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”.
We’re on the road for the first time in 2015 this weekend, with the first of two episodes from the 10th annual Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, British Columbia. The weekend kicked off with the annual Canadian Whisky Awards presentation Thursday night at the Hotel Grand Pacific, including a special Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Forty Creek founder John Hall. We’ll hear from John and Canadian Whisky Awards founder Davin de Kergommeaux on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Montreal police are looking for a robber with very expensive taste in whisky following a holdup Thursday at the SAQ’s flagship store in Montreal, Collingwood Rye takes Canadian Whisky of the Year honors, and Beam Suntory plans to export Alberta Premium for the first time.
Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | Canadian Whisky Awards | Forty Creek | Canadian Club | Corby | Alberta Premium | Collingwood | Crown Royal | Jim Beam | Douglas Laing & Co. | Glenmorangie | Glenglassaugh
On New Year’s Day, David Perkins and his team at Utah’s High West Distillery fired up the still at their new distillery for the first time. High West has been making whiskey since 2009 at its historic distillery and restaurant in the heart of Park City, and while the current distillery will continue, the bulk of High West’s production will eventually come from the new facility located on a dude ranch and resort along Interstate 80 a few miles north of Park City. Perkins joins us to discuss the new distillery on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have details on the latest chapter in the Balcones saga, a fake whisky scam in the UK, new whiskies from Aultmore and Balblair, and tasting notes on whiskies from Glencadam, Glenfiddich, and a new single barrel from Crown Royal.
Links: High West | Tate & Company | Balcones Distilling | Scotch Whisky Association | Balblair | Aultmore | Glencadam | Glenfiddich | Crown Royal
Irish whiskey will take another step in 2015 with the first exports of Yellow Spot to the US market, still the strongest market in the world for Irish whiskey sales. While Yellow Spot is produced by Irish Distillers at Midleton Distillery near Cork, the brand is owned by Dublin-based whisky and wine merchant Mitchell & Son. Robert Mitchell is the latest family member to head up the 210-year-old business, and joins us to discuss this month’s US launch of Yellow Spot, along with the global potential for Irish whiskey sales. In the news, Japan’s Nikka Whisky is mourning the death of former president Takeshi Taketsuru, the adopted son of founder Masataka Taketsuru, Chip Tate is expected to announce more details on his new Texas distillery this coming week, and Laphroaig will revive its 15-year-old Islay single malt for 2015 as part of the distillery’s 200th anniversary celebration.
Links: Mitchell & Son | Nikka | Financial Times | Waco Tribune | Laphroaig | Oban | Midleton Very Rare | GlenDronach
As we close out 2014, we’ll hear from the man some might call “The Whisky Whisperer” for his ability to coax young distilleries into producing spirit that’s mature after just a few years. Dr. Jim Swan’s client list includes Penderyn, Kilchoman, and Taiwan’s King Car Distillery, which took the top two spots in this year’s Malt Maniacs Awards with Kavalan Solist single malts. He’s also involved with new distilleries in Scotland and England, as well as projects around the world, and will share some of them with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll have the latest on plans for another expansion at The Glenlivet, along with new whiskies from Bruichladdich and Woodford Reserve, and this week’s tasting notes focus on Tomatin’s Cuatro series of identical single malts finished in four different types of sherry casks.
Links: Kavalan | Malt Maniacs Awards | The Glenlivet | The Press & Journal | Lindores Distillery | Bruichladdich | Woodford Reserve | Roman Stanek on YouTube | Annandale Distillery | Cotswolds Distillery | Tomatin
Each year, the Malt Maniacs honor some of the world’s best whiskies with the Malt Maniacs Awards. This year, for the first time, the overall winner didn’t come from Scotland or Japan..but from Taiwan’s King Car Distillery, which took the top two spots with Kavalan Solist sherry cask bottlings. Only four gold medals were awarded in the competition, and we’ll discuss the results with Maniacs Peter Silver and Robert Karlson…two of the 10 judges on this year’s judging panel.
In the news, Diageo wins a trademark lawsuit in Houston against the maker of “Crown Club” whiskies, while giving Texans the first ever single-barrel bottling of Crown Royal. We’ll also have more on new whiskies from around the world, and this week’s tasting notes include an Aultmore single malt from Douglas Laing & Co. that raised eyebrows when it was released in Israel.
