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”.
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
Inver House was recently named Distiller of the Year in Whisky Magazine’s annual Icons of Whisky Awards for its work in re-launching the Balblair single malt, along with Old Pulteney and An Cnoc. We’ll hear from master blender Stuart Harvey about the behind-the-scenes work that earned Inver House its honors, and he also spills the beans about some new single malts coming later this year.
Links: Inver House | Bruichladdich | Scotch Whisky Association | Benromach
In Part 2 of our series on Irish Whiskeys, we’ll hear from Bushmills master distiller Colum Egan. Colum was under pressure to come up with a special whiskey to celebrate the 400th anniversary of distilling in the area around Bushmills, and he met the challenge with Bushmills 1608. We’ll also look at Knappogue Castle and Clontarf with Kelley Spillane of Castle Brands, who predicts a new distillery will be built in Ireland in the next few years because of the worldwide demand for Irish whiskey. In the news, Alastair’s no Darling as far as whisky distillers are concerned, someone pinches a rare malt from Gordon & MacPhail, and Harlen Wheatley of Buffalo Trace is back from his laboratory lair with something special.
Links: Bushmills | Castle Brands | Knappogue Castle | Clontarf | Gordon & MacPhail | Inver House | Forbes Magazine
With St. Patrick’s Day just around the horizon, it’s time for Part 1 of a 2-part series on Irish Whiskeys. In this episode, we’ll hear from the Master of Whiskey Science at Irish Distillers’ Midleton Distillery, David Quinn. He’ll explain the basic difference that makes Irish whiskeys unique, and tell us about the new Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve. In the news, distilling veteran Stuart Nickerson unveils the plans to revive the mothballed Glenglassaugh Distillery, and we’ll hear about two new Balvenie limited editions…and why drinking whisky can save the Earth.