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”.
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
It’s not often that The Glenlivet introduces a new single malt, but that’s what’s happening this week! We’ll get an update from The Glenlivet’s Andy Nash on the new 16-year-old Nadurra, the first cask-strength bottling available to most whisky drinkers. In the news, Robbo lands at Whyte and MacKay, Diageo releases another entry-level single malt for the duty-free market, and on the festival front…there will be one in Louisiana this October, but will there be two in Toronto? Also, it’s time for you to become a part of WhiskyCast…all you need to do is record a whisky joke or drinking song, and you could be featured in an upcoming episode!
Links: The Glenlivet | Whyte & MacKay | Classic Malts | Celtic Nations Heritage Festival | Spirit of Toronto | DaVinci’s Notebook
More from the WhiskyCast Book Club in this episode…Misako Udo’s passion for whisky has landed her a publishing deal for “The Scottish Whisky Distilleries.” Back in February, we talked with Misako, and we’ll get an update in this episode. In the news…is Whyte & MacKay up for sale, or is it? Also, a whisky festival planned for this fall in Louisiana has been cancelled, and writer Ian Buxton has plans to give new life to more classic whisky books.
Links: Whyte & MacKay | Celtic Malts | Classic Expressions | The Glenrothes | Black & White Publishing
Every whisky lover has a special preference…water or no water…ice or no ice…and then there’s the glass. We’ll look at the choices whisky lovers face in selecting a glass for that special dram. In the news, the trade war between India and the Europeans over whisky tariffs is heating up, this past week’s terrorist scare means we’ll have to leave our flasks at home, and Whisky Magazine editor Dominic Roskrow is leaving for a new challenge.
Links: Whisky Magazine | Scotch Whisky Association | Celtic Malts | Glencairn Crystal Studio
Last year, 250,000 people visited the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. The tour includes a free dram of Scotch, and that’s a lot of drams to pour! We’ll hear more about the Centre from its founder and managing director, Alastair McIntosh. In the news, Dave “Robbo” Robertson leaves Jon, Mark, and Robbo’s — and perhaps Edrington Group — for parts unknown (perhaps Whyte & MacKay?), there’s a new vintage from The Glenrothes, Maker’s Mark is shutting down the stills for summer maintenance, and more whisky events to plan your next vacation around.
Links: Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre | The Scotch Blog | Whyte & MacKay | The Glenrothes | Maker’s Mark
In part two of our series on whisky tasting for beginners, award-winning whisky writer Dave Broom offers his advice for beginners, as well as some criticism of the whisky industry for failing to better educate newcomers. In the news, Russian red tape is holding thousands of bottles of whisky hostage, Pernod Ricard sales worldwide are on the rise, phase one of the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre’s remodeling is complete, and we’ll have the winners of Scottish Field Magazine’s latest whisky merchants’ challenge.
Links: Whisky Magazine | The Scotsman | Pernod Ricard | Scottish Field Magazine | Maker’s Mark | Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre | Whisky Live Paris