Links: Malt Maniacs | Crown Royal | Ranger Creek | Deanston | Journeyman Distillery | Heaven Hill | The Glenrothes | Woodford Reserve | Douglas Laing & Co. | Michael Bendavid’s Malt & Oak Blog
Amrut got whisky lovers used to the idea of single malt whiskies from India, and now, Paul John is challenging Amrut’s standing as the leader in Indian single malts. John Distilleries has been making single malt whisky in Goa for the last 10 years, but only started exporting it to the UK and Europe in 2012. The Paul John whiskies have now arrived in Australia, and are expected to enter the US market in 2015. Krish Kumar of Paul John explains the distillery’s story on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Maker’s Mark is now facing a court challenge over its claims of being “handmade”, another Bourbon attraction is coming to downtown Louisville, and the airport security guards are going to love a new shoe design coming from London…one with compartments for whisky bottles in the heels!
Links: Paul John | Maker’s Mark | Jim Beam | Buffalo Trace | Heaven Hill | Balcones Distilling | Zuidam Distillers | WKBW-TV | Bonhams | McTear’s | Johnnie Walker | Big Peat | High West
As we reported on our last episode, Balcones Distilling founder Chip Tate has accepted a buyout agreement from the majority owners of the Waco, Texas distillery. Tate will not return to the distillery he built in 2009, and sold his 27% ownership stake in Balcones for an undisclosed amount. In this bonus episode of WhiskyCast, we’ll have complete interviews with Tate and Balcones chairman Greg Allen – in his first interview on the dispute. Of course, we have much more than just that to bring you. We’ll have the details on the start of construction on The Macallan’s $168 million distillery and visitors center in Speyside, the winners of Whisky Magazine’s 2015 Scotland Icons of Whisky Awards, details on new whiskies from Oban and BenRiach, and tasting notes for Glenmorangie’s new Dornoch travel retail exclusive release.
Links: Balcones Distilling | The Macallan | Whisky Magazine | BenRiach | GlenDronach | Glenglassaugh | Oban | A. Smith Bowman | Scotch Whisky Association | Tamdhu | The Whisky Shop | Glenmorangie
In the first of this week’s two episodes of WhiskyCast, we’ll travel to Sweden to look at two of the country’s whisky distilleries. Mackmyra is Sweden’s oldest distillery…even though it’s only 15 years old, and matures its malts in a former mine 50 meters underground. The Box Distillery has just released its second single malt four years after beginning production in a former power plant, and both releases sold out within hours at Sweden’s state-run liquor monopoly.
In the news, Chip Tate has accepted a buyout offer from Balcones Distillery’s majority owners and has left with plans to start his own distillery in Waco, Texas, but there remains a great deal of bitterness between the two sides. We’ll have more on this story in this week’s bonus episode. Former Bruichladdich managing director Mark Reynier is back in the whisky business after working out a deal to buy a former Guinness brewery in Ireland and convert it into a distillery, and the Beam brothers have brought a new partner in to help grow their Limestone Branch Distillery in Kentucky.
Links: Mackmyra | Box | Allt om Whisky | Balcones | Irish Mirror | Limestone Branch | Kingsbarns | Hälge: The Famous Moose
Irish Whiskey has been leading the global growth in whisky sales for the last several years, posting double-digit gains every year. That growth is being reflected in the number of new distilleries under construction or being planned in Ireland, and distillers from both sides of the border have come together to form the Irish Whiskey Association. Peter Morehead of Irish Distillers was elected the association’s first president, and joins us to discuss the state of Irish Whiskey on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, former Bruichladdich managing director Mark Reynier is getting back into the whisky business with a new distillery, Chip Tate’s scheduled to return to Balcones at the end of this coming week and plans major changes while his dispute with Balcones’ majority investors continues, and Springbank’s owners thumb their noses at the results of the recent Scottish independence referendum with a new release honoring the losing side in that election.
Links: Mark Reynier on Twitter | Balcones Distilling | Springbank | Box Distillery | Benromach | GlenDronach | Booker’s
Dewar’s has focused on its Blended Scotch whiskies for generations, with the limited exception in recent years of single malts from Aberfeldy. However, a team within Dewar’s has been working quietly for the last six years to change that focus, and the result is the Last Great Malts series. The new range made its debut earlier this year with redesigned packaging for Aberfeldy, and new whiskies from Craigellachie and Aultmore are just now entering the market. In 2015, we’ll see The Deveron single malts from Macduff Distillery and the first mainstream single malts ever from 212-year-old Royal Brackla. Stephen Marshall led the Dewar’s team behind the Last Great Malts, and opens up about the process behind the new range on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, new distilleries are on line in Scotland and Kentucky, a historic Speyside whisky bar is open after major renovations, and the “Bourbon Summit” may already have a winner.
Links: The Last Great Malts | Annandale | Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery | Craigellachie Hotel | Monte Carlo Whisky Society | Ballantine’s | Rogue Spirits | Single Oak Project | Buffalo Trace | Diageo | Fred Minnick’s Blog | Saturday Night Live | Woodford Reserve | The Whisky Exchange