The statue of Booker Noe at the Jim Beam Distillery in Clermont, Kentucky.This is where you’ll find extended versions of WhiskyCast interviews, along with audio and video from special events that were too long to include in a regular episode of WhiskyCast. The original idea behind WhiskyCast was to gather oral histories of whisky, and this is a place where you can listen and learn more about the “water of life”.

Interview: “American Spirit” Author James Rodewald

"American Spirit" by James Rodewald. Image courtesy Sterling Epicure.October 12, 2014 – Veteran journalist and former Gourmet Magazine drinks editor James Rodewald spent more than a year visiting distillers around the United States for one of the first books covering the boom in craft distilling. “American Spirit: An Exploration of the Craft Distilling Revolution” isn’t a how-to guide, but documents the stories of individuals who thought they could make whiskies, brandies, gins, and vodkas just as well as the big corporate distillers — if not better.

Many of the subjects Rodewald profiles are familiar ones to WhiskyCast listeners, including Chip Tate, the Erenzos of Tuthilltown, Dave Pickerell, and other whisky distillers. During our conversation recorded on September 30, 2014 at The Dead Rabbit in New York City, James discussed how he found some of his subjects by asking other craft distillers whom they most respected, and discovered distillers he’d never heard of in years of covering the spirits industry. You’ll discover some of those distillers in this complete version of the interview (an edited version appears in Episode 501 of WhiskyCast).


“American Spirit” is available to purchase in the WhiskyCast Bookstore powered by

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Interview: Corsair Artisan Distillery’s Darek Bell

Stacks of barrels at Corsair Artisan Distillery's facility in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Photo ©2013 by Mark Gillespie. October 12, 2014 – Darek Bell and his colleagues at Corsair Artisan Distillery have become known throughout the craft distilling community for their innovative style, as well as their willingness to share what they’ve learned with others.  Since Darek founded Corsair with his childhood friend Andrew Webber and his wife Amy Lee Bell in 2007, they’ve created hundreds of different whisky recipes, from simple mashbills to audacious experiments such as a 12-grain Bourbon. In his first book, “Alt Whiskeys”, Bell explored the steps in developing a microdistillery, along with recipes for fledgling and expert distillers alike.

"Fire Water" by Darek Bell. Image courtesy Darek Bell/Anthony Matula.Now, Bell has published his second book based on his passion for smoky Islay-style whiskies. “Fire Water” looks at different ways of imparting that smoky flavor during the distilling process, including techniques using peat, wood, roots, bark, and herbs. Bell also includes recipes for cocktails made with smoky whiskies that bring out the flavors of the whisky without overwhelming the other ingredients.

An edited version of this interview appears in Episode 501 of WhiskyCast, but we’re glad to make the entire interview available here.


“Fire Water” is available to purchase in the WhiskyCast Bookstore powered by

Links: Corsair Artisan Distillery

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Interview: The Whisky Exchange’s Sukhinder Singh

The Whisky Exchange's Sukhinder Singh on the show floor during The Whisky Show, October 6, 2014. Photo ©2014 by Mark Gillespie. October 6, 2014 – Sukhinder Singh has seen the growing interest in whisky collecting and investing from multiple points of view. As the co-founder of The Whisky Exchange in London, he’s made rare bottles available to collectors and investors, and his own personal whisky collection is one of the world’s largest. While he’s not sure exactly how many bottles he has in a secured warehouse, he estimates his collection at between 6,000 and 8,000 bottles. That includes one of the rarest and most expensive whiskies ever, one of the three bottles of The Dalmore Trinities, for which he paid £100,000 (approximately $165,000) in 2010.

During a lunch break in the brasserie at The Whisky Show (organized by The Whisky Exchange), we sat down for a conversation about the growth of the show, along with his own views on whisky collecting and investing. He also gives us some of his personal “go-to” whiskies, as well…

Links: The Whisky Exchange | The Whisky Show

Editor’s note: Support for our coverage of the 2014 Whisky Show was provided by The Whisky Exchange. However, WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie retained full editorial control over the content.

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The 24 Hours of Whisky

The Black-Bull sponsored Ecurie Ecosse BMW competing in British GP action at Snetterton on June 16. The team is preparing for next year's 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. Photo courtesy Ecurie Ecosse.June 15, 2014 – If you’re a longtime WhiskyCast listener, you’re probably aware that motorsports is one of my other passions. I’ve been a racing fan since I was old enough to have a toy checkered flag and race cars as a kid growing up in Indianapolis.  For years, I’ve dreamed of going to France to watch the 24 Hours of Le Mans…and it’s one of the things on my “bucket list.”

Since I couldn’t make it this year, I decided to do the next best thing…

The 24 Hours of Whisky.

