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”.
Marcel Van Gils has been collecting Laphroaig expressions since 1997, and the Dutch dentist has what is likely the world’s largest collection of Laphroaigs. His collection even includes the empty cask Prince Charles signed during a visit to the distillery in 1994! Marcel will tell us about his collection in this episode, and in the news, more on the Glen Breton controversy, U.S. whisky sales are being affected by the recession, and we’ll hear from James Robertson of Tullibardine and Frances DuPuy of A. Dewar Rattray.
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Bonus coverage from the Victoria Whisky Festival, as the local Scottish community gathered to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Robert Burns. We’ll hear from Euan Mitchell of Isle of Arran, the only distiller authorized to use the Burns name on Scotch whisky. Warning: This episode contains bagpipe music! 😉
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This week, WhiskyCast is in British Columbia for the Victoria Whisky Festival! It may be the only whisky festival with ticket scalpers because of the many whisky lovers in the area, and distilleries came from all over the world to show off their whiskies. We’ll hear from Andrew Currie, who’s building Vancouver Island’s first single malt distillery…along with Ron Stothers of Alberta’s Highwood Distillers, Peter Currie of Springbank, Andrew Gray of Bruichladdich, and Ashok Chokalingam of Amrut. There’s also news about thieves hitting the old Rosebank Distillery…and stealing the stills!
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The Spirit of Speyside Festival is still a few months away, but it’s not too soon to start making your travel plans. In fact, tickets for the Festival events go on sale starting today! We’ll get a preview of the biggest Spirit of Speyside Festival yet from director Ros Lewis. In the news, Sazerac buys a second Kentucky distillery to go along with Buffalo Trace, Jack Daniel’s celebrates the Obama inauguration, Glenmorangie releases Astar to the world, and the peatiest Ardbeg ever!
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Glen Grant has been producing whisky along the River Spey since 1840, and in that time, there have been only eight distillery managers. Dennis Malcolm was born at the distillery, and is in his second stint as manager. We’ll hear from Dennis about the history and the future of Glen Grant, which includes exporting its malts to the United States. In the news, new whiskies from The Balvenie and Wemyss Vintage Malts, Woodford Reserve prepares for its annual whiskey schools, and a look at the start of Homecoming in Scotland to mark the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’ birth.
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Many of the microdistillers producing whisky got their inspiration from the craft brewing boom of the last 15 years, and more craft brewers are being inspired to use whisky barrels to age their beers. Greg Hall of Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Company has been making bourbon barrel-aged stout for years, while newcomers like James Watt of Scotland’s BrewDog Brewery and Christopher Bird of the Lexington Brewing Company are producing their own variations on the concept. In the news, GlenDronach outlines its plans for 2009 under Billy Walker’s leadership and Kilchoman starts teasing us with plans to release its first single malt.
Links: Goose Island Beer Company | BrewDog | Lexington Brewing Company | Harviestoun Brewery/Ola Dubh | Innis & Gunn | GlenDronach | Kilchoman
Marko Karakasevic is the latest in a long family line of distillers, and like many other sons who go into the family business, his goal is to out-do his father. Marko’s taking an unusual tack with whisky at his family’s Charbay Distillery in California’s Napa Valley, and he’ll explain in Part 2 of our look at microdistillers. In the news, Scotch whisky exports fell during the first three quarters of 2008, and Inver House is giving U.K. whisky lovers a chance to win their own cask of An Cnoc single malt.
Links: Charbay | The Scotsman | Scotch Whisky Industry Review | Scotch Whisky Association | An Cnoc
A double feature this time around: William Wemyss shares his family’s Scottish heritage with a line of single cask and blended malts named to describe what the whiskies inside taste like. We’ll also start a two-part series looking at the growth of microdistillers in the U.S., featuring Jess Graber of Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey, Jay Harman of The Notch, and Brian Ellison of Death’s Door Spirits. In the news, Bruichladdich unleashes the Octomore peat monster and the X4 quadruple-distilled spirit on the world.
Links: Wemyss Vintage Malts | Malt Advocate | Stranahan’s | The Notch | Death’s Door Spirits | Bruichladdich | The Glenlivet | Jim Beam | Glengoyne | Ulf Buxrud’s Whisky Site | The Last Drop | Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible
Time for another visit to the library…Ian Buxton joins us with details on the newest release in the Classic Expressions series of vintage whisky books. “Truths About Whiskey” dates back to 1878, and was produced by 4 Dublin distillers arguing for regulations to protect Irish whiskeys from what they perceived as inferior Scotch whiskies. In the news, more awards from Whisky Magazine and The Whisky Shop, the Tom Moore Distillery in Bardstown opens its doors to the public, and a chemistry lesson on whisky science that’s actually easy to understand!
Links: Classic Expressions | Whisky Magazine | Duncan Taylor | The Whisky Shop | Classic Malts | Tom Moore Distillery Information | Chemistry World: A Whisky Tour | World’s Largest Whisky Tasting
Orkney’s Scapa Distillery has been relatively quiet since it was acquired by the Chivas Brothers unit of Pernod Ricard in 2005, but that’s about to change. Scapa is releasing its first new bottling since the Chivas acquisition — a 16-year-old malt that’s available only in France now, but will be available in many markets early in 2009. Neil MacDonald of Chivas tells us what’s been going on behind the scenes at Scapa for the last three years. In the news, the latest Evan Williams Single Barrel is heading to retailers, Old Pulteney is going through renovations, and you could win a bottle of the rare White Bowmore…plus more on the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition!
Links: Scapa | Evan Williams | Old Pulteney | Bowmore | Distilled Spirits Council of the US | Old Forester | The Cocktail Guru