WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 16th 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”.
John Campbell shocked the Scotch Whisky world a couple of months ago when he disclosed his plans to leave Islay’s Laphroaig Distillery after 27 years, with the last 16 as distillery manager. At the time, he wouldn’t say what his future plans were…but now, he’s joined the young Lochlea Distillery as its production director and master blender. John’s very first interview after confirming the move was with WhiskyCast, and you’ll hear it on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth! In the news, Scotch Whisky distillers raised more than £2.5 million for organizations helping troubled Scottish youth with The Distillers: One of One auction Friday. We’ll have the details, along with news on supply chain shortages affecting the whisky industry, plans for a new visitors centre at Ireland’s Midleton Distillery, and a delay in expansion plans for another Irish distillery because of something a critic compared to “Rapunzel’s Castle.”
Links: Lochlea Distillery | The Distillers: One of One Auction | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Wyoming Whiskey | Midleton Distillery | Dingle Distillery | Irish Examiner | The Sassenach | The Drinks Business | Arran | Johnnie Walker | Benromach | Bruichladdich
Bourbon is booming, and perhaps no distiller is riding the waves of the Bourbon boom more aggressively than Bardstown Bourbon Company. Over its first five years of production, it’s expanded to the point where the distillery is now one of the ten largest distilleries in the United States and sought out by potential collaborators of all kinds. Those collaborators range from Hall of Fame distillers to winemakers, entrepreneurs, and musicians – including Brad Paisley’s new “American Highway” Bourbon. The distillery’s Dan Callaway joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there’s a debate over who should be allowed to enforce standards for Irish Whiskey, while another British diplomat is leaving the world of foreign policy behind to join the Scotch Whisky Association.
Links: Bardstown Bourbon Company | Irish Whiskey Association | West Cork Distillers | Scotch Whisky Association | Kentucky Distillers Association | Stranahan’s | A Festival of Midleton Whiskies | J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey | Blue Run Spirits | Balcones Distilling | Paul John Whisky | The Whisky Exchange | James Sedgwick Distillery
The grain used to make many of today’s whiskies isn’t always picked for its flavor, but that’s not the distiller’s fault. Blame the commodity grain system, in which the largest grain customers determine what types of rye, corn, wheat, and barley are most widely planted by farmers. It’s the Golden Rule, in which the one with the most gold gets to call the shots…and distillers aren’t the ones with the most gold. Because of that, many grain types distillers would love to use are consigned to “heirloom” status or forgotten entirely. That’s what happened to Rosen Rye, a strain prized for generations by Pennsylvania distillers that almost disappeared completely – until a small band of mavericks brought it back to life. Earlier this month, a team of craft distillers gathered at George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon to make a batch of Rosen Rye, and we’ll have that story for you on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the whisky portfolio for South Africa’s Distell Group is being split up in a merger with Heineken, while Pernod Ricard has fired up the stills at its first malt whisky distillery in China and another craft distiller is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Links: George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon | Stoll & Wolfe Distillery | Delaware Valley Fields Foundation | Distell Group | Pernod Ricard | J.G. Thomson & Co. | Westland Distillery | Sagamore Spirit | George Dickel | Leopold Bros. | Johnnie Walker | Midleton | Jack Daniel’s | Clonakilty Distillery | Catoctin Creek
Stock car racing got its start when illicit whiskey makers took their souped-up cars to the track after outrunning the police at night, but Tom and Kim Carter Bard have flipped the script on that story. While they still go racing, they’re also making whiskey at The Bard Distillery, and if that name sounds familiar, it’s because Tom’s ancestors founded Bardstown, Kentucky two centuries ago…though the family never made a drop of whiskey until the Bards opened their distillery in Western Kentucky’s Muhlenberg County. We’ll talk with them on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth as we celebrate the 16th anniversary of whisky’s longest-running podcast series!
Links: The Bard Distillery | Walsh Whiskey Company | Chivas Brothers | Filibuster Distillery | Virginia Attorney General | Japan Today | Isle of Arran | Bushmills | Aberfeldy | Classic Malts | Sagamore Spirit
Much has been written, and done, about the impact of Scotch Whisky production on climate change over the last decade. Much less has been written about the potential impacts of climate change to Scotch Whisky makers, from distillery water sources drying up in periods of drought to reduced crop yields for barley farmers. As world leaders are gathered in Glasgow for the UN’s COP26 climate change summit, a new study by University College London researchers looks at those potential impacts. We’ll talk with Carole Martin, one of the lead researchers, and Daniel Sherry of Glengoyne and Ian Macleod Distillers, which funded the study.
In the news, there’s finally an end in sight for the European Union’s retaliatory import tariffs on American whiskies following this weekend’s G-20 Summit in Rome. Diageo is breaking ground on its first malt whisky distillery in China, and Scotch Whisky industry leaders are looking warily at the UK Government’s new plans for taxing whisky and other spirits starting in 2023. We’ll have those stories, and in this week’s Behind the Label segment, a look at how one American distillery makes the most of every drop of water it uses.
