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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Episode 540: June 20, 2015

Aberlour A'Bunadh bottles on display at the distillery. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.It’s Father’s Day weekend, and we have two stories to share on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. Euan Henderson didn’t want to work in the whisky business when he left school, but when your father is veteran distillery manager Iain Henderson, it’s hard not to wind up in the family business. Euan’s now a team leader at Aberlour, Glenallachie, and Tormore distilleries…and he’ll share his story – and his dream to ultimately follow in his father’s footsteps – with us. We’ll also talk with Phil Brandon, who’s beaming like a proud papa this weekend as his Rock Town Distillery in Little Rock, Arkansas celebrates its fifth anniversary. Like any toddler, Rock Town’s had some growing pains, too…and Phil discusses them all with us. In the news, Nikka makes the tough decision to replace its entire single malt range with no-age-statement versions because of inventory shortages, a billionaire gets into the whisky business with a new Baltimore distillery, and Heaven Hill is bringing back a revered name in rye whiskies.


Links: Chivas Brothers | Rock Town Distillery | Nikka Whisky | Suntory | Baltimore Business Journal | Pikesville Rye | Maker’s Mark | Kentucky Artisan Distillery | Laws Whiskey House | Balcones Distilling | Diageo | Scotch Malt Whisky Society | Old Forester 

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Episode 539: June 13, 2015

Dave Schmier and Michael Kandar started Bardstown Barrel Selections five years ago to bottle some casks of good whiskey they’d come across from MGP-I in Indiana, but their Redemption Rye business took off. In this case, success was too much of a good thing, and the partners ran out of capital to keep investing in new casks. This week, they sold Redemption Rye to Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, which has already completed a long-term supply contract and plans to take the brand nationwide as part of its push into the whiskey business. We’ll hear from Dave Schmier and Deutsch president Tom Steffanci on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and in the news, we’ll look at a bunch of new whiskies hitting the market ranging from Bottled in Bond Bourbons to experiments with Oregon Oak and much more. Finally, whisky and Blues music just seem to go together, and we’ll get a taste of a new CD from WhiskyCast listener Roger Wade and Jan Mohr!


Links: Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits | Bardstown Barrel Selections | Glenfarclas | The Glenrothes | Westland Whiskey | Old Forester | Jefferson’s | 1792 Bourbon | Creative Whisky Company | Jim Beam | Silver Trail Distillery | “Lifting Spirits: Jay & Kyle Rogers Support Fund” | Laphroaig | Compass Box

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Episode 538: June 6, 2015

The signature water tower at Buffalo Trace Distillery. Photo ©2015 by Mark Gillespie.This week, we’re looking at the end of an experiment nearly 14 years in the making…Buffalo Trace’s Single Oak Project. The attempt to create “Bourbon’s Holy Grail” used 96 trees to make 192 special casks filled with whiskey for 8 years, with nearly 1,400 different possible variables that could have an impact on the final whiskey. More than 5,000 people posted their tasting notes on the 192 different bottlings, but it took a team of whisky writers to make the final selection from five finalists. We’ll discuss the results with Buffalo Trace CEO Mark Brown, along with the fallout from the “PappyGate” series of whiskey thefts, the distillery’s expansion plans, and projections for future Bourbon supplies.

In the news, Diageo’s Bulleit Bourbon is the latest brand to face a class-action lawsuit over the language on its labels, Brown-Forman is jumping into the growing Irish Whiskey market with a $50 million deal for Slane Castle’s fledgling distillery, and we’ll have the latest on the week’s new whiskies.


Links: Buffalo Trace | Single Oak Project | Bulleit Bourbon | Brown-Forman Slane Castle Whiskey |  Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Ardmore | Douglas Laing & Co. | Forty Creek | Rock Town Distillery | Angel’s Envy |

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Episode 537: May 30, 2015

Jameson Irish Whiskey bottles on display at Midleton Distillery, September 2013. Photo ©2013 by Mark Gillespie.Irish Whiskey once dominated the world, but several factors combined to nearly wipe the country’s distillers out over time. While it’s now the fastest-growing segment of the whisky industry, Ireland’s distillers only have a 4% share of the global market – and now have ambitious plans to triple that over the next 15 years. Irish Whiskey Association chairman Bernard Walsh explains just how he and his colleagues plan to do that on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, more details are coming out about exactly what happened in last month’s Silver Trail Distillery explosion, along with another round of arraignments in the Kentucky Bourbon thefts. There’s also good news with expansion plans at Four Roses and another new distillery in Scotland, and The Glenlivet is shaking up its travel retail range of single malts…we’ll have the details along with a roundup of the week’s new whiskies.


Links: Irish Whiskey Association | Silver Trail Distillery | Four Roses | R&B Distillers | Kavalan | The Glenlivet | anCnoc | GlenDronach | Jura | Whisky Live Holland | Rebel Yell | Whisky By X | Laphroaig’s Barbecue Sauce Recipe | The Irishman | Blade And Bow

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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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