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”.
It’s rare that we talk about spirits other than whiskies on WhiskyCast, but with many people complaining that rising prices for single malts are forcing them to seek alternatives, it’s a good time to take another look at Armagnacs. We first looked at the French spirit back in 2007, and while whisky prices have been rising sharply, prices for vintage Armagnacs have been rising much more slowly. Florence Castarède is the sixth generation of her family to manage Armagnac Castarède, and we’ll discuss Armagnacs with her on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Sazerac plans to revive the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey brand – just in time for the centennial of the Irish revolutionary’s rise to prominence during the Irish Civil War. Shakespeare asked “what’s in a name” — and two whisky makers are asking that after winding up with the same name on their whiskies…and Neiman Marcus has the $125,000 answer to the question “what to give a whisky lover who has everything.”
Links: Armagnac Castarède | Sazerac | Glenmorangie | High West | George Washington’s Distillery | Global Alcohol Policy Conference | Scotch Whisky Association | Glenfarclas | Bruichladdich | Hibiki | The Singleton of Glendullan | Neiman Marcus | Orphan Barrel | Mackmyra
Earlier this year, Japan’s Nikka Whisky announced plans to replace many of its age-statement single malts with new no-age-statement versions. The company’s past projections of estimated demand couldn’t have forecast the current boom in Japanese whisky sales, and Nikka didn’t lay down enough whisky to meet today’s demand. We’ll discuss the situation with Nikka’s chief blender, Tadashi Sakuma, on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Brown-Forman has started construction of its new distillery at Ireland’s Slane Castle, and the popularity of flavored whiskies may lead to a sale of its Southern Comfort whiskey liqueur. Heaven Hill’s warehouses have yielded a treasure from the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery, and we now know what The Glenlivet’s Alan Winchester had in mind when he hinted earlier this year that he’d been experimenting with peat.
Links: Nikka Whisky | Walsh Whiskey | Brown-Forman | Heaven Hill | 1792 Bourbon | The Glenlivet | Glenfiddich | GlenDronach | Port Askaig | Chivas Regal | Teerenpeli | Distilled Spirits Council of the US | Scotch Whisky.com | Wyoming Whiskey | Dalwhinnie | Domaine des Hautes Glaces
In this special bonus episode from Whisky Live Paris, we’ll have more highlights from one of Europe’s top whisky festivals. We’ll look at the recent controversy over a legal definition of France’s Breton Whisky, and hear from an American making single malt whisky in England…the very idea might make some heads explode in Scotland! In the news, Taiwan’s award-winning King Car Distillery is starting a massive expansion project — not just doubling production capacity, but boosting it by five times as much! There’s also more news on new whiskies from around the world, along with tasting notes and much more…
Links: Whisky Live Paris | King Car/Kavalan | Kilchoman | Springbank | Buffalo Trace | Compass Box | Jack Daniel’s | Creative Whisky Company | Loch Lomond Group | Douglas Laing & Co. | Law360.com | Distillerie Warenghem | Arran | Jameson | Franciscan Well | Cotswolds Distillery | Tormore | Old Pulteney
This time around, we’re in Paris for the first of two episodes this weekend from Whisky Live Paris! Each year, Whisky Live Paris draws whisky fans and whisky makers from all over the world, and this year, that includes a record number of American distillers as Europeans discover a taste for US-made craft whiskies as well as their larger counterparts. We’ll talk with several US distillers who made the trip to Paris as part of WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, one of Ireland’s newest distilleries is already kicking off an expansion program, while construction at one of Kentucky’s newest distilleries is well underway with a goal of opening next June. We’ll also check on some of the new whiskies being introduced this weekend in Paris, and taste some, too!
Links: Whisky Live Paris | Icons of Whisky Awards | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Irish Distillers | Tullamore D.E.W. | Ardbeg | Glenmorangie | Brenne | Benromach | Springbank | Whyte & Mackay | Dad’s Hat | Sonoma County Distilling | Dry Fly Distilling | Littlemill | New Zealand Whisky Company
Sam Mead is a fifth-generation rancher, but never had any interest in distilling…until he came back home to work at Wyoming Whiskey, the distillery his parents founded in 2006. He started at the bottom milling grain, and eventually discovered the distilling bug within him. After a series of changes at the distillery, he wound up being the head distiller (and won’t allow people to call him a “master distiller”). We’re on the trail in Wyoming this week, and we’ll hear from Sam Mead on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have coverage of this week’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, including a rare interview with Parker Beam after he received the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame’s first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday.
