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 505: November 8, 2014

This episode marks the end of our 9th year, and we’ll hear from two of the more outspoken voices in the whisky world on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. Simon and Phil Thompson run the family-owned Dornoch Castle Hotel in the Scottish Highlands, and their hotel’s bar was named Scotland’s Whisky Bar of the Year this week by the Scottish Licensed Trade News. The Thompson brothers are almost as well-known for their opinions as their whisky selection, and they pulled no punches in a wide-ranging interview the other night in Dornoch. In the news, Diageo pulls the trigger on a swap of Bushmills for Don Julio Tequila, Glenfiddich goes retro with a new expression re-creating the one it pioneered in 1963, Pappy Fever hits epidemic status, and a Canadian liquor store pays the price for bargain-basement shelving.

Links: Dornoch Castle Hotel | Bushmills | Diageo | Tullamore Dew | Glenfiddich | William Grant & Sons | Cincinnati Business Courier | Meta | Wemyss Malts | Isle of Arran | Bunnahahbain | Whistlepig Rye | CBC News | Ardshiel Hotel | The Ardmore | Nikka

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Episode 504: November 1, 2014

Aaron Urquhart Stewart and Allan Thornton in "Peat Reek". Movie still courtesy Mike Dziennik.The battle between Scotland’s illicit distillers and the excisemen known as “gaugers” is the stuff of which legends, books, and now, a movie have been made. Filmmaker Mike Dziennik’s “Peat Reek” will be shown this coming weekend at the Inverness Film Festival, and tells the story of a young gauger sent to the Highlands to shut down the whisky makers and the local minister who helps him see the light. We’ll talk with Mike Dziennik on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Wall Street Journal reports Diageo may be close to trading Bushmills for control of the Don Julio tequila brand, Emperador closes its deal to buy Whyte & Mackay, Old Pulteney goes green with biomass power, and Fireball faces a firestorm in Scandinavia. This week’s tasting notes include The Balvenie’s new Tun 1509 Batch 1, Balblair’s 1999 Vintage Second Release, and what may well be one of the world’s worst whiskies – a herring cask-finished single malt!

Links: Peat Reek | Bushmills | Diageo | United Spirits | Whyte & Mackay | The Dalmore | The Glenlivet | Douglas Laing & Co. | Jim Beam | Disaronno | Fireball | Old Pulteney | Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible | Compass Box | The Balvenie | Balblair

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Episode 503: October 25, 2014

This week’s episode comes from Whiskey Live Dublin, and we’ll be focusing on Irish whiskies this time around with some of the winners from Thursday night’s Irish Whiskey Awards ceremony at Kilbeggan Distillery. We’ll also get the details on the most expensive Irish whiskey ever released, the Midleton Very Rare 30th Anniversary Pearl Edition…as well as the upcoming US debut of Yellow Spot. It won’t be an all-Ireland show, though…we”ll hear from Chip Tate on his side of the Balcones Distilling dispute now that his gag order has been lifted, and while Bourbon’s global boom is causing a boom in Kentucky’s economy, a slowdown in Scotch whisky sales has prompted Diageo to slow down its expansion plans in Scotland.

Links: Whiskey Live Dublin | Balcones Distilling | Kentucky Distillers Association | Just-Drinks.com | Diageo | Teeling Whiskey Company | Walsh Whiskey Distillery | Glendalough | Jameson | Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Celtic Whiskey Shop | Irish Whiskey Awards | Beggar’s Bush Pub/Jack Ryan’s Whiskey | Tullamore Dew | Dingle | Kilbeggan

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Episode 502: October 18, 2014

Finland has a love-hate relationship with whisky. Finns love it, and the Finnish government hates it. Distilled spirits advertising is banned, and regulators went so far as to force the organizers of a Helsinki beer and whisky festival this coming weekend to drop “whisky” from the event’s name or risk losing their permits. It’s still legal to make whisky in Finland, though…and we’ll find out more about Teerenpeli Distillery & Brewery and the Kyrö Distilling Company on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Chivas Brothers gives its new Speyside distillery a name, both sides in the Balcones Distilling dispute head back to court this week, and we’ll find out about some wearable whisky fashion, along with tasting notes for one Bourbon, one Scotch…and one Joker.

