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”.

Babysitting the Whisky Barrels (Episode 664: October 22, 2017)

Hiram Walker Distillery warehouse supervisor Donald Campbell (L) and Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore (R) in one of the 16 maturation warehouses at the distillery's warehouse campus near Windsor, Ontario. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie, CaskStrength Media.

Managing a whisky warehouse is sort of like running a day care center…but a lot quieter. Corby’s Donald Campbell is responsible for 1.3 million barrels of maturing whisky at the Hiram Walker Distillery’s warehouse campus outside Windsor, Ontario. Just like the kids at a day care center, each of those whisky barrels is developing each day – and some tend to spring a leak every once in a while, too…just like the kids at a day care center! We’ll visit the warehouses this week with Donald Campbell and Hiram Walker Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Sazerac is expanding its global presence with a minority stake in India’s John Distilleries, but is getting some pushback on its proposed plans for a second Tennessee distillery. New York distillers have joined forces to create the Empire Rye category, and we’ll get the details from Christopher Williams of Coppersea Distilling. This year’s Irish Whiskey Awards have been announced, and we’ll have the results…along with this week’s tasting notes and much more!


Links: Corby Spirits & Wine | Sazerac | John Distilleries | Daily News Journal | Coppersea Distilling | Empire Rye | Old Forester | Teeling Whiskey | Irish Whiskey Awards | Dingle Distillery | Writers’ Tears | Ardbeg | Old Pulteney | Glengoyne | Glen Keith | Canadian Club | Woodford Reserve | The Glenburgie | The Dalmore | Benromach | Bruichladdich

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Silent Scotch Whisky Stills Coming Back to Life (Episode 663: October 15, 2017)

The Port Ellen Distillery and its warehouses, with Diageo's Port Ellen Maltings in the background. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Christmas came a couple of months early for some Scotch Whisky lovers with word that the iconic Port Ellen, Brora, and Rosebank distilleries will be reopened over the next couple of years. Diageo will invest $46 million to bring Port Ellen and Brora back to life, while Ian Macleod Distillers has acquired not only the old Rosebank site, but the rights to the Rosebank name and its remaining whisky inventory. We’ll talk with Diageo’s Dr. Nick Morgan and Gordon Doctor of Ian Macleod about the work that’s ahead before the spirit starts flowing from the stills. Scott Watson of The Lost Distillery Company has been reviving historic distillery legacies in Scotland for the last decade, with extensive research to recreate the whiskies those long-lost distilleries might be making today, and he’ll share some of that process with us as well. In the news, Heaven Hill completes a massive $25 million expansion at its Bernheim Distillery, while a Sonoma County craft distiller has managed to dodge the Northern California wildfires so far. We’ll also have the week’s tasting notes and some of your ideas on which heritage distillery should be revived next.


Links: Diageo | The Lost Distillery Company | Ian Macleod Distillers | Chateau Montelena | Sonoma County Distilling Company | Heaven Hill | Scotch Whisky Association | The Whisky Bible | Glen Grant | Douglas Laing & Co. | Michter’s | Yellowstone Bourbon | Sugarlands Distilling | Sagamore Spirit | Wiser’sThe Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky | Victoria Whisky Festival | Classic Malts

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Whisky, Whiskey…We’ve Got It All This Week! (Episode 662: October 8, 2017)

A glass of Midleton whiskey in the Midleton Cask Circle Room. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

This week, we’re in Ireland for the annual release of Midleton Very Rare from Irish Distillers. There’s something different about the 2017 edition, though…it’s made with some of the oldest casks ever used in Midleton Very Rare. We’ll talk with Midleton Master Distiller Brian Nation about this year’s release and the new Midleton Cask Circle club, which will give collectors and investors the opportunity to buy their own casks straight from the distillery. Midleton’s maturation guru, Kevin O’Gorman, will also tell us about the newly-released Green Spot Chateau Montelena edition, which is finished in Zinfandel wine casks from California’s Napa Valley.

In the news, Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled yet another cask of 70-year-old single malt Scotch Whisky, this one distilled at Glenlivet in 1943 during the peak of World War II. A much younger cask of Macallan has set an apparent world record at a Hong Kong auction, and we’ll talk about the impact of Brexit on the whisky business from two sides – one who sees it as a plus, and another who says it’s already cost him a lot of money.

