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”. You can listen to episodes here or subscribe with iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
Tasmania’s distillers have been making some unusual and incredible whiskies in recent years, but many of them are flying under the radar of whisky lovers. Belgrove Distillery is one of those underrated distilleries, but when WhiskyCast listener Matt Wooler told us we had to check it out, we did. Peter Bignell built the distillery from the ground up on his farm, where he grows his own grain, makes his own whisky, and even fills and labels each bottle by hand. He’s also making what may well be one of the few peated rye whiskies in the world, and shares his story with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Kentucky’s stocks of maturing Bourbon have reached the five million barrel mark for the first time since 1977, we’ll get the latest on commemorative bottlings from Maker’s Mark and The Famous Grouse, and Woodford Reserve mourns the death of a longtime family member…Elijah, the distillery cat.
Links: Belgrove Distillery | University of Tasmania | Bonhams | McTear’s | Kentucky Distillers Association | Maker’s Mark | The Famous Grouse | Glasgow 2014 | William Grant & Sons | Glenglassaugh | Laphroaig | Wemyss Malts | Woodford Reserve | King of Scots
Celebrity-branded spirits are a big trend these days, and the whisky world is no exception. Last week, we reported on the lawsuit filed by John Wayne’s heirs against Duke University seeking to protect the family’s trademark rights to produce a “Duke Bourbon” featuring the late actor. It’s a little easier when the brand is based on a character instead of the actor, though…and this week, we’ll hear from two entrepreneurs who have done just that. Michael Howard of Prairie Creek Beverages in Dallas is behind the J.R. Ewing Bourbon named after the legendary “Dallas” villain, and Ed Caan of Riviera Imports worked with Paramount Pictures on Ron Burgundy Great Odin’s Raven Scotch as part of last winter’s “Anchorman 2″ premiere. He’ll tell us what Paramount executives originally wanted to call the whisky, too.
We’ll also have the latest on the pending sale of Whyte & Mackay, along with word that distillers just down the road from J.R.’s Southfork Ranch have won a zoning battle for their new distillery site. David Beckham, Simon Fuller, and Diageo have launched their Haig Club single grain Scotch in London, and The Famous Grouse releases a special bottling for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Finally, we’ll look at ideas for summer whisky cocktails with bartender Jeff Bell of PDT in New York City.
Links: J.R. Ewing Private Reserve | Ron Burgundy Scotch Whisky | Competition & Markets Authority | Diageo | United Spirits | Whyte & Mackay | Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Firestone & Robertson | Irish Distillers | The Famous Grouse | Glasgow 2014 | GlenDronach | Jim Beam | Ardnamurchan | PDT | Johnnie Walker
Glenmorangie’s Dr. Bill Lumsden wanted to push the envelope 16 years ago when he got his hands on some French Oak barriques from an undisclosed Bordeaux wine chateau, and see just how long he could put a whisky away for finishing. He got his answer a couple of years ago when five of those barriques yielded the Glenmorangie Pride 1978 single malt that was released this week. We’ll discuss that process with him on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, and he’ll respond to Ardbeg lovers who claim the Islay landmark’s current releases don’t quite match up to those old classic Ardbegs, but still want him to revive the Ardbeg 17-year-old. In the news, Scotland’s whisky industry gets dragged into the independence referendum debate, while two distillers pick their sides in the showdown. Speaking of showdowns, John Wayne’s family is squaring off in court against Duke University over a Bourbon honoring the legendary movie star.
Links: Glenmorangie | Ardbeg | Scotland Electoral Commission | William Grant & Sons | Scotch Whisky Association | Springbank | Old Pulteney | The Glenrothes | Jack Daniel’s | The James Beard House | The Flatiron Room | Duke Spirits | Duke University | Downslope Distilling
Corn farmers have a saying “knee high by the Fourth of July” to gauge whether their crop will be a good one, and we’ll look at the grains that go into making “America’s Native Spirit” with veteran Bourbon distiller Dave Pickerell on this Independence Day episode. Corn, rye, wheat, and barley each add their own unique character to a Bourbon, along with many of the exotic grains distillers experiment with, and Dave will break them down for us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Glasgow leaders give their blessing to a new distillery along the River Clyde, and we’ll have more on new distilleries in Ireland and New Zealand, along with an update on new whiskies from Highland Park, Jim Beam, and Kininvie. This week’s tasting notes include Barrell Bourbon, Jim Beam’s new Signature Craft Quarter Cask, High West’s American Prairie Reserve, and a rare Glengoyne 15 matured exclusively in Bourbon casks.
