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 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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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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