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This Week on WhiskyCast

Rob Dietrich, the new master distiller for Blackened American Whiskey. Photo courtesy Sweet Amber Distilling Co.

Blackened Whiskey Begins the Next Chapter (Episode 771: June 9, 2019)

Rock bands often sound differently after they replace a member, and the members of Metallica considered Master Distiller Dave Pickerell to be part of their family. They collaborated on Blackened American Whiskey until Dave’s untimely death last November, and now, Metallica has completed the search for his successor. Rob Dietrich is leaving Stranahan’s to join the band’s Sweet Amber Distilling Company as the master blender and distiller. We’ll talk with Rob on WhiskyCast In-Depth and find out why it’s not his first time working with Metallica, too.

In the news, U.S. regulators are floating a proposal to remove most of the restrictions on bottle sizes for whiskies and other distilled spirits, and that could open up the market to whiskies not previously available in the U.S. Distilling industry leaders aren’t embracing the idea with open arms, while independent bottlers and importers are practically giddy at the possibility. What may be the first Chinese acquisition of a Scotch Whisky company has taken place, with the sale of Loch Lomond Distillers for more than $500 million, and construction has started on another cooperage in Kentucky to help supply the booming demand for Bourbon barrels.

 

An architect's rendering of the Port Ellen Distillery revival project. Image courtesy Diageo.

Reviving One of Islay’s Legendary Distilleries (Episode 770: June 2, 2019)

Construction could begin later this year on Diageo’s planned revival of the legendary Port Ellen Distillery on Islay, which was closed in 1983. Only the seaside warehouses and the old kiln building are left, and they’ll play a key role in the distillery’s future when it opens in 2021 – assuming local officials sign off on planning approval for the project. That application was submitted in mid-May, with a decision expected later this summer. Islay native and former Lagavulin manager Georgie Crawford is the project manager for the Port Ellen revival, and she’ll join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to explain the plans – and how the team tapped into the memories of former Port Ellen workers to help shape those plans.

In the news, climate change could be playing a major role in Scotch Whisky’s immediate future as distillers and barley farmers deal with the after-effects of last summer’s drought. Another dispute between the Trump Administration and Mexico could see tariffs slapped back on American whiskies just days after they were removed, and could North Korea actually be getting into the whisky business?

 

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

Look around most distilleries, and chances are you'll find a few stacks of old steel barrel hoops, rusty but ready to be put back into service. These stacks were found at Virginia's Copper Fox Distillery. Photo ©2019, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Look around most distilleries, and chances are you’ll find a few stacks of old steel barrel hoops, rusty but ready to be put back into service. These stacks were found at Virginia’s Copper Fox Distillery.

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