WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 15th 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”.
It’s never been easier to buy an entire cask of whisky…at least in theory. While more distilleries are offering the opportunity to pick a special cask of whisky, the demand for casks far outpaces the supply – especially when it comes to casks of mature whisky from long-closed distilleries. Chris Ratcliff looks at the cask sales market on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, distillers plan a campaign of their own in Washington this week as the deadline for Congress to extend a federal excise tax cut on distilled spirits gets closer. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies from around the world…another distillery project in Ireland, and much more!
Links: White Peak Distillery | Atom Brands | Whiskybroker | British Bourbon Society | Justerini & Brooks | Holyrood Distillery | Whisky Hammer | Sotheby’s | American Craft Spirits Association | Irish Whiskey Association | Gortinore Distillers | Ardbeg | Glen Scotia | Bladnoch | Hunter Laing & Co. | Kavalan | Paul John | Proof & Wood Ventures | Victoria Whisky Festival | Teeling Whiskey Company | Proclamation Irish Whiskey | Amrut | Suntory | Johnnie Walker | “The Man Who Walked Around the World”
Craft distillers dream of not only having their whiskies alongside those of the major global brands, but outselling them. For the Quint family of Iowa’s Cedar Ridge Distillery, that dream has become a reality. Earlier this month, Iowa’s state liquor agency released sales data showing that Cedar Ridge Iowa Straight Bourbon was the top-selling Bourbon in the state over the previous 12 months – beating the big Bourbons for the first time. We’ll talk with Murphy Quint, who was a teenager when his parents opened Cedar Ridge 15 years ago and is now head distiller. In the news, time is running out for Congress and the Trump Administration to extend a critical federal excise tax cut for distillers. We’ll have that story and the rest of the week’s whisky news on this edition of WhiskyCast!
Links: Cedar Ridge Distillery | American Craft Spirits Association | Sagamore Spirit | Maker’s Mark | George Dickel | Rock Town Distillery | Crown Royal | Bonhams | Four Roses | The Whisky Exchange | Lost Lantern Whiskey | The Last Drop Distillers | Blue Run Spirits | WhistlePig Rye
There’s a lot of political turmoil these days, and European Union leaders threw gasoline on the fire with this week’s decision to impose new import tariffs on American-made rum, vodka, brandy, and vermouth to go along with the existing 25% tariff on American whiskies. The Trump Administration had previously pledged to respond with additional tariffs on European goods, and that could mean more whiskies are under the threat of new tariffs – in a dispute between allies that has nothing to do with the spirits industry.
Could the incoming Biden Administration take a different approach that reduces the rhetoric and leads to the removal of whisky tariffs on both sides of the Atlantic? We’ll discuss that with Distilled Spirits Council CEO Chris Swonger, who’s been trying to persuade U.S. and European leaders to do just that for more than two years. We’ll also have the rest of the week’s whisky news, including distillery construction in Scotland and the latest on new whiskies…including one that won’t leave you feeling blue!
Links: Distilled Spirits Council | Crown Royal | Isle of Raasay Distillery | Port of Leith Distillery | Hinch Distillery | Echlinville Distillery | Lambay Whiskey | Killowen Distillery | Spot Whiskeys | Redbreast | Heaven Hill | Dekantā | Chivas Brothers | Compass Box | Puni Distillery | Laws Whiskey House | Bruichladdich | Chivas Regal | Widow Jane | Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
Marianne Eaves had a bright career path in her future as the first female master distiller at a Kentucky Bourbon distiller when she suddenly decided to leave Castle & Key Distillery 18 months ago – a year before the first whiskies she made there would be ready for bottling. It was a leap of blind faith, and now, she’s living in Oregon with her young family, consulting with makers of whiskies and other spirits, and launching another venture – blind Bourbon tasting kits for whiskey lovers. We’ll talk with Marianne Eaves about the “Eaves Blind” project, along with the Sweetens Cove Tennessee Bourbon she created for a team of high-profile athletes and investors and her dream of building a mobile blending lab.
In the news, Covid-19 has now forced the cancellation of three more major whisky events in the U.S. and the postponement of a major event in Europe. Kentucky Distillers Association leaders are about to get a new look at the need for improvements in diversity and inclusion in the Bourbon industry, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won’t be re-gifting the Scotch Whisky he received as a gift earlier this year…he won’t be drinking it, either…his minders took it away from him for violating the UK’s limit on gifts.
Links: Eaves Blind | WhiskyFest | Stockholm Beer & Whisky Festival | Kentucky Distillers Association | Brown-Forman | Gordon & MacPhail | Bruichladdich | Roe & Co. | Walsh Whiskey | That Boutique-y Whisky Company | Nikka Whisky | Proof & Wood | Scotch Whisky Association | Castle & Key | Sweetens Cove | Cascade Moon | Virginia Distillery Co. | Westland Distillery | Old Rip Van Winkle | SquareBooks.com
OK, we’re not going talking about politics this week, but whisky has been made in and around Washington, DC for 400 years, including a distillery owned by George Washington himself. There may not be quite enough local whisky available to calm the nerves of politicians awaiting the results of Tuesday’s presidential election, but it’s a good start. We’ll talk with Sid Dilawri of the appropriately-named Filibuster Distillery just outside Washington and Ali Anderson of Joseph A. Magnus & Co., which started out in Washington and is now moving to Michigan where there’s room to expand. In the news, Kentucky’s Bourbon distillers put in another record year of production, while bars and restaurants in many countries are being hit with another round of Covid-19 lockdowns. We’ll also have the week’s new whiskies, along with November’s Whisky Club of the Month!
