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”.

Episode 584: April 10, 2016

The Whisky Sponge Blog. Image courtesy The Whisky Sponge.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 OathCrown Royal | UFCW Canada Local 832 | Pure Scot | Bladnoch | American Distilling Institute | San Francisco World Spirits Competition | Highland Park | Ardbeg | Laphroaig

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Episode 583: April 3, 2016

House Spirits Distillery in Portland, Oregon. Photo courtesy House Spirits.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

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Episode 582: March 26, 2016

The Last Drop team of Rebecca Jago (from left), Tom Jago, Beanie Espey, and James Espey. Photo courtesy Last Drop Distillers. 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

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Episode 581: March 19, 2016

Old Pulteney 1989 Vintage Single Malt Scotch Whisky. Image courtesy Old Pulteney/International Beverage.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


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Episode 580: March 12, 2016

"A Glass Apart: Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey" by Fionnán O'Connor. Image courtesy Images Publishing.There was once a time when Ireland’s single pot still whiskies were among the world’s most popular drams, but a combination of changing tastes, politics, and other factors nearly destroyed the Irish Whiskey industry decades ago. Now, whisky lovers are rediscovering the heavier, oilier flavor of single pot still Irish whiskies, and one Irish historian has researched the origins and development of those whiskies. We’ll talk with Fionnán O’Connor on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with a look at one of Ireland’s newest distilleries, the William Grant & Sons-owned Tullamore Distillery. In the news, Scotch Whisky Association lawyers have won a battle in India, while Indian banks and opposition politicians are trying to keep Vijay Mallya from collecting his $75 million exit package from United Spirits. We’ll also look at the week’s new whiskies and a new place for tourists to learn more about Irish Whiskey in Killarney.

Links: “A Glass Apart” | Tullamore D.E.W | Scotch Whisky Association | United Spirits | Force India F1 | McLaren Formula 1 | Deanston | Highland Park | Arran | Glenfarclas | Laphroaig | Ardbeg | Popcorn Sutton | Irish Whiskey Experience | Celtic Whiskey Shop | Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Bushmills

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Episode 579: March 5, 2016

Casks to be filled at Islay's Bruichladdich Distillery. Photo ©2011 by Mark Gillespie.Adam Hannett has a tough job, though he wouldn’t trade places with anyone for the world! He took over for the legendary Jim McEwan as head distiller at Bruichladdich following Jim’s retirement last summer, and has just released his first bottling: Octomore 7.4 Virgin Oak. We’ll talk with Adam about the future at Bruichladdich, what it’s like to have your mentor living right next door to the distillery, and Bruichladdich’s plans to make its recipes for the “Classic Laddie” more transparent starting next month. In the news, the Scotch Whisky Association has warned Bruichladdich to run those plans by UK regulators first, while nearby Lagavulin has unveiled its 200th anniversary bottling with a nod to the distant past. Teeling Whiskey is sending 12 different single barrel Irish whiskies to the US in time for St. Patrick’s Day, Scotland’s northernmost mainland distillery is releasing its first whisky, and we now know the new name for the restored Old Taylor Distillery in Kentucky.

Links: Bruichladdich | Scotch Whisky Association | Lagavulin | Crown Royal | Leland Little Auctions | Wolfburn Distillery | Teeling Whiskey Company | Buffalo Trace | Castle & Key

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Episode 578: February 28, 2016

George Dickel Head Distiller Allisa Henley. Photo ©2016 by Mark Gillespie.There’s been a lot of attention paid recently to women working in the whisky industry, but when Allisa Henley was promoted to Head Distiller at Tennessee’s George Dickel Distillery last March, she just took over for John Lunn without even so much as a news release. While most people thought of her as being in charge of the distillery’s visitor center, she had quietly been Lunn’s understudy for a decade and stepped right into the role she had been training for – at the distillery just a few miles from where she grew up. We’ll talk with Allisa on WhiskyCast In-Depth about the transition and the challenges of being a whiskey maker in the heart of the Bible Belt, especially since the Dickel distillery is located in a dry county.

In the news, a new report projects American whiskey could outsell single malt Scotch worldwide as soon as 2020, with much of that demand for Bourbon and Tennessee whiskies. Whisky Magazine has announced the North American winners in the 2016 World Whisky Awards, and there’s a surprise winner in the battle for “World’s Best Bourbon” honors. Balcones Distilling in Texas fired up the stills at its new Waco distillery for the first time this week after taking home three Whisky Magazine awards, and we’ll have your reaction to last week’s interview with Balcones founder and former master distiller Chip Tate as he prepares to begin making whisky again at his new distillery. We’ll also have more of your reaction to the Compass Box transparency campaign, along with tasting notes for two unique craft whiskies from Washington and Colorado.