Links: Teerenpeli Distillery & Brewery | Kyrö Distilling Company | Balcones Distilling | Chip Tate Defense Fund | Chivas Brothers | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Glen Grant | Chivas Regal | Teeling Whiskey Company | Jewish Whisky Company/Single Cask Nation | Westland Distillery | English Whisky Company | The Balvenie | Woodzee | Generic Surplus | Whiskey Live Dublin TTB Labeling Resources | Old Forester | The Glenlivet

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Episode 501: October 11, 2014

"American Spirit" by James Rodewald. Image courtesy Sterling Epicure.This week, we’ll look at the growth of craft distilling through the eyes of veteran drinks writer James Rodewald and distiller Darek Bell. Rodewald studied the boom in craft distilling for his new book “American Spirit.” Bell is one of the co-founders of Corsair Artisan Distillery, and has just published his second book, “Fire Water” – a look at ways to produce uniquely smoky whiskies.
"Fire Water" by Darek Bell. Image courtesy Darek Bell/Anthony Matula.
In the news, we’ll also look at a bunch of new whiskies flooding the market from around the world, including The Glenrothes, Arran, The Balvenie, Clynelish, Woodford Reserve, and more. Speaking of floods, cleanup work is underway after a flood this week at a distillery in Speyside, and Manhattan mixologist Pam Witzinger of The Dead Rabbit teaches us how to make the perfect Manhattan. The Dead Rabbit was just named the best cocktail bar in North America and ranked #2 in the world by Difford’s Guide.

Note: the entire interviews with James Rodewald and Darek Bell can be found in our WhiskyCast In-Depth section.

Links: Corsair Artisan Distillery | The Press & Journal | Beam Suntory | Balcones Distilling | The Glenrothes | Arran | Glenfarclas | Classic Malts | The Balvenie | Woodford Reserve | Tap Whisky | Barrell Bourbon | New Zealand Whisky Company | Whisky Festival Noord Nederland | Drinks International/Difford’s | The Dead Rabbit | World of Whiskies | Glen Deveron

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Episode 500: October 6, 2014

This is a special episode of WhiskyCast – not only is it the 500th episode, but it’s the second of two episodes this weekend from The Whisky Show in London! We’re packing a lot into this episode, with news on new whiskies from Girvan, Nikka, Kilchoman, and others, a re-start of production at Sweden’s Mackmyra Distillery, and a look at some of the new whisky books just being published.

Our main focus, though, is an in-depth look at whisky collecting, following yet another mainstream media story in Sunday’s Telegraph touting the investment value of rare whiskies. We’ll talk to some of the whisky lovers who hoped to get one of the rare Karuizawa single malt bottlings produced specially for the show, but were beaten to the punch..along with some who managed to get their hands on one. Much of the demand is coming from Asia, and things have gotten so crazy that some whisky bloggers are shooting video of themselves smashing empty sample bottles of Ardbeg’s recent Supernova release just to prove they didn’t sell their coded samples. Finally, we’ll hear from one of the world’s top whisky collectors…Sukhinder Singh, who’s seen whisky investing from all sides as both a collector and retailer of rare whiskies.

Links: The Whisky Exchange | Mackmyra | Canadian Club | Glen Grant | Girvan | Kilchoman | Nikka | Glenmorangie | Amrut | The Telegraph

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Episode 499: October 4, 2014

Michael Urquhart of Gordon & MacPhail introduces the new Private Collection malts during a master class at The Whisky Show London October 4, 2014. Photo ©2014 by Mark Gillespie. This is the first of two episodes this weekend from The Whisky Show in London, and we’ll be looking at some of the new whiskies that made their debut this weekend at Vinopolis, home of The Whisky Exchange. Some of the newest whiskies are actually very old whiskies, including four special Gordon & MacPhail Private Collection single malts to celebrate the transition of the family-owned business to a new generation of Urquharts. Michael Urquhart, the last of the third generation members to retire, helped introduce the 57 to 63-year-old whiskies during a master class today in London. Another longtime family-owned firm, Berry Bros. & Rudd, unveiled the oldest single grain Scotch whisky bottling on record, a 50-year-old North British grain distilled in 1962.

