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”.
The whisky business is growing by leaps and bounds worldwide, and distillers are responding with millions of dollars in new investments. This past week, Diageo announced plans to pump nearly $200 million into its Scotch production, including an all-new malt distillery in the Moray area. We’ll hear from Diageo’s Peter Smith and Ken Robertson, along with Dave Pickerell of Maker’s Mark, where Beam Global is also investing in additional capacity. In the news, Mount Vernon will be able to sell whisky from George Washington’s distillery, 400 distillery workers in Southern Indiana may be able to keep their jobs, and the saga of Whyte & MacKay’s sale may finally be near an end.
Links: Diageo | George Washington’s Distillery | Just Drinks.com | The Scotsman | Whyte & MacKay | Beam | Maker’s Mark
The guys at Bruichladdich have never shied away from a challenge, and their latest goal is to bring whisky distilling back to the nearby town of Port Charlotte on Islay. The town’s distillery was turned into a car park decades ago, but Mark Reynier says they have the old warehouses, a still, and big plans for the Port Charlotte Distillery. In the news, the “16 Men of Tain” at Glenmorangie is now 15…and a Woman of Tain. There’s also news on next month’s Woodford Reserve bourbon academies, discounts for WhiskyCast listeners at the Wild Scotsman Whisky School, and much more.
Links: Bruichladdich | Spirit of Toronto | Heaven Hill | Evan Williams | Wild Scotsman | Bladnoch | Glenmorangie
Plenty of news in this episode: A Nova Scotia distillery wins its battle with the Scotch Whisky Association…for now, India may give in to demands to reduce its stiff tariffs on imported spirits, whisky accounted for $5 billion in U.S. sales during 2006, Laphroaig adds a lounge at the distillery just for its Friends, and the new issue of Malt Advocate magazine is out! We also pay tribute to John Sutherland, distillery manager at The Glenrothes, who passed away last week at his home near Elgin.
Links: The Glenrothes ] The Scotsman | Distilled Spirits Council of the US | Crown Royal | Diageo | UFCW of Canada | Laphroaig | Malt Advocate | Glenora Distillers | Scotch Whisky Association
Scotland celebrates the 248th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns this week…and the world celebrates with Scotland. Burns Suppers are held all over the world…for just a few people or a few hundred people. We’ll get the details on hosting your own Burns Supper, as well as a look at the life and legacy of Robert Burns. In the news, there’s word of new distribution deals for William Grant & Sons and Blackadder, a new web site for the Scotch Whisky Association, and the latest issue of Whisky Magazine is in the mail.
Links: David Sibbald’s Burns Site | Robert Burns.org | Arran | Blackadder | Federal Wines & Spirits | Whisky Magazine | Scotch Whisky Association | Dram Fest | Laphroaig’s Burns Tribute
Jim McEwan is one of whisky’s most outspoken ambassadors. As production manager at Bruichladdich, he’s been responsible for bringing a silent distillery back to life, and creating some of the more unusual single malts around. He’ll share some of his stories with us in this episode. In the news…one of Jim’s proteges gets a promotion, there’s a new production manager at Glenfarclas, and Bunnahabhain opens the doors to its online store.
Links: Bruichladdich | Glenfarclas | Bunnahabhain | Malt Maniacs
Welcome to 2007, and if you’re in New York, your assignment is to go to the library. Not the big building with a bunch of books, but the Brandy Library in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. We’ll talk with spirit sommelier Ethan Kelley about one of America’s best whisky bars. In the news, researchers have found new photos of Laphroaig legend Bessie Williamson, Burn Stewart brings out a 10-year-old Ledaig single malt, Maker’s Mark announces the dates for its annual Thoroughbreds and Redheads Weekend in April, and honors for Malt Maniac-turned writer Ulf Buxrud.
Links: Brandy Library | Laphroaig | Burn Stewart | Maker’s Mark | Ulf Buxrud’s Whisky Site
It’s the final episode of 2006, and we’ll end the year with a profile of one of the newest distillers in the business, and one who’s already making her mark on single malts. Gillian Howell is the distiller at the Welsh Whisky Company, which produces Penderyn Single Malt. Gillian explains how she went from the University of Cardiff straight to the stillroom at Penderyn, and we’ll get a performance review from her mentor, Dr. Jim Swan.
Links: Penderyn | Whyte & MacKay
There are many whisky competitions, but few give the average whisky lover a vote in deciding the winners. Now, the Drammie Awards have changed that, thanks to Kevin Erskine of The Scotch Blog. Erskine created the Drammies, and joins us to go through the inaugural list of winners. In the news, Jim Murray gives a blended whisky top honors and malt lovers fits, Scotch whisky exports have an economic impact of nearly 3 billion pounds, and help boost profits at Gordon & MacPhail…the Scotch Whisky Association takes on a Canadian distillery over the word “Glen”, and Glenmorangie PLC confirms that Michael Heads will be taking over at Ardbeg in the spring. Pour yourself a dram, relax, and have a very merry Christmas…Hanukkah, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa…or whatever holiday you’re celebrating…
Links: The Drammie Awards | Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible | Gordon & MacPhail | Glenora Distillers | Scotch Whisky Association | Ardbeg | Whyte & MacKay | Whisky Live | WhiskyFest | Whiskies of the World Expo | The Scotch Blog
The debate over blended whiskies vs. single malts will never be decided, but both can be appreciated, much as a music lover can enjoy both symphonies and jazz. One of the maestros of blended whiskies is Whyte & MacKay’s Richard Paterson, and he shares his lifetime of experience in the whisky business with us. In the news, Ardbeg has hired a new manager to replace Stuart Thomson, Duncan Taylor puts more rare whiskies on the auction block for charity, and we’ll get some tasting notes on the Pakistani single malt from Episode 70!
Links: Whyte and MacKay | Ardbeg | Duncan Taylor | Highland Park | Murree Brewing Company | Malt Advocate | d.b.a. New York
Many of us would describe ourselves as “malt maniacs”, but the title of “Malt Maniac” belongs to 24 serious whisky experts from around the world. You’ve heard from several of the Maniacs in previous episodes, and now, Master Maniac Johannes van den Heuvel joins us from Amsterdam with the winners of the 2006 Malt Maniacs Awards! In the news, socialism and whisky apparently don’t mix well in Venezuela, but do in Vietnam, and the infidels are distilling something interesting in Pakistan.
Links: Malt Maniacs | Pakistan Times | Murree Brewing Company