Links: George Dickel | International Wine & Spirits Report | Kentucky Distillers Association| World Whiskies Awards | Smooth Ambler | Balcones Distilling | Diageo | United Spirits | 1792 Bourbon | Far North Spirits | Jameson | The Pogues Irish Whiskey | Reserve 101 | Brenne French Single Malt | Compass Box | Bainbridge Organic Distillers | Distillery 291


Episode 577: February 20, 2016

Balcones Distillery founder Chip Tate. Photo ©2012 by Mark Gillespie.Chip Tate is about to get back into the whisky business, about 15 months after his acrimonious departure from Balcones Distilling, the Texas distillery he built from the ground up only to be forced out following a dispute with his business partners that led to restraining orders, lawsuits, and ultimately a settlement with a non-compete clause banning him from making whisky until March 5, 2016. Tate took the money from his Balcones buyout and is about to open his new Tate & Co. distillery in Waco, and is also building custom stills for other craft distillers. We’ll talk with Chip Tate about his enforced hiatus from whisky-making, what he learned from the experience, and what he plans to do as soon as he can start firing up his new hand-made stills on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Compass Box has launched an online petition drive to persuade European Union regulators to allow more transparency in whisky labeling, and John Glaser is getting support from another Scotch whisky maverick distiller as Bruichladdich plans to test the limits of what it can disclose about one of its whiskies. Bushmills is releasing its first new whisky in eight years…a year after new owners acquired the Irish distillery, and we’ll taste four new Irish whiskies in this week’s tasting notes.

Links: Tate & Co. | Balcones Distilling | Compass Box | Scotch Whisky Association | Bruichladdich | Glenmorangie | Bushmills | Redbreast | anCnoc | GlenDronach | The Quiet Man | Kinahan’s 

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Episode 576: February 14, 2016

This 1938 Mortlach cask produced the Gordon & MacPhail 70-year-old Mortlach released in 2010. Photo ©2010 by Mark Gillespie.With oil prices in the doldrums, stocks sagging, and other forms of investments losing value, a number of investors are turning to rare whiskies as a viable investment option. Rare Whisky 101 tracks UK whisky auctions, and the value of whiskies sold during 2015 gained 25% over 2014’s auction results, and we’ll discuss both the trend and the outlook with Andy Simpson of Rare Whisky 101 on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we have details on new whiskies from Tennessee, Scotland, and around the world, along with a new role for one of the whisky industry’s leading ambassadors.

Links: Rare Whisky 101 | Jack Daniel’s | Michter’s | William Grant & Sons | Ledaig | Tomintoul | Littlemill | Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Koval | Yukon Brewing | Douglas Laing & Co. | R&B Distillers | Glenfiddich | Kilchoman | Glenmorangie

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Episode 575: February 6, 2016

One of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest whisky festivals is coming up later this month, and DramFest 2016 caps off a busy few weeks for Michael Fraser Milne and the folks at the Whisky Galore shop in Christchurch, New Zealand. Last month, they finally moved into their new store – just down the street from the original shop condemned after the 2011 earthquake that caused widespread damage in Christchurch.  This year’s DramFest comes as whisky distilling is being revived in New Zealand two decades after the country’s biggest distillery shut down, and we’ll discuss DramFest, post-earthquake recovery, and New Zealand’s whisky scene with Michael Fraser Milne on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, US whisky sales grew again during 2015 while the strong dollar kept a lid on exports of Bourbon and Tennessee Whiskey, while Suntory’s early challenger for the most talked-about new whisky of 2016 reached the US. We’ll have tasting notes for the Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2016 Edition and other world whiskies, too!

Links: Whisky Galore Christchurch | DramFest 2016 | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Suntory Whisky | Crown Royal | UFCW Local 832 | Diageo | Force India F1 | Sydney Morning Herald | Nant Distillery | Scotch Whisky Association | Scotch Malt Whisky Society | FEW Spirits | Loch Lomond Group | Balblair | Douglas Laing & Co. | Heaven Hill | Cardrona DistilleryThe New Zealand Whisky Collection | Amrut

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