Links: Filibuster Distillery | Joseph A. Magnus & Co. | Kentucky Distillers Association | Glenkinchie | The Drinks Business | Beam Suntory | The Glenlivet | Russell’s Reserve | Bimber Distillery | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Proclamation Irish Whiskey | Lot 40 | Whisky Advocate | SquareBooks.com | Highland Park | KO Distilling | FEW Spirits | Classic Malts | Old Rip Van Winkle
Very few Bourbon brands can claim much of a pre-Prohibition heritage, but Brown-Forman’s Old Forester can. George Garvin Brown created Old Forester in 1870 in the same way many of today’s whiskey entrepreneurs got started – by buying bulk whiskey from several distilleries and blending them together to create his own unique flavor. His great-great grandson Campbell Brown is the managing director of Old Forester today, and joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have the week’s whisky news, tasting notes, and on Behind the Label, we’ll look at the best whisky advertising money can’t buy…because it’s literally on the money!
Links: Old Forester | The Dalmore | Wolfcraig Distillery | Rosebank | The Macallan | Glenfarclas | Compass Box | Jim Beam | Angel’s Envy | Blue Run Spirits | Irish Whiskey Association | Niche Drinks | William Grant & Sons | Fresh Bourbon | The Celt | Aberfeldy | Bushmills
John Glaser and his team at Compass Box Whisky Company are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. While Glaser has had his disagreements with the Scotch Whisky establishment over the years, he’s gone from being a rebel to being one of the industry’s most respected whisky makers. He’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the last 20 years of challenging hidebound traditions and what the future holds. In the news, The Macallan now has the distinction of having bottled the world’s oldest single malt whisky with a new 78-year-old bottling that’s part of the new Red Collection. We’ll have that story and the rest of the week’s whisky news, including details on the latest Midleton Very Rare release and an even rarer trophy bottling for this year’s NBA champions.
Links: Compass Box | The Macallan | Wolfcraig Distillery | Midleton Very Rare | Michter’s | Loch Lomond | Suntory | Milam & Greene | Lost Lantern Whiskey | Douglas Laing & Co. | Crown Royal | Rabbit Hole | Parker’s Heritage Collection | Highland Park
England’s modern whisky scene only goes back to 2006, when the English Whisky Company started distilling at St. George’s Distillery in Norfolk. Since then, it’s grown by leaps and bounds, and the first-ever English Whisky Festival will take place this coming weekend online featuring 13 different distilleries. We’ll look at not only the growth of England’s whisky scene, but how Covid-19 has affected whisky bars and distillery tourism as Chris Ratcliff makes his debut on WhiskyCast as a contributor. In the news, surges in Covid-19 cases are forcing a return to restrictions on pub life around Europe, while bars in Texas can start reopening this week. Jack Daniel’s has named its new master distiller – one with a link to the distillery’s heritage. We’ll also have a story about the legendary Booker Noe on Behind the Label and much more!
Links: English Whisky Festival | Birmingham Whisky Club | The Lakes Distillery | Jack Daniel’s | Cascade Moon | Orphan Barrel | WhistlePig Rye | Teeling Whiskey Company | anCnoc | Nikka | The GlenAllachie | The Balvenie | The Glenrothes | Old Rip Van Winkle | Woodford Reserve | Milam & Greene | Stranahan’s
Whisky is a universal drink, a pleasure that can be shared by all regardless of gender, color, national origin, disability, age (as long as one is legally old enough to drink), and so on. The trouble is, too many people still hold the stereotype of whisky drinkers as older, male, and White – and that includes some people within the whisky industry. While the recent Whisky Bible controversy brought the issue of diversity and inclusion in the world of whisky into the spotlight, the desire for change has been growing. This week, we’ll bring you part of a panel discussion from The Whisky Show on the need to turn that desire for change into reality. The panelists were Tracie Franklin, the first participant in the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative’s professional development program, Black Bourbon Society founder Samara Rivers, Sorel Artisanal Liquor founder and bartending guru Jackie Summers, and Becky Paskin of OurWhisky.com, while WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie was the moderator. We’ll also have the week’s whisky news, including a major distillery expansion in Scotland, new whiskies from around the world, tasting notes, and October’s Whisky Club of the Month.
Links: The Whisky Show | Black Bourbon Society | OurWhisky.com | Jackie Summers | American Craft Spirits Association | Tullamore DEW | Aberlour | Ardnamurchan | Adelphi RAF Benevolent Fund Whiskies | Bruichladdich | Highland Park | Benromach | Bushmills | The Last Drop | Watt Whisky | PM Spirits | Little Book | Hudson Whiskey | Kansas City Whiskey Club | Glencairn Crystal
There are literally hundreds of old distillery sites around the eastern half of the United States dating back to the early colonial days. While their stories have largely been lost over time, bits and pieces still exist – and Nicolas Laracuente’s mission is to uncover the artifacts, the stories behind them, and put them together in historical context. The “Bourbon Archaeologist” specializes in Kentucky’s distilling history, from uncovering distillery ruins to researching the history of enslaved distillers in the pre-Civil War era, and he’ll share some of his journey with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Scotch Whisky Association is launching an industry-wide diversity and inclusion initiative that was in the works before the Jim Murray controversy hit the news a week ago. We’ll look at the industry’s response to allegations of sexism against the “Whisky Bible” author, along with some of your reactions as well.
Links: Nicolas Laracuente | Buffalo Trace | Scotch Whisky Association | The Whisky Bible | BenRiach | Paul John | Penderyn | Whiskey & Barrel Nite | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Lagavulin | Bruichladdich | Jura Auction | Glenmorangie | The Macallan | Old Forester | Sagamore Spirit | Kyrö Distillery | Manatawny Still Works | The Remnant Whisky Company | Tales of the Cocktail