WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now completing 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”.

Episode 629: February 19, 2017

Cooper River Distillers founder James Yoakum. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Camden, New Jersey has a long manufacturing heritage dating back decades, but the city’s glory days ended decades ago – leaving behind empty buildings, crime, and many other problems. James Yoakum is one of the entrepreneurs trying to bring back some of that faded glory with Cooper River Distillers in the heart of downtown Camden. He’s been making whiskies and rums for the last couple of years, and stopped by our studio the other day with a sample of his first batch of Cooper River Bourbon. The Kentucky native tells us why he gave up on the real estate business to open an urban microdistillery on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

The whisky world lost two of its leaders this week, and we’ll honor the legacies of Silvano Samaroli and Dr. Jim Swan. While we never had the chance to interview Silvano Samaroli, Jim Swan was a frequent guest on WhiskyCast, and we’ll listen to part of a 2007 interview with him in the news. We’ll also have details on master blender Rachel Barrie’s decision to leave Beam Suntory to join BenRiach as its lead whisky maker, along with details on what the new trade deal between Canada and the European Union means for whisky lovers.

Links: Cooper River Distillers | Welsh Whisky Company | King Car Distillery | Kilchoman | Samaroli | The BenRiach Distillery Company | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Canadian Club | Beam Suntory | Corby | Scotch Whisky Association | Wild Turkey | Evan Williams | Teeling Whiskey Company | Wemyss Malts | American Craft Spirits Association | The ScotsmanSonoma County Distilling Company | Tuckahoe Brewing CompanyScotch Test Dummies | Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

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Episode 628: February 12, 2017

Whiskies on the shelf at a Scottish pub. Photo ©2016, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This week, we’ll be talking about money and politics along with whisky, and of course, there are connections between all three. With the world’s attention focused on the transition to the Trump Administration in the U.S., the spirits industry is hoping to benefit from what it sees as a pro-business atmosphere in Washington. We’ll discuss the political climate with Distilled Spirits Council CEO Kraig Naasz, and we’ll get Wall Street’s perspective with David Bolton of Spirited Funds and Alex Gordon of ETF Managers Group. They’re behind a new exchange-traded fund that gives investors the ability to buy into the global whisky industry on the stock market.

In the news, Beam Suntory plans to close its Canadian Club brand home in Windsor, Ontario next month, and the city’s mayor will meet with company executives in Chicago this week to make the case for keeping it open. Bourbon has become Kentucky’s fastest-growing industry, with an $8.5 billion economic impact on the state’s economy each year…while the wider U.S. spirits industry also showed significant growth in 2016. We’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies, and this week’s tasting notes include single malts from Scotland, India, and Ireland!

Links: Distilled Spirits Council | Spirited Funds | Canadian Club | Beam Suntory | Kentucky Distillers Association | University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute | Scotch Whisky Association | Scottish Craft Distillers Association | Teeling Whiskey Company | Jameson | Douglas Laing & Co. | Loch Lomond | R&B Distillers | Michter’s | Paul John | Glenfiddich

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Episode 627: February 5, 2017

Stewart Laing, Jim McEwan, Andrew Laing, and Scott Laing of Hunter Laing & Co. Photo by Ralph Dunning courtesy Hunter Laing & Co. It’s hard for some people to retire. Jim McEwan says he was pacing around his home on Islay “like a tiger” after retiring from Bruichladdich a year and a half ago…so when Stewart Laing offered him the chance to help build his family’s new Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay from the ground up, Jim pounced on the offer. Stewart and his sons recently broke ground on the Hunter Laing & Co.-owned distillery overlooking Port Askaig, with plans to start distilling whisky next year. Jim shares the reasons behind his decision with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also get some historical perspective from Irish Whiskey historian Fionnán O’Connor on Diageo’s plans to revive the legendary Roe & Co. whiskey brand and build a new distillery at its Guinness St. James’s Gate complex in Dublin. In the news, Distell plans to spend the next two years reworking its Tobermory Distillery and single malt brand, while another distillery project has been approved in Northern Ireland…and we’ll also take a look at the week’s new whiskies.

