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This Week on WhiskyCast

Whisky barrels in a rack. Image ©2021, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Silicon Valley’s Single Malt Whiskies (Episode 860: February 28, 2021)

Silicon Valley is the technology center of the world, but Virag Saksena has made the switch from mashing together code to mashing barley. He’s a former software engineer and Oracle executive who founded San Jose’s 10th Street Distillery in 2017 with his partner, chemical engineer Vishal Nauri. They’re exploring a shared passion for single malt whiskies…especially peated single malts, with the goal of creating a “great” California single malt whisky. We’ll meet Virag Saksena on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, help  is getting closer for the U.S. hospitality industry to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic, while Scotch Whisky makers are hoping for help from their government when the new budget is announced this week. New Zealand’s whisky makers are joining the rush to define the terms for their whiskies, and the pandemic-delayed Canadian Whisky Awards winners are celebrating.

 

Japanese whisky bottles, with two that no longer can be called "Japanese Whisky." Photo ©2021, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

A Solution to Japan’s Whisky Conundrum (Episode 859: February 21, 2021)

Japan’s whiskies have been getting more attention on the world stage. While some “Japanese Whiskies” are rightly winning awards in major competitions, others with the same label are often Scotch or Canadian whiskies imported into Japan – where there’s no legal definition for what is a “Japanese Whisky” and what isn’t. Now, Japan’s whisky makers are stepping in where the government has so far failed to act, creating an industry-wide definition requiring that whiskies labeled as “Japanese Whisky” must actually be distilled in Japan. We’ll discuss the new standards with Makiyo Masa of Dekantā, one of the largest online retailers specializing in Japanese whiskies. In the news, Texas distillers are trying to thaw out after winter weather left many of them without utilities for the last week, while Brown-Forman plans to invest $95 million to expand its flagship distillery in Louisville. We’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies and look at the latest scientific research on terroir in whisky.


Join us Fridays at 5:00pm New York time (22:00 GMT) for our live #HappyHour webcast. Our guests this week will be Uncle Nearest Tennessee Whiskey founder Fawn Weaver and Master Blender Victoria Eady-Butler. You can watch our webcasts on the WhiskyCast YouTube channel, our Facebook page, Twitter, and Periscope!

Midleton Master Distiller Kevin O'Gorman and Stewart Buchanan of BenRiach and GlenDronach distilleries were our guests on the latest #HappyHour webcast.

Midleton Master Distiller Kevin O’Gorman and Stewart Buchanan of BenRiach and GlenDronach distilleries were our guests on the latest #HappyHour webcast.

If you have an idea for a guest you’d like to see on one of our webcasts or a way that we can help you learn more about whisky, just use the contact form or catch us on social media. We’d love to hear from you!


Whisky Magazine's 2021 Icons of Whisky America "Communicator of the year" logo. Image courtesy Paragraph Publishing.Thanks to the folks at Whisky Magazine for naming Mark Gillespie as “Communicator of the Year” in the 2021 USA Icons of Whisky Awards! It’s the first time that award has been presented in the U.S. regional competition, and we’d like to congratulate our colleagues who won in other regions: David Ligoff (Australia), Moa Nilsson (Scotland), Barry Chandler (Ireland), and Billy Abbott (Rest of the World). The global winner will be selected from the finalists and announced in late March. We’re proud to be among the finalists, and best of luck to our colleagues!


A WhiskyCast GlenCairn glass in the hand.

Each month, we honor a whisky club as our Whisky Club of the Month, and the club receives two dozen WhiskyCast Glencairn glasses to use at their club tastings thanks to our friends at Glencairn Crystal. Our winning club for February is Club 101 of Hudson, Quebec…congratulations!

If you’re in a whisky club and would like to nominate your club, just use the contact form to get in touch with us and tell us about your club. If your club has a web site or is active on social media, we’ll also be glad to add a link on our directory of Whisky Clubs around the world so other whisky lovers can find you. You only need to nominate your club once, since we carry over entries from month to month.


Our very first episode of WhiskyCast dropped on November 12, 2005, and thanks for joining us each week as we continue our 16th year as the world’s longest-running whisky podcast series!

Each week, veteran journalist Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news, in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. Each podcast features brand-new content, and unless there’s a special occasion, we don’t do “best of” shows.

If you’re just discovering us for the first time, here’s a bit of our own story. WhiskyCast pioneered the genre of whisky-focused podcasts back in 2005, when most people had never heard of podcasting! Since then, we’ve produced hundreds of hours of original – and free – audio and video content for whisky lovers like you around the world. Our community spans the globe, and we’ve done stories on whiskies made in the far north of Scandinavia all the way to the tips of South Africa and Australia – and everywhere in between. We’ve met many of you at whisky festivals and while visiting distilleries, and hope to meet many more of you over time.

Please explore the website. We’ve collected all of our past episodes here, and post the latest whisky news as it happens – often several days before the next episode of WhiskyCast. All of our web content is free, including Mark’s database of more than 3,000 tasting notes for whiskies from around the world and our calendar of upcoming whisky festivals and tastings.

We’re able to do this thanks to the support of our advertisers – both past and present. They advertise on WhiskyCast knowing that they will never have any say over our editorial content, and may even have their ads running next to features on their competitors. They recognize the importance of independent, fact-based journalism devoted to telling the stories of whisky in a creative, yet ethically sound way focused on helping you learn more about whisky. If you’re interested in finding out more about our advertising packages, please contact us!

Slainte!

The WhiskyCast Team


Mark Gillespie’s Whisky Photo of the Week

Distilleries tend to have lots of old barrels lying around, like these at Ireland's Midleton Distillery. Photo ©2021, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Distilleries tend to have lots of old barrels lying around, like these at Ireland’s Midleton Distillery.