Links: Midleton Very Rare | Green Spot | Chateau MontelenaGordon & MacPhail | Spink & Son | Compass Box | The BalvenieKyro Distillery | Cotswolds Distillery | Pearse Lyons Distillery | The Irishman | Great Northern Distillery | Smooth Ambler

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Live at The Whisky Show in London (Episode 661: October 1, 2017)

A.D. Rattray whisky bottles ready for pouring at The Whisky Show in London. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

This week, we’re in London for the annual Whisky Show at Old Billingsgate on the banks of the River Thames! We’ll catch up with a lot of friends from around the world, including Whyte & Mackay’s Richard Paterson as he winds up his 50th anniversary tour of worldwide whisky tastings. We’ll also look at plenty of new whiskies introduced over the last few days here in London and other shows in Europe. In the news, plans are being drawn up for what could be a $150 million dollar distillery project in Bardstown, Kentucky, and Scotland’s Kilchoman Distillery is starting the first major expansion project for the Islay distillery.


Links: The Whisky Show | Kentucky.com | Kentucky Owl | Malt Whisky Yearbook | Kilchoman | Box Whisky | Compass Box | Old Pulteney | Aberlour | Ballantine’s | Dewar’s | Chichibu | Whyte & Mackay | Elixir Distillers | Meleklerin Payi | Glen Moray | Signatory

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There’s No Whisky Without the Barrels (Episode 660: September 24, 2017)

An International Stave cooper examines a barrel at the company's Lebanon, Kentucky cooperage. File photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.It’s often said that wood is responsible for most of a whisky’s flavor, and if that’s the case, then the people who make the barrels for maturing whisky have a major impact on the whiskies we drink. Independent Stave Company’s cooperages dominate the market for new Bourbon barrels, and those barrels then get used for decades to mature other whiskies around the world. Brad Boswell’s great-grandfather founded the company in 1912, and he took over for his father as Independent Stave’s CEO earlier this year. We’ll talk with him about the cooperage side of the whisky business, along with the potential impacts from climate change and government regulation, on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the ringleader of the “Pappygate” Bourbon thieves in Kentucky has pleaded guilty and faces 15 years in prison, while there’s still no word on whether the stolen whiskey now sitting in a secured evidence locker will face the death penalty. We’ll also have details on this year’s Buffalo Trace Antique Collection series and the new Northern Border Collection series of Canadian whiskies from Corby’s Hiram Walker Distillery. In this week’s tasting notes, we’ll have details on a whisky fit for ringing in the New Year…Israeli style.


Links: Independent Stave Company | Old Rip Van Winkle | Buffalo Trace | Wild Turkey | Kentucky.com | Northern Border Collection | Glenfiddich | Benromach | Westland Whiskey | The Whisky Show | Heaven Hill | Milk & Honey | Wigle

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On the Road in Bourbon Country (Episode 659: September 17, 2017)

One of Heaven Hill's bartenders during the All-Star Bourbon Sampler at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This week, we’re on the road at the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky! We’ll have highlights from the festival throughout this week’s show, including the presentation of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame’s Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill Samuels Jr. of Maker’s Mark and the induction of the Hall’s Class of 2017.

In the news, Brown-Forman will invest $45 million to upgrade its Louisville cooperage over the next two years, while planning to cut around 70 jobs once the project is completed. Local leaders in Bardstown are working on a new project to cement the town’s place as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” We’ll also catch up with old friends from Bourbon Country and look at the week’s new whiskies from around the world.


Links: Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Brown-Forman | Kentucky Distillers Association | Maker’s Mark | Old Forester | Beam Suntory | Heaven Hill | Evan Williams Bourbon Experience | Scotch Malt Whisky Society | George Remus Bourbon | Clyde May’s | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Deerhammer Distilling | Old Potrero | Speyburn | Lagavulin | Royal Salute | Douglas Laing & Co. | Suntory Whisky | Glenmorangie | Renovo | Jim Beam | Four Roses | Angel’s Envy | Jack Daniel’s

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Making Sense(s) of Whisky (Episode 658: September 10, 2017)

Whisky glasses lined up for a tasting. Image ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Flavor, aroma, and taste. We all know what they mean…or do we? Gerry Nicholls isn’t so sure. He’s a veteran judge in beer and coffee competitions, and has been studying the research of neuroscientists into the way our brains process flavor, aroma and taste. His conclusion: science knows how we process sensory information, but scientists do a lousy job of explaining it – and what’s worse…they don’t always take one key factor into account. He’ll tell us what that is on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, tourism is booming at whisky distilleries worldwide, Jack Daniel’s expands its foray into Rye, we’ll resolve the question of how Quebec’s liquor regulators label Kavalan’s Taiwanese single malts, and we’ll take another trip to the ice cream store!


