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This Week on WhiskyCast

The Belfour family: (L-R) Dayn, Ed, and Reaghan Belfour. Image courtesy Belfour Spirits.

From Hockey’s Hall of Fame to Whiskey Rookie (Episode 784: September 15, 2019)

Ed Belfour has every honor a hockey player could dream of, including a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal, and the ultimate: being named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He could have chosen to do anything in his retirement, but decided to make whiskey with his family. Instead of just slapping the Belfour name on a bunch of sourced casks, he and his son Dayn spent five years learning the business from the grain up before bottling their first whiskies. Those whiskies will make their debut later this month in the Dallas area, where Belfour backstopped the Dallas Stars to their only Stanley Cup in 1999. We’ll find out why Ed Belfour decided to get into the whiskey business the hard way on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Diageo and its Scottish labor unions will try one final time Monday to work out a new contract before workers begin a series of rolling strikes on Tuesday. In Kentucky, the Bourbon calendar will be even more crowded than usual a year from now when the Kentucky Bourbon Affair moves to September in a partnership with the promoters of Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville – even though it could lead to conflicts with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and on Behind the Label, we’ll find out how one distillery changed the flavor of its whisky by changing the wood in its barrels.

 

A member of the O.Z. Tyler barrel rolling team competes in the World Championship Bourbon Barrel Relay during the 2017 Kentucky Bourbon Festival. Photo ©2019, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Changes Coming to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival (Episode 783: September 8, 2019)

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival gets underway next week in Bardstown, and while the annual event still draws whiskey lovers from all over the U.S. and the world, there’s been a lot of calls for change in recent years. Some of those changes are coming this year, while more will await the hiring of a new executive director later this year. Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism Commission executive director Mike Mangeot agreed to serve as the festival’s director on an interim basis this year, and joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss this year’s event and the long-term future.

We’re in Louisville this time around for the inaugural induction of members into the Order of the Writ, and will have the latest on the impact of trade tariffs on distillers in the news. We’ll also update the future for Isle of Arran Distillers and its brands now that the Pernod Ricard-Castle Brands deal is leaving Arran without a U.S. importer.

 

Panelists Rick Seback, Bobby Long, Scott Ritenbaugh, and Christian Kahle with WhiskyCast's Mark Gillespie (C) at the HIAS Benefit Tasting on November 26, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Photo ©2018/CaskStrength Media.

WhiskyCast Tasting Panel: An Evening With the Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends

When the Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends invited us to come to their city and lead a benefit tasting in honor of the 11 people killed in the October 27, 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue, we didn’t hesitate. This episode was recorded at the tasting on November 26, 2018 in Pittsburgh, with all of the proceeds going to benefit the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) in memory of the Tree of Life shooting victims. Dad’s Hat, Powers, Amrut importer Raj Sabharwal, and Liberty Pole Spirits donated the whiskies for the evening, and Christian Kahle won a raffle for one of the spots on our tasting panel. He joined Bobby Long and Scott Ritenbaugh from the Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends and public broadcasting personality Rick Seback to taste the Dad’s Hat Pre-Prohibition Style Pennsylvania Rye, Powers Three Swallow, Amrut Fusion, and Liberty Pole’s Peated Bourbon.

 

 WhiskyCast HD: Catching Up with Forty Creek Whisky Founder John Hall

Forty Creek Whisky founder John K. Hall has kept a low profile since selling his distillery to Campari five years ago. He won dozens of awards for his whiskies at Forty Creek, and turned his startup into one of the best-selling Canadian whiskies around – earning him a place in Canadian Whisky history. Hall returned to the 2019 Victoria Whisky Festival for the first time since the sale to serve as the keynote speaker for the Canadian Whisky Awards dinner. In an exclusive interview with WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie, he shared his thoughts on today’s whisky business and whether he may make a comeback once his non-compete agreement with Campari expires later this year.


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WhiskyCast has been around longer than any other whisky-focused podcast, and we’re now in our 14th year of podcasts! We bring you the latest whisky news each week, along with 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 Gillespie’s database of more than 2,500 tasting notes for whiskies from around the world and our calendar of upcoming whisky festivals and tastings.

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Slainte!

The WhiskyCast Team


Whisky Photo of the Week

One of the most important tools in a distillery is the hydrometer, which helps distillers measure the alcoholic strength of their spirit. This is the hydrometer at Philadelphia's New Liberty Distilling. Photo ©2019, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

One of the most important tools in a distillery is the hydrometer, which helps distillers measure the alcoholic strength of their spirit. This is the hydrometer at Philadelphia’s New Liberty Distilling.