998 after 15 years of inactivity, and Keith Cruickshank has been there since the stills were fired up. After two years as a stillman, he was promoted to distillery manager, and remains one of the three men who tend the stills at Benromach. He’ll take us on a tour of the distillery on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, a lawsuit has been filed in connection with last month’s explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Kentucky, and we have the first interview with the man who built Silver Trail’s still and now faces a product liability lawsuit, Terry Wilhelm of Revenoor Stills. Five of the nine people indicted last month in connection with the Kentucky Bourbon thefts appeared in court this week, and a tenth person has been indicted on charges she looked the other way as whiskey was being stolen from Buffalo Trace. We’ll also have a roundup of the week’s new whiskies, including several Feis Ile festival bottlings.


Links: Benromach | Silver Trail Distillery | Revenoor Stills | Wild Turkey | Buffalo Trace | Kilchoman | Lagavulin | Caol Ila | Arran | Isle of Harris Distillery | The Artisan Restaurant & Whisky Bar | Ardbeg | Barrelhound 

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Episode 535: May 16, 2015

"The Art of American Whiskey" by Noah Rothbaum. Image courtesy Ten Speed Press.The labels on whisky bottles often give us more than just the legal description of what’s inside the bottle. Good ones convey the character and heritage of the spirit…perhaps even a sense of what it tastes like. Author Noah Rothbaum has been looking at whisky labels from before Prohibition to the present day, and picked 100 of them for his new book “The Art of American Whiskey.” He’ll share the story behind the book in this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, one of the victims of last month’s Silver Trail Distillery explosion has died, distillers in Ireland have ambitious plans for the future, and we’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies along with tasting notes for the new Glenmorangie Duthac, the Ben Nevis 10-year-old single malt, and the new Compass Box Hedonism Quindecimus.


Links: “The Art of American Whiskey” | Silver Trail Distillery | Kentucky Distillers Association | “Lifting Spirits: Jay & Kyle Rogers Support Fund” | Irish Whiskey Association | Walsh Whiskey Distillery | Irish Water | Ardbeg | Glenmorangie | Wemyss Malts | Deanston | Ledaig | Creative Whisky Company | Wild Turkey | The Whisky Shop Dufftown | Ben Nevis | Compass Box

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Episode 534: May 9, 2015

Michael Owen (L) and WhiskyCast's Mark Gillespie following an interview at Speyside Distillery May 4, 2015. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.This episode wraps up our special coverage of the Spirit of Speyside Festival in Scotland, and we’ll hear from soccer star Michael Owen. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star is working with Speyside Distillery as a global ambassador for its Spey single malts, and surprised visitors touring the distillery last Monday. He’ll tell us why his whisky is better than David Beckham’s Haig Club, too! We’ll also look at another pairing — this one matching whisky with bacon rolls, and George Grant of Glenfarclas let festival visitors pick the distillery’s next Family Cask release. In the news, two of the Kentucky Bourbon theft defendants have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors, Maker’s Mark has won a court battle in Florida, and we’ll have a roundup of new whiskies from all over the world.


Links: Spirit of Speyside Festival | Maker’s Mark | Bomberger’s | Michter’s | Blade and Bow | Jim Beam | Dewar’s | Barrelhound | Chivas Regal | Glenmorangie | Craigellachie | 60 Minutes | Miner’s Delight Inn | The Whisky Shop Dufftown | Ballindalloch Distillery | Speyside Distillery | Glenfarclas | Tamdhu | Benrinnes | Talisker

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Episode 533: May 2, 2015

Bottles of Aberlour A'Bunadh on display at the distillery's Fleming Rooms. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.Lots of people try to pair whiskies with foods, but pairing whiskies with music? That’s the challenge Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison took on when they curated the “Sound of Aberlour” tastings for this year’s Spirit of Speyside Festival. We’ll continue our special coverage from Speyside with Neil and Joel, along with the drams and musicians they put together. In the news, Glen Grant’s Dennis Malcolm received the inaugural “Spirit of Speyside Award” for his contributions to both the whisky industry and the community, and we’ll have the latest on a bunch of new whiskies from Speyside, the Highlands, and all over Scotland…along with music from Charlie McCarron and his friends performing at Fleming Hall in Aberlour.


Links: Spirit of Speyside Festival | Aberlour | World’s Best Spirits | Glen Grant | Glen Moray | Ledaig 42 | BenRiach | GlenDronach | Glenfiddich | Douglas Laing & Co. | Charlie McCarron

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Episode 532: May 1, 2015

An antique "copper dog" used to steal whisky from the cask. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie. We’re kicking off this weekend’s special coverage of the Spirit of Speyside Festival in Scotland this time around! Thousands of people from around the world are in Speyside this weekend, and you’ll hear some of them take part in a blind whisky nosing and tasting competition. With the “PappyGate” arrests fresh in the news, we’ll get a glimpse into the ancient art of whisky thievery with Glenfiddich’s Ian Millar, who has seen plenty of it during his years at distilleries all over the Highlands. There’s plenty of news as well, including an update on the victims of last week’s Silver Trail Distillery explosion in Kentucky and the support fund set up to help them and their families.


