WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in 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”. You can listen to episodes here or subscribe with iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
Irish Whiskey has been leading the global growth in whisky sales for the last several years, posting double-digit gains every year. That growth is being reflected in the number of new distilleries under construction or being planned in Ireland, and distillers from both sides of the border have come together to form the Irish Whiskey Association. Peter Morehead of Irish Distillers was elected the association’s first president, and joins us to discuss the state of Irish Whiskey on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, former Bruichladdich managing director Mark Reynier is getting back into the whisky business with a new distillery, Chip Tate’s scheduled to return to Balcones at the end of this coming week and plans major changes while his dispute with Balcones’ majority investors continues, and Springbank’s owners thumb their noses at the results of the recent Scottish independence referendum with a new release honoring the losing side in that election.
Links: Mark Reynier on Twitter | Balcones Distilling | Springbank | Box Distillery | Benromach | GlenDronach | Booker’s
Dewar’s has focused on its Blended Scotch whiskies for generations, with the limited exception in recent years of single malts from Aberfeldy. However, a team within Dewar’s has been working quietly for the last six years to change that focus, and the result is the Last Great Malts series. The new range made its debut earlier this year with redesigned packaging for Aberfeldy, and new whiskies from Craigellachie and Aultmore are just now entering the market. In 2015, we’ll see The Deveron single malts from Macduff Distillery and the first mainstream single malts ever from 212-year-old Royal Brackla. Stephen Marshall led the Dewar’s team behind the Last Great Malts, and opens up about the process behind the new range on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, new distilleries are on line in Scotland and Kentucky, a historic Speyside whisky bar is open after major renovations, and the “Bourbon Summit” may already have a winner.
Links: The Last Great Malts | Annandale | Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery | Craigellachie Hotel | Monte Carlo Whisky Society | Ballantine’s | Rogue Spirits | Single Oak Project | Buffalo Trace | Diageo | Fred Minnick’s Blog | Saturday Night Live | Woodford Reserve | The Whisky Exchange
Stuart Harvey has been the master blender for Inver House for nearly 11 years, and he’s living proof that you don’t have to be born into the industry to become a master blender. He started out making beer, but made the switch to whisky and never looked back. He’ll join us for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the art of blending, and how it’s just as much of a challenge to create a Single Malt expression as it is a Blended Scotch.
In the news, Chip Tate has won a key battle in his bid to regain control of Balcones Distilling, thieves strike a whisky warehouse near Glasgow, and the Kentucky sheriff investigating last year’s Pappy Van Winkle theft is convinced it was an inside job…but needs more evidence before he can make any arrests. We’ll also look at the week’s new whiskies, and this week’s tasting notes feature the new Jura 1984 and Douglas Laing’s new Timorous Beastie Highland Blended Malt.
Links: Inver House | Hankey Bannister | Old Pulteney | Balblair | anCnoc | Speyburn | Balcones Distilling | Daily Record | Old Rip Van Winkle | WLKY-TV | Laphroaig | Glenmorangie | Jura | Scottish Leader | Diageo | Old Forester | Early Times | Douglas Laing & Co.
This episode marks the end of our 9th year, and we’ll hear from two of the more outspoken voices in the whisky world on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. Simon and Phil Thompson run the family-owned Dornoch Castle Hotel in the Scottish Highlands, and their hotel’s bar was named Scotland’s Whisky Bar of the Year this week by the Scottish Licensed Trade News. The Thompson brothers are almost as well-known for their opinions as their whisky selection, and they pulled no punches in a wide-ranging interview the other night in Dornoch. In the news, Diageo pulls the trigger on a swap of Bushmills for Don Julio Tequila, Glenfiddich goes retro with a new expression re-creating the one it pioneered in 1963, Pappy Fever hits epidemic status, and a Canadian liquor store pays the price for bargain-basement shelving.
Links: Dornoch Castle Hotel | Bushmills | Diageo | Tullamore Dew | Glenfiddich | William Grant & Sons | Cincinnati Business Courier | Meta | Wemyss Malts | Isle of Arran | Bunnahahbain | Whistlepig Rye | CBC News | Ardshiel Hotel | The Ardmore | Nikka
The battle between Scotland’s illicit distillers and the excisemen known as “gaugers” is the stuff of which legends, books, and now, a movie have been made. Filmmaker Mike Dziennik’s “Peat Reek” will be shown this coming weekend at the Inverness Film Festival, and tells the story of a young gauger sent to the Highlands to shut down the whisky makers and the local minister who helps him see the light. We’ll talk with Mike Dziennik on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Wall Street Journal reports Diageo may be close to trading Bushmills for control of the Don Julio tequila brand, Emperador closes its deal to buy Whyte & Mackay, Old Pulteney goes green with biomass power, and Fireball faces a firestorm in Scandinavia. This week’s tasting notes include The Balvenie’s new Tun 1509 Batch 1, Balblair’s 1999 Vintage Second Release, and what may well be one of the world’s worst whiskies – a herring cask-finished single malt!
