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”.
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 Distillery | The New Zealand Whisky Collection | Amrut
The debate over age statements on whiskies shows no sign of going away, but how does a brand decide to remove the age statement from its whiskey? Earlier this month, Heaven Hill announced that it would remove the 12-year-old age statement from its Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon and start making the whiskey with casks 8 to 12 years old. We’ll discuss the reasons behind that move with Heaven Hill co-master distiller Denny Potter and longtime Heaven Hill executive Larry Kass on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with the company’s latest plans for expanding its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville to meet demand. In the news, Diageo plans to start focusing on more affordable whiskies in emerging markets because of currency exchange rates, Scotland’s government is giving a boost to two distillery projects, and Whisky Magazine announces its Icons of Whisky Awards world whisky winners.
Links: Heaven Hill | Diageo | Glencadam | Drimnin Distillery | Morrison & Mackay | Bruichladdich | Springbank | The Last Drop | Johnnie Walker | Booker’s | Woodford Reserve | Icons of Whisky Awards | Jack Daniel’s | Oxford Today | Compass Box | Bern’s Steak House
Drew Mayville’s 36 years in the whisky business include stints as the final master blender at Seagram’s and as Sazerac’s master blender for Buffalo Trace and its other whiskies, as well as the Pappy Van Winkle whiskies. He was one of the featured presenters at the Victoria Whisky Festival, and joins us to discuss his wide-ranging career on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Stewart Laing and his sons have unveiled their plans for Islay’s newest distillery…we’ll have the latest on new whiskies from Kilchoman, Glenmorangie, GlenDronach, and Highland Queen, bid the Elijah Craig Small Batch’s age statement farewell, and pay tribute to a unique craft distiller.
Links: Buffalo Trace | Hunter Laing & Co. | Kilchoman | Glenmorangie | GlenDronach | Highland Queen | Tullibardine | The Fred Minnick Blog | Elijah Craig | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Coppersea Distilling | Victoria Whisky Festival | Vancouver Whisky Festival | Springbank Whisky School | Arran
One of the most-discussed topics at this weekend’s Victoria Whisky Festival was a National Post feature on whisky questioning the future of vintage whiskies, and whether the whisky boom has already reached its peak. One of the whiskies mentioned in the story was The Glenlivet’s Founders Reserve, which is replacing The Glenlivet 12 in many markets around the world. We’ll get the reaction from The Glenlivet’s Ian Logan to that article, and what his colleagues at Chivas Brothers are doing to fight that perception on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also look at the impact of international trade deals on whisky exports, new whiskies, and while they’re not the same as the ones stolen last September during a New York City whisky show, Simon Brooking of Laphroaig has his green wellies back!
Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | National Post | The Glenlivet | Spirits Canada | Louisville Courier-Journal | Southern Comfort | Sazerac | Victoria Caledonian Distillery | The Balvenie | Canadian Rockies | Benromach | Laphroaig | Miss Whisky |
This week, we’re on location with the first of two episodes from the Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, British Columbia. For the last several years, the Victoria Whisky Festival has had at least one tasting session reserved for women only, and this year’s tasting featured Canadian Club’s Tish Harcus…one of the pioneers in leading tastings geared to women. We’ll talk with Tish and Julia Ritz Toffoli, founder of Women Who Whiskey…one of the fastest-growing whisky clubs for women with chapters in the US, Canada, Europe, and Africa. In the news, Corby’s Lot No. 40 has taken top honors as Canadian Whisky of the Year in the Canadian Whisky Awards for the second time in three years…the Nelson brothers have sold a stake in their Green Brier Distillery in Tennessee to Constellation Brands, and we’ll have the latest on new whiskies from Japan and Ireland.
Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | Women Who Whiskey | Canadian Club | Canadian Whisky Awards | Lot No. 40 | Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery | Yamazaki | Tullamore D.E.W. | The Macallan | Aberfeldy | Bruichladdich
America has a love-hate relationship with alcohol, and it’s fair to say that drinking has changed the course of American history – for better and for worse. Susan Cheever explored that relationship for her new book “Drinking in America: Our Secret History” and joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, 28 purloined Pappy Van Winkle bottles may not receive the reprieve many Bourbon fans were hoping for once the “Pappygate” case in Kentucky ends, and flooding has closed Scotland’s Glencadam Distillery for repairs. We’ll also answer a listener’s questions on how to prepare for a whisky festival and more on this week’s WhiskyCast!
