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”.
It’s the weekend before WhiskyFest New York, but there’s a lot going on! We’ll go back to Toronto to visit a whisky lover’s dream…the LCBO Summerhill store’s tasting tower, where rare whiskies can be yours to sample. In the news, Inver House has new owners with deep pockets, William Grant and Sons’ managing director steps down, four new Glengoyne malts hit the market, along with two new Bowmores and one new Hart Brothers Macallan.
Links: Liquor Control Board of Ontario | Inver House | William Grant & Sons | Glengoyne | Drumchork Lodge | Bowmore | Malt Advocate | Brandy Library | Park Avenue Liquor Shop
Jim Cryle “retired” this year as Master Distiller at The Glenlivet, but somehow he seems just as busy as ever after 40 years of making Scotch. My conversation with Jim includes everything from his early days in distilling to what it’s like to walk into a warehouse first thing in the morning, as well as his choice for that final dram. In the news, Bruichladdich’s bottling Port Charlotte PC5, the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre gets a new name, and new whiskies are on tap — so to speak — for WhiskyFest in New York next week.
Links: The Glenlivet | Bruichladdich | Malt Advocate | St. Andrew’s Restaurant | Gordon & MacPhail | Compass Box | Scotch Whisky Experience | Buffalo Trace | Premium Bottlers | Companions of the Quaich
Most of us will never be able to produce our own whisky, but admit it, you’d probably love to be able to bottle your own whisky as an independent bottler. Barry Stein and Barry Bernstein are doing just that, and they’re the first independent bottlers in Canada. They’ll tell us about negotiating the bureaucratic maze, getting their first bottles into liquor stores in Alberta, and just how much fun it is to have a bottle of Scotch on your desk for dramming at desire! In the news, Buffalo Trace Distillery hits the Triple Crown with another Distiller of the Year Award, Woodford Reserve marks an anniversary, Dewar’s decides to give the U.S. a taste of Aberfeldy, and will there ever be a deal at Whyte and Mackay?
Links: Premium Bottlers | Buffalo Trace | Wine Enthusiast | Woodford Reserve | Dewar’s | Aberfeldy | Whyte & Mackay | The Scotsman | Companions of the Quaich
WhiskyCast hits the road again…this time around, to Toronto for the first Whisky Live Toronto festival! We’ll hear from William Grant and Sons’ Ian Millar about a new Grant’s blend that combines the best of beer and the best of whisky in one…along with the competition for Toronto’s best whisky chef/bartender, and a peek into a special Crown Royal whisky that will only be around for a short while. Finally…there’s a blessed event in the WhiskyCast family! Put on your hockey jersey, crank up a rousing chorus of “O Canada”, and join us for this special edition of WhiskyCast!
Links: Whisky Live Toronto | William Grant & Sons | Innis & Gunn Beer | Canoe Restaurant | Liquor Control Board of Ontario | Maker’s Mark | Crown Royal
Last time, Sweden…this time, Australia. They’re about as far apart as you can get physically, but both countries share a love of whisky. There are a handful of Australian distilleries, and we’ll hear from Patrick Maguire, who manages the Tasmania Distillery and makes Sullivan’s Cove Single Malt. In the news, the saga of Whyte and MacKay continues, and there are a bunch of new whiskies from Buffalo Trace, Gordon and MacPhail, and Diageo’s Classic Malts series.
Links: Sullivan’s Cove | Whyte & MacKay | Buffalo Trace | Gordon & MacPhail | Classic Malts | Delemere
Sweden is a nation of whisky lovers, with more than 200 whisky clubs. In fact, three of the year’s best whisky books have been produced by Swedish whisky lovers. We’ll hear from Ingvar Ronde, the editor of the 2007 Malt Whisky Yearbook, which is being published this week. We’ll also talk with Ulf Buxrud, Keeper of the Quaich, Malt Maniac, and author of the upcoming book “Rare Malts” on the 36 distilleries that make up the Rare Malts series. Finally, Par Caldenby, author of “The Enthusiast’s Guide to Enjoying Malt Whisky” gives us his reasons why Sweden’s state monopoly on alcohol sales actually makes it easier to find rare whiskies. In the news, William Grant and Sons takes control of its UK distribution rights, Duncan Taylor and Co. puts some rare single malts on the auction block, the US chapter of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society goes on the road, and Malt Advocate Editor and Publisher John Hansell gives us a preview of the fall issue.
Links: Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival | William Grant & Sons | Duncan Taylor | Scotch Malt Whisky Society (US) | Malt Advocate | Whisky Live Toronto | Mackmyra | Malt Whisky Yearbook | Ulf Buxrud’s Whisky Site | Malt Maniacs
Whisky lovers generally love to collect more than just bottles of their favorite drams, and those who collect whisky books are among the most avid collectors. Earlier this year, Ian Buxton produced a new edition of the 1930 Aeneas MacDonald classic, “Whisky”. Now, he and fellow whisky book lover Neil Wilson have teamed up to launch Classic Expressions, a new series of historical whisky books rarely seen today. We’ll get the details from Ian, and in the news, the Bourbon Hall of Fame inducts three new members, Bowmore gives travelers a 30-year-old Islay malt to collect, and on the business front, Pernod Ricard has a record sales year, while Glenmorangie’s hoping to get back into the black.
Links: Classic Expressions | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Bowmore | Pernod Ricard | Glenmorangie
There are distillery bottlings, independent bottlings…and then, there are bottlings that you’ll only find at one retailer. Whisky specialist retailers are buying casks and having their own exclusive single-cask bottlings produced. In this episode, we’ll hear from two spirits specialists on why these bottlings are in so much in demand. In the news, a Dutchman wins the Cadenhead’s Malt Whisky Nosing Challenge, Whisky Magazine hands out its annual awards for independent bottlers, and whisky TV comes to the Web!
Links: Park Avenue Liquor Shop | Bayway’s World of Liquors | Cadenhead’s | Whisky Magazine | Single Malt TV
In the last episode, I had hints about changes at Highland Park. Now, we get the complete details, courtesy of Highland Park global controller Jason Craig. Craig’s had the bottle and label redesigned, changed the marketing and branding, but is going by one philosophy: “Thou shalt not touch the whisky…the whisky is good.” In the news, will whisky lovers pay $150 for a very special American rye whiskey, Springbank gets a new distillery manager, and Whyte and Mackay makes more changes at Isle of Jura. Again, the whisky itself is sacred, but the additions are a new lodge at the distillery, a whisky school, and a redesigned website. I’ll also answer a listener question about whether crystal decanters are safe to use.
Links: Highland Park | Heaven Hill | Springbank | Isle of Jura | Glencairn Crystal Studio
Five years ago, the stills at Islay’s Bruichladdich Distillery roared back to life. The spirit produced on May 29, 2001 is now making its way into the market, and Bruichladdich’s Mark Reynier will give us the story behind the new Port Charlotte single malt. In the news, Ardbeg’s Stuart Thomson is leaving the distillery after bringing it back from the brink of oblivion, construction has started at Ladybank Distillery near Fife, Old Forester Bourbon celebrates a birthday, the latest earnings reports from Diageo and Brown-Forman, along with a busy calendar of September events. Pour a dram, sit back, and turn up the volume for Episode 56 of WhiskyCast!
Links: Bruichladdich | Ardbeg | Old Forester | Diageo | Brown-Forman