Links: Scotch Whisky Association | Highland Park | Cabrach Trust | Slane Distillery | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Frazier History Museum | Kentucky Distillers Association | Bourbon Women | Michter’s | Angel’s Envy | Jack Daniel’s | Gordon & MacPhail | Benromach | Arran | The Singleton of Glen Old | Scotch Whisky.com | The Glenlivet | Robert Simonson.net | SAQ | King Car/Kavalan | Distilled Sunshine | Middle West Spirits | Jeni’s

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Whisky With a Place (Episode 657: September 3, 2017)

An ear of South Carolina's Jimmy Red Corn. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.The concept of terroir is frequently discussed among wine lovers, but the whisky world has been more reluctant to discuss whether the place where a whisky is made or matured contributes to its final flavor. That’s largely because many distillers get their grain from farms that can be hundreds of miles away, and also because there’s much less variety among the grains used in distilling whisky than there can be among wine grapes. Some distillers are experimenting with “heirloom” grains that offer a different flavor profile than those commonly used in distilling, and we’ll hear from two of them on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. Meredith and Alex Grelli of Pittsburgh’s Wigle Distillery will explain their experiments with rye grain grown in different regions of North America, while Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall of High Wire Distilling in Charleston tell us about their work with one of South Carolina’s native corns.

In the news, we’ll have the details on this year’s Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch, along with more new whiskies from The Macallan, Spey, Loch Lomond, and Johnnie Walker. We’ll also have a preview of this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival and Louisville’s new Bourbon & Beyond festival coming up later this month, along with some of your suggestions on what a “second-fill Virgin Oak” cask should be called.


Links: Wigle Distillery | High Wire Distilling | Anson Mills | Four Roses | The Macallan | Spey | Glen Scotia | Johnnie Walker | FEW Spirits | Kentucky Owl | SAQ | King Car/Kavalan | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Bourbon & Beyond | Old Forester | Highland Park | The Balvenie

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A Cask-Strength Celestial Spectacle (Episode 656: August 27, 2017)

This week's WhiskyCast visits MB Roland Distillery for the total solar eclipse of 2017. Photo ©2017, Aria Gillespie Smith/CaskStrength Media.Around 6,000 people combined last Monday’s total solar eclipse with whiskey – watching the celestial spectacle from the fields around MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky. WhiskyCast’s Aria Gillespie-Smith was on hand, and we’ll have her report on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also details on the celebration at Scotland’s Teaninich Distillery as it marks its 200th anniversary this month. In the news, Tasmanian police have opened a fraud investigation into Nant Distillery’s controversial barrel sales, and we’ll compare the economics of craft distilling and craft brewing. We’ll also have the story of MMA champion Conor McGregor’s entry into the Irish Whiskey business, along with tasting notes for Ardbeg’s newest single malt, too!


Links: MB Roland Distillery | Classic Malts | Tasmania Police | Brewers Association | FEW Spirits | House Spirits | St. George Spirits | Ardbeg | The GlenDronach | Kentucky Owl | Woody Creek Distillers

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The World’s Hottest Whisky? (Episode 655: August 20, 2017)

A barrel being re-charred in the cooperage at Taiwan's King Car Distillery. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Since our first visit to Taiwan’s King Car Distillery in 2011, its Kavalan single malts have arguably become some of the most-acclaimed whiskies in the world, winning top awards in multiple whisky competitions. As the distillery enters its second decade, there have been many changes, including the addition of a complete second stillhouse. We’ll discuss those changes on WhiskyCast In-Depth with Kavalan master blender Ian Chang, along with a future without his mentor, the late Dr. Jim Swan. In the news, union workers at a key Chivas Brothers facility in Scotland have agreed to a new contract and Scotch Whisky exports are up in 2017. We’ll also have a special story of patience paying off for an Ohio family.


Links: King Car/Kavalan | Chivas Brothers | Unite | Federation of Food & Drink | Spirit of Whisky Fringe Awards | Glenmorangie | Old Forester | Classic Malts | Bunnahabhain | New Zealand Whisky Company | Camus | Bonhams | McTear’s | Bruichladdich | Julio’s Liquors | Heaven Hill

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