Links: Ardnahoe Distillery | Roe & Co. | Tobermory | The Quiet Man | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Four Roses | Constellation Brands | Glenmorangie | Laphroaig | The Macallan | Wyoming Whiskey | Cask & Crew | High West | Elijah Craig | Girl Scouts of the USA | Lagavulin 1991 Charity Bottling | Lohin McKinnon

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Episode 626: January 29, 2017

Marcio Ramos speaks with whisky fans at the Victoria Whisky Festival January 21, 2017. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Marcio Ramos started his whisky journey as a bartender in his hometown of Lisbon, Portugal…but thought he’d left the whisky business behind when he moved to Canada a couple of years ago. That didn’t last long, as he wound up becoming Beam Suntory’s Canadian brand ambassador for Bowmore, Laphroaig, and Suntory’s whiskies. Now, he spends his time traveling all over Canada, expanding his horizons and those of the people who attend his tastings. He’ll share his story with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we’ll catch up on new Kentucky Bourbons with a vintage heritage, the tourism boom along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a distillery project in England that’s being criticized by neighbors as “too Scottish,” and the announcement Bourbon and ice cream lovers have been waiting for from Ben & Jerry’s.

Links: Bowmore | Campari America | Woodford Reserve | JustDrinks.com | Diageo | ROK Drinks | Bladnoch | Johnnie Walker | Lagavulin | Bruichladdich | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Barrell Bourbon | BBC News | Scotch Whisky Association | Distilled Spirits Council | Ben & Jerry’s | Victoria Whisky Festival | The Macallan | Wayne Gretzky Estates 

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Episode 625: January 22, 2017

The Balvenie's Sam Simmons pours a sample of peated Balvenie single malt January 21, 2017. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This week, we’re on location at the Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia! We’ll discuss a new range of premium Canadian whiskies coming this fall from the Hiram Walker Distillery with master blender Dr. Don Livermore, and sit down for a dram with veteran whisky writer Dave Broom to solve some of the whisky world’s problems. In the news, there’s a new Canadian Whisky of the Year, as Masterson’s 10 Batch PSA-3 takes top honors at the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards. We’ll have the details, along with news of another expansion at Ireland’s Midleton Distillery and a rare sighting of a “unicorn” whisky – believe it or not…a peated Balvenie!

Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | Hiram Walker Distillery | Scotch Whisky.com | Canadian Whisky Awards | Masterson’s | Still Waters Distillery | Forty Creek | Bowmore | Irish Distillers | Rémy Cointreau | Edrington | The Balvenie

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Episode 624: January 15, 2017

A bottle of Buffalo Trace's O.F.C. Vintage 1982 Bourbon being placed in its presentation box. Image courtesy Buffalo Trace.This week, we’ll tell you about two upcoming opportunities to taste rare whiskies in Scotland and Kentucky. David Faughn and Brian Shemwell will have the story behind a collaboration of several Bourbon clubs in Kentucky and Tennessee to organize the “Rare Bourbon for Rare Disease” charity tasting event on February 25 at Louisville’s Haymarket Whiskey Bar. David’s young daughter suffers from a rare genetic disorder, and his NUBPL Foundation received a bottle of Buffalo Trace’s new O.F.C. Vintage Series Bourbon to use for fundraising. Brian heads up the Paducah Bourbon Society, and brought the Bourbon clubs together for the event. We’ll also get details from Angus MacRaild on The Whisky Show: Old & Rare February 18 and 19 in Glasgow, which is being billed as the “whisky bar of a lifetime” with a chance to taste rare and vintage whiskies.

In the news, we’ll honor the legacy of Heaven Hill’s Parker Beam, who lost his four-year-long battle with ALS this week. We’ll also have news of new whiskies, update our story on Ben and Jerry’s plans for a new Bourbon-flavored ice cream that’s being welcomed along Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail, and look at a uniquely Scottish whisky cocktail to be served in Edinburgh on Burns Night January 25.

Links: The Whisky Show: Old & Rare | Rare Bourbon for Rare Disease | NUBPL Foundation | Heaven Hill | Parker Beam’s Promise of Hope FundUrban Bourbon Trail | Ben & Jerry’s McTear’s | Ezra Brooks | Dad’s Hat | Wyoming Whiskey | Joseph A. Magnus | The Dalmore | Master of Malt | The Bon Vivant | Glenmorangie | High West | Inchmurrin


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Episode 623: January 8, 2017