Links: Peat Reek | Bushmills | Diageo | United Spirits | Whyte & Mackay | The Dalmore | The Glenlivet | Douglas Laing & Co. | Jim Beam | Disaronno | Fireball | Old Pulteney | Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible | Compass Box | The Balvenie | Balblair
This week’s episode comes from Whiskey Live Dublin, and we’ll be focusing on Irish whiskies this time around with some of the winners from Thursday night’s Irish Whiskey Awards ceremony at Kilbeggan Distillery. We’ll also get the details on the most expensive Irish whiskey ever released, the Midleton Very Rare 30th Anniversary Pearl Edition…as well as the upcoming US debut of Yellow Spot. It won’t be an all-Ireland show, though…we”ll hear from Chip Tate on his side of the Balcones Distilling dispute now that his gag order has been lifted, and while Bourbon’s global boom is causing a boom in Kentucky’s economy, a slowdown in Scotch whisky sales has prompted Diageo to slow down its expansion plans in Scotland.
Links: Whiskey Live Dublin | Balcones Distilling | Kentucky Distillers Association | Just-Drinks.com | Diageo | Teeling Whiskey Company | Walsh Whiskey Distillery | Glendalough | Jameson | Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Celtic Whiskey Shop | Irish Whiskey Awards | Beggar’s Bush Pub/Jack Ryan’s Whiskey | Tullamore Dew | Dingle | Kilbeggan
Finland has a love-hate relationship with whisky. Finns love it, and the Finnish government hates it. Distilled spirits advertising is banned, and regulators went so far as to force the organizers of a Helsinki beer and whisky festival this coming weekend to drop “whisky” from the event’s name or risk losing their permits. It’s still legal to make whisky in Finland, though…and we’ll find out more about Teerenpeli Distillery & Brewery and the Kyrö Distilling Company on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Chivas Brothers gives its new Speyside distillery a name, both sides in the Balcones Distilling dispute head back to court this week, and we’ll find out about some wearable whisky fashion, along with tasting notes for one Bourbon, one Scotch…and one Joker.
Links: Teerenpeli Distillery & Brewery | Kyrö Distilling Company | Balcones Distilling | Chip Tate Defense Fund | Chivas Brothers | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Glen Grant | Chivas Regal | Teeling Whiskey Company | Jewish Whisky Company/Single Cask Nation | Westland Distillery | English Whisky Company | The Balvenie | Woodzee | Generic Surplus | Whiskey Live Dublin | TTB Labeling Resources | Old Forester | The Glenlivet
This week, we’ll look at the growth of craft distilling through the eyes of veteran drinks writer James Rodewald and distiller Darek Bell. Rodewald studied the boom in craft distilling for his new book “American Spirit.” Bell is one of the co-founders of Corsair Artisan Distillery, and has just published his second book, “Fire Water” – a look at ways to produce uniquely smoky whiskies.
In the news, we’ll also look at a bunch of new whiskies flooding the market from around the world, including The Glenrothes, Arran, The Balvenie, Clynelish, Woodford Reserve, and more. Speaking of floods, cleanup work is underway after a flood this week at a distillery in Speyside, and Manhattan mixologist Pam Witzinger of The Dead Rabbit teaches us how to make the perfect Manhattan. The Dead Rabbit was just named the best cocktail bar in North America and ranked #2 in the world by Difford’s Guide.
Note: the entire interviews with James Rodewald and Darek Bell can be found in our WhiskyCast In-Depth section.
Links: Corsair Artisan Distillery | The Press & Journal | Beam Suntory | Balcones Distilling | The Glenrothes | Arran | Glenfarclas | Classic Malts | The Balvenie | Woodford Reserve | Tap Whisky | Barrell Bourbon | New Zealand Whisky Company | Whisky Festival Noord Nederland | Drinks International/Difford’s | The Dead Rabbit | World of Whiskies | Glen Deveron