Links: University College London Climate Change Report | Glengoyne | Distilled Spirits Council | Scotch Whisky Association | Lux Row Distillers | Diageo | Classic Malts | Bruichladdich | Bunnahabhain | Clonakilty | Celtic Whiskey Auctions | Frey Ranch
Northern California is known for its wines, but distillers have been quietly making excellent whiskies there for many years. Now, Sonoma County’s Redwood Empire Distillery is releasing its first bottled in bond whiskies: Grizzly Beast Bourbon and Rocket Top Rye, named for some of California’s legendary redwood trees. Distillers Jeff Duckhorn and Lauren Patz join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth along with CEO Aaron Webb. In the news, the Heaven Hill strike is over after six weeks, and you’ll hear from the union leader who led 420 workers out on strike and back to work starting this week. We’ll have the latest whisky news, tasting notes, and another comparison between wine and whisky in our Behind the Label segment.
Links: Redwood Empire | Heaven Hill | United Food & Commercial Workers | Horse Soldier Bourbon | Kentucky Distillers Association | Booker’s Bourbon | Michter’s | Jeptha Creed | Blue Run Spirits | Hirsch Whiskey | Tomatin | Compass Box | Nc’Nean Distillery | Westward Whiskey | Good Deeds Whiskey | Canadian Club | J.P. Wiser’s | International Wine & Spirits Competition | Jack Daniel’s | Filibuster Distillery | The Judgement of Westland
Independent bottlers buy casks of whisky and sell them under their own labels, and while they’re common in Scotland and other parts of the world, independent bottlers are much less common in the United States. Last year, Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski gave up their day jobs to start Lost Lantern with a goal of bottling some of the best American whiskies available. So far, their whiskies have been a success, and they celebrated their first anniversary with a new release of five different whiskies from distilleries around the U.S. They’ll join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss that early success, the difficulties in establishing an independent bottler, and working together as a couple during the pandemic.
In the news, longtime Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge is retiring at year’s end, and his successor will break new ground for the 201-year-old brand. Emma Walker will become the first woman to hold the title in Johnnie Walker’s long history. Heaven Hill is hiring replacements for its striking workers in Kentucky, and one of Australia’s largest distillers is planning a major expansion after its latest acquisition. We’ll have those stories and much more…including what can happen when a royal visit to a distillery doesn’t quite go as planned.
Links: Lost Lantern Whiskey | Johnnie Walker | Heaven Hill Facts.com | United Food & Commercial Workers | American Single Malt Whisky Commission | Lark Distilling | Westland Distillery | Glen Grant
Today’s Buffalo Trace Distillery started out 164 years ago when Daniel Swigert started making whiskey on the banks of the Kentucky River. His distillery didn’t really have a name back then, and the site’s had many names over the years as part of its history…one that includes legendary names like Taylor, Stagg, Blanton, and Lee. F. Paul Pacult’s latest book, “Buffalo, Barrels, & Bourbon” dives deeply into that history, and he joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, tariff talks between the U.S. and the European Union are coming down to the deadline again, and that has Bourbon makers nervous. Distillers in Ireland are proposing to update the legal standards for Irish Whiskey, and the world’s oldest whisky goes on the auction block.
Links: F. Paul Pacult.com | Buffalo Trace | Bloomberg News | Kentucky Distillers Association | Kentucky Owl | Sotheby’s | Gordon & MacPhail | The Dalmore | Irish Whiskey Association | Ross & Squibb Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | Compass Box
Springbank’s Findlay Ross and Ranald Watson joined us from Campbeltown, Scotland on the latest Happy Hour Live webcast to answer your whisky questions. We also talked about plans for J&A Mitchell’s third distillery to be built in Campbeltown, with a goal of having it open in time for Springbank’s 200th anniversary in 2028. There are also new environmental initiatives in the works for Springbank and Glengyle distilleries, along with new whiskies and the return of Springbank’s popular whisky school in 2022.
Master Blender Sandy Hyslop usually creates his whiskies and lets someone else worry about the packaging, but for the debut of the Royal Salute Couture Collection, he had the challenge of creating a 21-year-old whisky to match designer Richard Quinn’s bespoke decanter. We’ll discuss that challenge and the craft of whisky blending on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, longtime Laphroaig manager John Campbell is stepping down, while the Heaven Hill strike in Kentucky is now in its third week. We’ll have those stories, along with the latest whisky news and a bit of advice: watch out for desk chairs…they can have a mind of their own!
Links: Royal Salute | Chivas Brothers | Laphroaig | Heaven Hill | United Food & Commercial Workers | Springbank | The Whisky Exchange | Redbreast | Waterford | Bruichladdich | The Macallan | Highland Park | Glen Grant | Shelter Point Distillery | Jim Beam | Method And Madness | Ardbeg | Talisker