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”.
While it’s the start of summer in Scotland, it’s the start of a winter of whisky in Australia. Later this month, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s Australian chapter will revive an old tradition: the Australian Malt Whisky Tasting Championship. The Society’s Andrew Derbidge gives us the details. In the news, word of a hedonistic new whisky from Compass Box and a rare chance to learn whisky blending from John Glaser, new distillery expansions in Kentucky, and a legal battle in India.
Links: SMWS Australia Chapter | Compass Box | Astor Center | Maker’s Mark | Heaven Hill | Scotch Whisky Association | Lark Distillery | Tasmania Distillery
It’s festival week on Islay, and we’ll hear about the plans for this week’s Islay Festival of Malt and Music from Laphroaig’s John Campbell, Ardbeg’s Mickey Heads, and Jim McEwan of Bruichladdich. Every distillery on Islay and Jura has a special bottling for this week’s festival, and the guys will give us details on theirs. In the news, skyrocketing prices for crops and energy mean we’ll be paying more for whisky in the future, Constellation Brands sells a Quebec distillery to Diageo, and updates on new whiskies planned for later this year.
Links: Islay Festival of Malt & Music | The Herald | Tullibardine | Laphroaig | Ardbeg | Bruichladdich | Art of the Drink
One of the world’s great whisky bars sits in between a stationery store and a restaurant in Toronto’s Beaches neighborhood. Ian Innes has owned The Feathers since 1981, and his selection of single malts is amazing. There are 460 different expressions from almost every distillery in Scotland (and he probably had the others at one time or another)! We’ll hear about Ian’s amazing collection…the most expensive of which is just $35 a dram — amazing in itself. In the news, a milestone at Buffalo Trace, new whiskies on the market, including a new 40-year-old Springbank, and much more…
Links: The Feathers | Buffalo Trace | Tomatin | “What Does John Know” | Tullamore Dew | Cooley | Old Forester | Regis Whisky Mad | The Arran Banner | Arran
On the road again, and back in one of my favorite cities…Toronto. This time around, it’s for the Spirit of Toronto Festival. We’ll have some of the highlights, including the first public tasting of Highland Park’s new 40-year-old single malt…more from John Hall of Kittling Ridge on his upcoming new release of Forty Creek Canadian whisky, and a chat with festival organizer Johanna Ngoh.
Links: Spirit of Toronto | Highland Park | Forty Creek
Good things take time, and after 109 years, Ardmore is finally being released as a single malt. Until now, all of the Aberdeenshire distillery’s output has been used for blending, but after Beam Global acquired Ardmore a couple of years ago and realized just what it had…plans were quickly made to release the Ardmore Traditional single malt. We’ll hear from Ardmore master distiller Alistair Longwell about the distillery’s history and his new pride and joy. In the news, winners of the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Awards, Glen Grant opens a new visitors center, and Scotch whisky exports set a new record.
Links: Ardmore | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Glen Grant | Forty Creek | “What Does John Know?” | Duncan Taylor | Scotch Whisky Association
This is Kentucky Derby week in Louisville, and that makes it a perfectly good time to focus on bourbon. We’ll hear from Ron Givens, author of the new book “Bourbon at its Best.” Ron’s book covers everything from bourbon history to travel tips and cocktail recipes. One of the recipes is for the Seelbach Cocktail, named for the legendary Old Seelbach Bar at the Seelbach Hilton in Louisville. Jerry Slater tells us about the Old Seelbach’s century of history with bourbon.
Running a distillery is a tough job…but Ian MacMillan runs three. Oh, he serves as the master blender, too. Ian’s in charge of Burn Stewart’s three distilleries: Bunnahabhain, Deanston, and Tobermory…and he also is responsible for the Black Bottle blended Scotch. Ian tells us about his 36 years in the whisky business in this episode. In the news, a major — and unexpected — change at Maker’s Mark, as Kevin Smith replaces Dave Pickerell as master distiller. We’ll also have the World Whisky Awards winners, the new 40-year-old Highland Park, and much more…
Links: Burn Stewart Distillers | Maker’s Mark | Whisky Magazine | Highland Park | Wemyss Malts | Buffalo Trace
Time for another road trip…this time to the spiritual home of Bourbon…Kentucky. This week’s episode comes from DeSha’s Restaurant and Bar in Lexington, which tied for top honors as Best Whisky Bar in the World in Whisky Magazine’s recent Icons of Whisky Awards. It’s about an hour away from another Icon award winner…the Maker’s Mark Distillery in Loretto, which was named Best Visitor Attraction by Whisky Magazine. Assistant Master Distiller Kevin Smith and Rob Samuels, grandson of Maker’s Mark founder William Samuels Sr. will guide us through the distillery and its new visitors center.
Links: Maker’s Mark | DeSha’s Restaurant & Bar | Glenmorangie | Glenora Distillers | Scotch Whisky Association
It’s been a busy week for whisky festivals from coast to coast in the US, with events in San Francisco, New York, and Chicago. In this episode, we’ll get some of the highlights from Whisky Live New York. Ronnie Cox of The Glenrothes talks about a rare 1975 vintage, Duncan Taylor’s Euan Shand updates us on his construction plans for a new distillery and a new website offering cask whisky purchases, new selections from Scott’s Selection, and wider US distribution for The Singleton of Glendullan.
Links: Whisky Live | Jack Daniel’s | Classic Malts | Scott’s Selections/The Speyside | Duncan Taylor | Quarter Casks.com | Park Avenue Liquor Shop | Tomintoul | The Glenrothes
In the last episode, I mentioned the growing controversy over proposed UK legislation that would set specific labeling standards for Scotch Whisky, including a new name for what have been known as “vatted malts”. Trouble is, support for “blended malts” is not unanimous, and critics are speaking out. Mark Reynier of Bruichladdich is one of the most outspoken critics of the legislation and the influence of the Scotch Whisky Association in preparing it. We’ll hear from Mark, along with SWA spokesman David Williamson.
Links: Scotch Whisky Association | Bruichladdich | San Francisco World Spirits Competition | Woodford Reserve