Links: George Washington’s Distillery | A.D. Rattray | The Southland Times | Slane Castle | William Grant & Sons | Highland Park | Barrell Bourbon | Gonzalez Byass | Bowmore | Glenmorangie | The Open Championship | Jim Beam | High West | Glengoyne
Michael Urquhart is retiring from Gordon & MacPhail in September, but the leader of the family-owned business calls it a natural “changing of the guard.” However, his successor is the first person from outside the Urquhart family to lead Gordon & MacPhail in its 120-year history. We’ll talk whisky and family with Michael and Ewen Mackintosh on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there’s another retirement as Bruichladdich’s Duncan McGillivray wraps up his 40-year career, the Bourbon Capital of the World is getting another new distillery as the Bardstown Bourbon Distillery brings a Bourbon Hall of Famer home, and we’ll catch up with the guys from Seattle’s Westland Distillery as they spread their wings with a new distribution deal.
Links: Gordon & MacPhail | Bruichladdich | Bardstown Bourbon | Jim Beam | Glenfiddich | Old Pulteney | Glen Garioch | Bowmore | Westland Distillery | WFAA | Firestone & Robertson | Classic Malts | Glen Deveron | Redemption Rye
Distilling is serious business, and safety is paramount. Brianna Bailey of The Oklahoman can testify to that…she was an eyewitness to an explosion inside Twister Distillery in Moore, Oklahoma on Friday, June 13. The photo at right shows distiller Jeff Thurmon seconds before an open propane flame ignited the alcohol spraying from his still. Bailey and the distillery’s owner escaped unhurt. She shares the story of that day with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, and Scott Harris of Catoctin Creek Distillery explains why distillers have to make safety their top priority. Even if you never plan to work in a distillery, you may visit one someday, and we all need to keep safety in mind. We also have updates on new distilleries and expansion projects in Scotland, Utah, and Kentucky…the latest on new whiskies from Maker’s Mark, Crown Royal, and Bowmore…and the kickoff of the Summer Whisky Challenge.
Links: The Oklahoman/NewsOK.com | Twister Distillery | Catoctin Creek | Kingsbarns Distillery | Maker’s Mark | High West | Jewish Whisky Company/Single Cask Nation | Diageo | United Spirits | Crown Royal | Bowmore | Jim Beam | Jack Daniel’s | McTear’s | Bonhams
David Blackmore spends most of his year on the road as the brand ambassador for Glenmorangie and Ardbeg, and was in Taipei for Ardbeg Day 2014 in what he describes as one of his most interesting road trips yet. He’ll share stories from the road with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth during a brief break from his travels.
In the news, we have word on new whiskies from Maker’s Mark, Crown Royal, GlenDronach, and Kilchoman. Diageo wins a legal battle with Tennessee regulators, and a sad story from Oklahoma is proof that craft distilling isn’t without its risks. This week’s tasting notes have a Hollywood feel, as we’ll look at a couple of whiskies with famous names…if not whisky pedigrees.
Links: Glenmorangie | Ardbeg | Maker’s Mark | Crown Royal | Elements of Islay | Kilchoman | Johnnie Walker | Ryder Cup | Balblair | GlenDronach | Glenglassaugh | BBC News | Diageo | George Dickel | Tennessee Alcohol Beverage Commission | Whisky Advocate | The Oklahoman | Great Odin’s Raven | J.R. Ewing Private Reserve | The Fat Trout
Humans have been drinking alcohol for centuries, but there are still many things we don’t understand about it…basic things like the chemistry behind fermentation and the biology behind the effect it has on us. Wired Magazine’s Adam Rogers has been studying the science of alcohol for his new book “Proof: The Science of Booze” and “distills” it into layman’s terms for us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, UK regulators want the public to weigh in on the sale of Whyte & Mackay, Campari completes its acquisition of Canada’s Forty Creek Distillery, and Australia’s Tasmania Distillery is on the move. We’ll continue the science focus in this week’s tasting notes with a look at the latest Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Bourbons.
Links: Adam Rogers | Competition & Markets Authority | Whyte & Mackay | Diageo | Alliance Global | Forty Creek | Gruppo Campari | Tasmania Distillery | Box Distillery | Brown-Forman | Art Antiques London Auction | Buffalo Trace