We’ll also check on the new Chivas Brothers distillery in Speyside that’s ramping up operations this week, along with Edradour’s plans to expand Scotland’s smallest distillery, and check on other new releases from around the world.

Links: The Whisky Show | Chivas Brothers | Edradour | The Macallan | Compass Box | Hunter Laing & Company | 35 Maple Street | Amrut | Edrington | South Wales Whisky Interest Group | Whisky Online Auctions | Gordon & MacPhail | Berry Bros. & Rudd

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Episode 498: September 26, 2014

Barrels at the Wyoming Whiskey Distillery in Kirby, Wyoming. Photo ©2012 by Mark Gillespie.With all of the issues being raised over whisky labeling in the US and a new lawsuit challenging claims on Templeton Rye’s labels, we’ll hear this week from an attorney who’s become an expert in the US regulatory process as both a lawyer and distillery owner. David DeFazio is one of the co-founders of Wyoming Whiskey, and has been through the TTB’s maze of red tape on several occasions. He’ll explain the process and the potential pitfalls on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we’ll have more on the class-action lawsuit targeting Templeton Rye, Brown-Forman will invest $30 million in a new downtown Louisville distillery for Old Forester, and Scotch whisky exports fell during the first half of 2014. We’ll also have the latest on new whiskies from around the world, and here’s a riddle to this week’s tasting notes: think of a deer lost in space.

Links: Wyoming Whiskey | Old Forester | Brown-Forman | Templeton Rye | Scotch Whisky Association | The Glenlivet | anCnoc | Glenmorangie | Douglas Laing & Co. | Chivas Regal | Laphroaig | Angel’s Envy | Skinner Auctioneers | Ardbeg | Compass Box | Buffalo Trace

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Episode 497: September 21, 2014

WhiskyCast listeners Sean and Michael display their autographed custom Louisville Slugger bats during the Kentucky Bourbon Festival September 17, 2014. Photo ©2014 by Mark Gillespie. It’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival week, and there’s a lot of news coming out of Bourbon Country these days. Thousands of Bourbon lovers descended on Bardstown and the Louisville area for the annual festival, which comes as Diageo opened the new Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at Louisville’s historic Stitzel-Weller Distillery to the public for the first time, the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame welcomed a new member, and much more. In the news, Diageo and The Explorers Club have settled their legal differences, while the next hearing in the Balcones Distilling dispute has been delayed until October 7. We’ll also get reaction to this week’s decision by Scottish voters to stick with the United Kingdom…for now.

Links: Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Diageo | Johnnie Walker | The Explorers Club | McLaren F1 | Balcones Distilling | Templeton Rye | Courthouse News Service | Scotch Whisky Association | Whisky MagazineBulleit Bourbon | Tullamore D.E.W. | Ardmore | The Glenrothes | Maker’s Mark | Willett | Michter’s | Jim Beam | Limestone Branch | Heaven Hill | Eagle Rare | Laphroaig

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Episode 496: September 12, 2014

Templeton Rye has been in the spotlight in recent weeks as critics go after so-called “sourced whisky” producers for what they claim are violations of a US regulation that requires the disclosure of the “state of distillation” of a whisky if it’s different from the producer’s home state. The Iowa-based company announced two weeks ago that it will change its labeling to disclose that its whisky is distilled in Indiana, while noting that it’s been up front about that fact for years everywhere but on the label. Templeton’s Scott Bush and Keith Kerkhoff will tell us their side of the story on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Scotch Whisky producers are nervous about the upcoming independence referendum, Kentucky’s Bourbon Hall of Fame will induct one of the industry’s pioneering women, and there are plenty of new whiskies to talk about. This week’s tasting notes include the Four Roses 2014 Limited Edition Small Batch, Maker’s Mark Cask Strength, and the Parker’s Heritage Collection 2014 “Original Batch” Wheat Whiskey.

Links: Templeton Rye | CNN | The Telegraph | English Whisky Company | Maker’s Mark | Kentucky Distillers Association | Heaven Hill | Parker Beam’s Promise of Hope Fund | The Balvenie | The Glenlivet | Compass Box | Douglas Laing & Co. | Glenturret | Four Roses 

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