Links: “Drinking in America: Our Secret History” | Old Rip Van Winkle | Glencadam | The Quiet Man Irish Whiskey | Victoria Caledonian Distillery | Kentucky Distillers Association | Law360.com | Longmorn | High West | Lock, Stock, & Barrel | Old Forester
David Stewart will need new business cards soon, though the longtime master blender at William Grant & Sons is far too modest to ask for them. That’s because he’ll soon be able to add the initials “MBE” to his name, now that he’s been named a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth. Stewart was included on the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List released by Buckingham Palace this week, and he’ll tell us how he found out about the honor on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, holiday flooding has hit Scotland and Ireland, a trademark lawsuit has been settled in Bourbon Country, and whiskey lovers found a bargain on Pappy Van Winkle whiskies this week in an unusual place. We’ll also hear about some of your New Year’s drams and more on the year’s first episode of WhiskyCast!
Links: The Balvenie | New Year’s Honours List | Sazerac | Brown-Forman | KSTU Fox 13 | The Macallan | Bob’s Burgers on YouTube | Scottish Government Press Centre | George T. Stagg | The Whisky Exchange | Glenfarclas | Classic Malts
There are a lot of issues facing the world of whisky and spirits these days, and we’ll discuss many of them on this week’s WhiskyCast. During the recent New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Canada, WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie moderated a panel discussion with Glenfiddich’s Ian Millar, Dr. Kirstie McCallum of Burn Stewart Distillers, Angostura Rum master distiller John Georges, and The Glenlivet’s Alan Winchester. We discussed topics ranging from declining whisky sales to the impact of the thaw in diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba and more, and you’ll hear the entire discussion on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the European Court of Justice rules against – and for – minimum unit pricing on alcohol sales in Scotland and kicks the debate back to Edinburgh, and we’ll have a story of how distillers in Scotland teamed up to help an ailing colleague realize his dream.
Links: New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Glenfiddich | Burn Stewart Distillers | Angostura Rum | The Glenlivet |Scotch Whisky Association | Scottish Government | Suntory | Wealth Solutions | Gordon & MacPhail | Glenfarclas | Mackmyra | J. Rieger & Co.
This week, we’ll look at the business behind the whiskies we drink – and investors hope to profit from. More investors are looking seriously at the whisky business…they’re not just looking to invest in rare bottles, but something even rarer…the distilleries that make whisky. We’ll talk with Frank Lampen, one of the co-founders of Diageo’s in-house venture capital unit, Distill Ventures. This week, Distill made its second major whisky investment of the month by taking a minority stake in Australia’s Starward Whisky after doing the same thing with Denmark’s Stauning Whisky. We’ll also hear from Bardstown Bourbon Company CEO David Mandel, who’s not only looking for new brands to make whiskey at his distillery when it opens in 2016, but has figured out a way to help them finance the cost of distilling and maturing their whisky. In the news, Islay is mourning the loss of one of Bruichladdich’s legendary leaders, the head of William Grant & Sons is stepping down, and we’ll look at one of the few places where you can get a university degree in whisky distilling.
Links: Bardstown Bourbon Company | Distill Ventures | Bruichladdich | Yellowstone Bourbon | Powers | Writer’s Tears | William Grant & Sons | Whisky Advocate | Maker’s Mark | Heaven Hill | Whisky Magazine | Heriot-Watt University International Centre for Brewing & Distilling | Thoroughbred Spirits Partners
This week, we’ll give you a glimpse at something rarely seen…the very first still run at a new distillery. This week, the stills at Ireland’s Waterford Distillery came to life – 24 years after they were last used at the old Inverleven Distillery in Scotland. Like a lot of pieces of the Waterford story, those stills spent some time on Islay at Bruichladdich, but like the old Guinness brewery in Waterford that closed two years ago, they found new life in the Irish Whiskey boom. We’ll talk with Waterford founder Mark Reynier and some of the brewery team that returned to work at Waterford on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the new owners of Bushmills have big expansion plans in mind for their distillery, while yet another new Bourbon distillery is being planned in Bardstown, Kentucky. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and much more on this week’s WhiskyCast!
Links: Waterford Distillery | Bushmills | Luxco | Glenglassaugh | Talisker | Box Distillery | Coppersea Distilling | Finger Lakes Distilling | High West | Tomatin | Malt Maniacs | Whisky Advocate | Ardbeg