Links: Spirit of Speyside Festival | “Lifting Spirits: Jay & Kyle Rogers Support Fund” | Scapa | Diageo | Gordon & MacPhail | Glenfiddich

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Episode 531: April 25, 2015

It’s been a busy week in the whisky world, and there’s a lot to talk about on this episode. We’ll have the latest on Friday’s explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin, Kentucky that left distillers Jay Rogers and Kyle Rogers critically burned, along with the outpouring of support for them following the accident. Nine people were indicted in the theft of thousands of dollars worth of Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey Bourbon in Kentucky, but there’s a viral campaign seeking a pardon…for the whiskey. Finally, Bruichladdich’s Jim McEwan suddenly announced his plan to retire in July after 52 years in the whisky business…so he really can spend more time with his family. We’ll have all that, plus more of the week’s news and tasting notes for one of Jim McEwan’s favorite whiskies along with two single malts from 1975.


Links: Bruichladdich | Silver Trail Distillery | Kentucky Distillers Association | Old Rip Van Winkle | Franklin County Sheriff’s Department | The Bourbon Babe Blog | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Evan Williams | Laphroaig | Kilchoman | Master of Malt | Wilson & Morgan | anCnoc

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Episode 530: April 18, 2015

The Old Taylor Distillery near Versailles, Kentucky. Photo ©2012 by Mark Gillespie.If distilleries have ghosts, the ones haunting the former Old Taylor Distillery in Kentucky finally have some people to scare. After nearly 43 years, the historic distillery is being restored with plans to begin distilling by the end of this year and open to visitors in the spring of 2016. Marianne Barnes left Brown-Forman recently to oversee the project for the distillery’s partners and will be the master distiller when production begins. She joins us for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth with an update on the progress of bringing the old site back to life and trying to recreate the Bourbon that was originally made there for decades. In the news, investigators may announce indictments in the Pappy van Winkle and Wild Turkey Bourbon thefts this week, Scotland’s newest distillery has been dedicated, and Scotch Whisky is helping global drinks companies weather the decline in Chinese spirits sales.


Links: Old Rip Van Winkle | WLEX-TV | Pappy & Co. | Maker’s Mark | Keeneland | Breeder’s Cup | Woodford Reserve | BallindallochLast Great Malts | Crown Royal | Jack Daniel’s | English Whisky Co. | A. Smith Bowman | Diageo | Bruichladdich | Glenmorangie | Ian Macleod Distillers | Heaven Hill | Spirit of Speyside Festival | The Glenrothes | Highland Park

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Episode 529: April 11, 2015

One of the "Trybox" spirit safes at Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.This week, we’re on location at the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky for the annual Maker’s Mark Handcraft Festival and the running of the Maker’s 46 Mile at Lexington’s Keeneland Race Course. Friday also brought an estimated 1,000 whisky and Kentucky basketball fans to Keeneland for the annual signing of the Maker’s Mark Keeneland charity bottle. This year’s bottle honors legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, and several of his former players spent hours signing bottles for the fans who turned out at Keeneland. We’ll have a complete wrap-up of the weekend’s events on this week’s WhiskyCast. In the news, Tennessee’s controversial whiskey law will stand for at least another year after a repeal attempt was scrapped, Scottish doctors want to see the drinking age raised from 18 to 21, and we’ll get the latest on new whiskies from BenRiach, Amrut, High West, and Heaven Hill.


Links: Maker’s Mark | Jack Daniel’s | Tennessee Distillers Guild | Blood Oath | BenRiach | Amrut | High West | Heaven Hill | WhistlePig | Hankey Bannister

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Episode 528: April 4, 2015

Angel's Envy Cask Strength. Photo courtesy Angel's Envy.Bacardi took a step into the Bourbon business this week with its acquisition of Angel’s Share Brands, the parent company of Angel’s Envy Bourbon and the Louisville Distilling Company’s distillery under construction in Louisville. The deal is a friendly one, since Bacardi had owned a small stake in Angel’s Share since it was founded by the late Lincoln Henderson and his partners in 2006. Henderson’s son Wes and the other Angel’s Share executives will run the company as a separate division within Bacardi, and he joins us to discuss the reasons behind the sale on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Bacardi has also acquired a small share in Compass Box as part of a larger deal to supply whisky for the Compass Box blends, one of the whisky industry’s major travel retail companies is being sold, and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is changing hands, too.


Links: Angel’s Envy | Compass Box | Scotch Malt Whisky Society | World Duty Free | Scotch Whisky Association | Glasgow Distillery Company | Westland Distillery | Bruichladdich

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Episode 527: March 28, 2015

Suntory Holdings CEO Takeshi Niinami during a speech in New York City March 20, 2015. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.Suntory Holdings CEO Takeshi Niinami is one of Japan’s leading business executives. He’s the first  CEO from outside the founding Torii family, and is also a key economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. He inherited last year’s $16 billion acquisition of Beam when he joined Suntory six months ago, and has been focused on making the deal work while changing Suntory’s internal culture. We’ll discuss the growing pains of the deal, which made Beam Suntory the world’s #3 spirits company, with Takeshi Niinami on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a preliminary ruling in one lawsuit against a “handmade” spirits maker could be a sign of problems for whisky makers facing similar lawsuits, Four Roses plans another round of construction in Bourbon Country, and milestones mean commemorative bottlings of whiskies from around the world.


Links: Beam Suntory | Maker’s Mark | Four Roses | Jim Beam | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Ardbeg | Compass Box | English Whisky Company | Woodford Reserve | McTear’s | Feckin Irish Whiskey | Cleveland Whiskey | Armorik

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