Ryan Maloney of Julio's Liquors (left) and his team at Whisky Live Boston in 2013. Photo ©2013, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.The controversy over Beam Suntory’s sudden decision to change its plans for a Booker’s Bourbon price hike during the New Year’s holiday weekend left both retailers and consumers confused. We’ll look at whisky pricing from the retailer’s perspective with Ryan Maloney of Julio’s Liquors in the Boston suburb of Westborough, Massachusetts, and he’ll explain how retailers set their prices and work with whisky makers and distributors. We’ll also catch up with Ben Bowers as he winds up his “A Dram a Day” campaign to raise money for a British children’s hospital on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Constellation Brands is still expanding its craft distilling portfolio with a deal announced this week for a stake in Virginia’s Catoctin Creek Distillery, frequent fliers will find a new Bourbon bar in Louisville’s airport, and with the inauguration of Donald Trump closing in, a signed bottle of the Scotch Whisky bottled for his first Scottish golf course is going on the auction block.

Links: Julio’s Liquors | “A Dram a Day” | Booker’s Bourbon | Beam Suntory | Catoctin Creek | Constellation Brands | Book & Bourbon | Urban Bourbon Trail | Ben & Jerry’s | Kentucky Distillers Association | McTear’s | The Whisky Topic PodcastSagamore Spirit | Speyburn | Nikka

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Episode 622: January 1, 2017

Blender's equipment in the lab. Photo ©2016, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Blending is part art and part science, and unless you’re drinking a single cask whisky, every dram you try has been tweaked by the nose of an experienced blender. Nancy Fraley describes herself as a “ghost blender,” but it’s fair to call her and other blending consultants “noses for hire” – working in the background to create whiskies for distillers large and small. Nancy’s client list is shrouded in the secrecy of non-disclosure agreements, but she can talk about some of her work and shares some of her secrets with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, we’ll look at a couple of whiskies raising serious money for charities, along with a new chapter of the Red Tape Follies. We’ll also have some of your final drams of 2016 and the first drams of 2017 as we kick off a new year.

Links: O.F.C. Vintages Charities | Lagavulin Charity Bottling | North of 7 Distillery | CBC News | BrewDog | Wyoming Whiskey | High West | Loch Lomond


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Episode 621: December 25, 2016

The Sagamore Spirit team poses for a holiday photo. Image courtesy Sagamore Spirit. The founders of Baltimore’s Sagamore Spirits could have chosen to buy a distillery anywhere they wanted to, but they wanted to help revive Baltimore’s heritage of making Rye whiskey – and help bring a long-suffering waterfront neighborhood back to life. Sagamore Spirit’s new distillery will open next month, and this week, a new cask-strength version of Sagamore Spirit Rye was unveiled to go along with the original version that made its debut earlier this year. We’ll talk with Sagamore Spirit’s Brian Treacy on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with Sazerac CEO Mark Brown, who finished off his year with more acquisitions. Sazerac has bought the Tennessee distillery built to make Popcorn Sutton moonshine, and will begin a long-term project to enter the Tennessee Whiskey business. In the news, yet another distillery has been sold, with Australia’s Tasmania Distillery changing hands – and name. It’ll share the name of its award-winning Sullivan’s Cove single malt whisky, and distillery manager Patrick Maguire will explain the reasons behind the sale and why he’s staying on under the new ownership.

Links: Sagamore Spirit | Sazerac | Sullivan’s Cove | Popcorn Sutton | Louisville Courier-Journal | Maker’s Mark | Booker’s Bourbon | Bushmills | Jack Daniel’s | The Baltimore Whiskey Company | Pikesville RyeClassic Malts | Evan Williams | Reserve 101

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Episode 620: December 18, 2016

The shore of Scotland's Dornoch Firth. Photo ©2012, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.What do oysters have to do with making whisky? You might not think there’s much in common, but Glenmorangie is working with Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University on a project to restore the European Flat oyster population to Scotland’s Dornoch Firth. The oyster beds were wiped out by overfishing a century ago, but a healthy oyster population in the firth would help the overall ecosystem in the area around the distillery. We’ll talk  about the project with Glenmorangie’s Dr. Bill Lumsden and Louise Schiavone, who recently wrote about the project for National Geographic. We’ll also have an exclusive interview with Pernod Ricard chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard on his recent deal to return the company to American whiskey production with West Virginia’s Smooth Ambler Spirits, along with his outlook for the whisky business in what’s shaping up to be a period of economic uncertainty.

Links: Glenmorangie | National Geographic | Pernod Ricard | Smooth Ambler | Kavalan | Malt Maniacs Awards | Bowmore | Glen Moray | Gordon & MacPhail | Windsor Star | High West | Glenfarclas

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