During this year’s race, I posted a new tasting note each hour on the Tasting Notes page, and tried to tie in some of the whiskies to Le Mans or racing-related subjects. In the interests of transparency (and responsibility), I did not stay up for 24 hours straight tasting whiskies. While I did taste 17 whiskies during the weekend, the remaining notes came from recent competitions I helped judge blindly and received the entry lists later, allowing me to cross-reference my notes against the entries and add them to the site. Here’s the complete list with links to each tasting note:

9:00am (3:00pm in France): The race begins with Sazerac Rye 18’s 2013 Edition
10:00am: Cutty Sark 12
11:00am: Wiser’s 18
Noon: Stauning Young Rye (9-time Le Mans winner and this year’s runner-up Tom Kristensen is from Denmark)
1:00pm: Zuidam Rye from The Netherlands
2:00pm: Label 5 Extra Rare 18
3:00pm: J.R. Ewing Private Reserve (“Super Tex” A.J. Foyt is the only driver to win the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, and Le Mans)
4:00pm: MaQintosh Silver Edition from India
5:00pm: Pappy Van Winkle’s Family Reserve 15 Year Old 
6:00pm: Glenfiddich Age of Discovery Bourbon Cask
7:00pm: Nikka Yoichi 10 (Toyota’s LMP1 car was leading Le Mans at the time)
8:00pm: Lark Single Cask #659 (in memory of the late Sir Jack Brabham, the first post-war racer to be knighted)
9:00pm: Halfway there with the Col. E.H. Taylor Single Barrel Bourbon
10:00pm: Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye (the closest distillery to Le Mans legend Mario Andretti’s home)
11:00pm: Blackadder Raw Cask Macallan 1990
Midnight: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye
1:00am: Ron Burgundy’s Great Odin’s Raven (Le Mans is “kind of a big deal” in racing)
2:00am: Last Mountain Private Reserve from Canada
3:00am: K5 Himalayan Whisky (Hemingway said the only true sports are auto racing, mountain climbing, and bull fighting)
4:00am: OYO Michelone Reserve Bourbon from Ohio
5:00am: Gordon & MacPhail 1991 Balblair (finished in Crozes-Hermitage casks from France)
6:00am: Arran 1997 Sherry Single Cask
7:00am: The Macallan Cask Strength
8:00am: The final hour, and a French single malt seemed appropriate: Armorik Classic 2013 Edition

Links: 24 Hours of Le Mans | Sazerac Rye | Cutty Sark | Wiser’s | Stauning | Zuidam | Label 5 | J.R. Ewing Bourbon | MaQintosh | Old Rip Van Winkle | Glenfiddich | Nikka | Lark | Col. E.H. Taylor | Dad’s Hat | Blackadder | Ron Burgundy Scotch | Last Mountain | Spirits of Bhutan | Middle West Spirits | Gordon & MacPhail | Arran | The Macallan | Armorik

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Interview: Chivas Brothers Master Blender Colin Scott

Chivas Brothers Master Blender Colin Scott. Image courtesy Chivas Brothers. January 25, 2014 – Colin Scott is marking two anniversaries: his 40th year with Chivas Brothers in 2013 and his 25th year as Master Blender in 2014. He joined The Glenlivet Distillers in 1973 as a trainee, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, and became Master Blender in 1989 after an apprenticeship under the legendary Jimmy Lang.

Chivas Brothers Master Blender Colin Scott in the 1980's. Image courtesy Chivas Brothers. Over the years, he expanded the Chivas Regal range from its flagship 12-year-old blend to include the 18 and 25-year-old expressions, while developing Royal Salute with the Stone of Destiny, Tribute to Honour, 62 Gun Salute, 100 Casks Selection and Diamond Tribute expressions. His most recent release, the Royal Salute World Polo Batch, honors Royal Salute’s growing ties with professional polo and the World Polo Series.

WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie talked with Colin by phone on January 22, 2014.


In addition, you can hear Mark’s 2009 interview with Colin on his history in the whisky business in Episode 195 of WhiskyCast.

Links: Chivas Regal | Royal Salute

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Interview: The London Distillery Company’s Darren Rook

Darren Rook, CEO and co-founder of the London Distillery Company. Photo courtesy The London Distillery Company.January 11, 2014 – London hadn’t had a whisky distillery for nearly 100 years until Darren Rook and his partners opened the London Distillery Company in early 2013. They’re focusing on gin production, but received a license to start making whisky in late 2013 and immediately started producing whisky in “Matilda”, their 650-litre pot still. The goal is to revive some of the heritage of London whisky production that went away when the last distillery closed in 1905.

In Episode 460 of WhiskyCast, Darren explained his reasons for moving from selling whisky to making it, and the process for studying the old-school ways that his predecessors used. He also explained the process they used for getting regulatory approval — no small feat, since UK Customs & Revenue officials traditionally refused to license small stills for decades. While Episode 460 has an edited version of the interview, you can hear the entire interview here.

Links: The London Distillery Company

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