Links: Wyoming Whiskey | Kentucky Distillers Association | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Maker’s Mark | Four Roses | Wild Turkey | Michter’s | Yellowstone Bourbon | Scotch Whisky Association | The Famous Grouse | Catto’s | Glenmorangie | Charbay | Ken’s Bar | Buffalo Trace Antique Collection
The Glenrothes was one of the first Scotch Whisky distilleries to label its single malts with wine-style vintages instead of age statements. While the Berry Bros. & Rudd-owned brand remains committed to vintages, it’s re-launching its entire range of vintage-less whiskies known as The Glenrothes Reserve Collection. Luke Tegner of Berry Bros. & Rudd was in New York City this week to introduce the new range, and joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the changes. We also have a lot of new whiskies to talk about this week, including the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, single grains from a closed Glasgow distillery, more Laphroaig 200th anniversary single malts, and new expressions from Arran, Burn Stewart, The Dalmore, and more…along with a special segment on whisky and space!
Links: The Glenrothes | Buffalo Trace | Michter’s | MB Roland | Diageo | Royal Salute | The Antiquary | Wemyss Malts | Laphroaig | The Dalmore | Bunnahabhain | Deanston | Ledaig | Arran | Rademon Estate Distillery | Ballantine’s Space Glass | Ardbeg | Douglas Laing & Co. | Abbey Whisky | Hyde Whiskey
Louisville isn’t just famous for Bourbon…it’s also becoming a popular city for culinary connoisseurs, and the foodies are flocking to Chef John Varanese’s restaurant specializing in New American cuisine. The menu at Varanese also gets a lot of inspiration from Bourbon, and we’ll kick off Bourbon Heritage Month in Kentucky by talking whisky and cuisine with Chef Varanese on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there’s a new #1 at the top of the Single Malt Scotch whisky sales rankings and a new #1 at the top of the list of oldest Scotch whiskies ever bottled. We’ll also have details on new whiskies from around the world and much more on this week’s WhiskyCast.
Links: Varanese | The Glenlivet | Scotch Whisky Association | Scottish Government | Gordon & MacPhail | BenRiach | GlenDronach | The Deveron | Littlemill | Beinn Dubh | Maker’s Mark | Old Forester | Bowmore
Kieran Folliard is a native son of Ireland, but calls Minnesota his home now. While running a group of Irish pubs in Minneapolis, he and his staff decided they should sell their own special Irish whiskey. Two Gingers became so successful in the pubs that Folliard decided to sell his stake in the pubs to his staff and make a go of Two Gingers, which was named for his mother and aunt back in Ireland. He wound up selling his brand to Beam, while retaining control over the day-to-day management. We’ll hear more from this Irish entrepreneur on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Heaven Hill’s hoping to raise more money for ALS treatment and research with the 2015 Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey and Old Forester honors its founder with the annual Birthday Bourbon. In Scotland, Royal Brackla finally gets its due as a single malt, Edinburgh could soon have its first malt whisky distillery in 90 years, and a forgotten time capsule yields a really old bottle of whisky!
Links: Two Gingers | Heaven Hill | Old Forester | Limestone Branch | Last Great Malts of Scotland | Bonhams | Woodzee | Bunnahabhain | Four Roses | Karuizawa 1983 Nepal Appeal
Many American craft distillers produce single malt whiskies, but Seattle’s Westland Distillery is one of the few that only produces single malts. The distillery in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood also produces one of the few peated American single malts, and while Westland is currently importing peated malt from Scotland, that’s about to change. The distillery has exclusive rights to one of the only harvestable peat bogs in the Pacific Northwest, and is working with Skagit Valley farmers and a local malting house to produce Washington-grown peated malt for distilling. We’ll visit the distillery — and the peat bog — on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Four Roses’ Jim Rutledge goes out with a bang, Bowmore goes to Japan for its latest cask finish, and we’ll go bottom-shelf in this week’s tasting notes.
Links: Westland Distillery | Four Roses | Bowmore | Fujikai | William Grant & Sons | Binny’s | Spec’s Liquors | BevMo | Total Wine & More | Gordon & MacPhail | Kingsbarns | Puni | Stoll & Wolfe | Johnnie Walker | Trader Joe’s | Rebel Yell
The “Bourbon Boom” has led to a corresponding boom in the publishing industry, with almost as many new Bourbon books as there are Bourbons on the market. Fred Minnick’s second whisky book, “Bourbon Curious” not only shares some of the history behind many Bourbon brands, but breaks down many of them by flavor characteristics to help new Bourbon fans find the whiskies they’re most likely to enjoy.
Fred’s based in Louisville, and keeps a close eye on the Bourbon industry. On this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, we sat down over drams to discuss his book and the state of Bourbon today, including the growing interest among distillers in using technology to do what only time has been proven to do successfully…create a mature whisky.
In the news, longtime Burn Stewart whisky guru Ian Macmillan is leaving to become Bladnoch’s new master distiller and blender as part of that distillery’s revival, the still maker under scrutiny following April’s distillery explosion in Kentucky is keeping quiet, and we’ll have a roundup of the week’s new whiskies.
Links: FredMinnick.com | Silver Trail Distillery | Revenoor Stills | Bladnoch | The Whisky Show London Nepal Appeal Whisky | Shetland Reel | Douglas Laing & Co. | Sullivan’s Cove | Catoctin Creek | Dalwhinnie | Jameson | Jack Daniel’s