WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 13th 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”.
15 years ago, two Indian entrepreneurs took a few bottles of their single malt whisky to Glasgow, just to see if it would stand up to blind tastings by Scotch Whisky lovers. Rick Jagdale and Ashok Chokalingam survived those initial taste tests, and today, Amrut single malt whiskies can be found all over the world. Now, they’re in charge of Amrut’s future…Rick Jagdale as managing director and Ashok Chokalingam as the distillery manager. We’ll talk with Ashok on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also have highlights from this weekend’s George Washington Whisky Festival at Virginia’s Mount Vernon – where most of this episode was recorded. In the news, whisky and politics are still intertwined as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pleaded with U.S. President Donald Trump to remove the new 25% import tariff on single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We’re also celebrating WhiskyCast’s 14th anniversary this week as Mark gets the tables turned on him!
Links: Amrut | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Egan’s | The Three Drinkers | Maker’s Mark | Widow Jane | Laphroaig | Mortlach Six Kingdoms | Lagavulin | The Drinks Business | Virginia Distillery Co. | The Whisky Exchange | Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey | Skalvenn Distillery | Firestone & Robertson | Terroir in Texas Whiskey Research
Want to start an argument among whisky lovers? Just ask whether there’s “terroir” in whisky. Terroir is the French term for a “sense of place” where the local environment plays a role in developing specific flavors. It’s a well-known concept among farmers, and winemakers have been claiming a place for terroir for years. However, terroir is still a point of contention among whisky makers, with critics making the argument that grain suppliers use so many different farms that there’s no way to have terroir in whisky – short of isolating the grain from individual farms as Waterford, Kilchoman, and Bruichladdich have done.
During the Julio’s Liquors Whisk(e)y Road Show this weekend in Westborough, Massachusetts, the topic of terroir came up during a panel of American Single Malt distillers. You’ll hear their debate on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also announce November’s Whisky Club of the Month, hear from some of you on the single malt whisky tariff, and dig deeply into Tennessee’s Lincoln County Process on Behind the Label.
Links: Julio’s Liquors | American Single Malt Whiskey Commission | Kentucky Distillers Association | Revolution Spirits | Catoctin Creek Distilling | Fets Whisky Kitchen | GlenDronach | Aberfeldy | Hunter Laing & Co. | Balcones Distilling | O.F.C. Vintages | Westland Distillery | Virginia Distillery Co. | Tuthilltown Spirits | Westward Whiskey | Santa Fe Spirits | Lagavulin | Jack Daniel’s | George Dickel
Alex Chasko isn’t your typical Irish Whiskey master distiller and blender. For one, he isn’t Irish. He grew up in Portland, Oregon and found his way to Ireland by falling in love – not with Irish Whiskey, but with the Irish-born woman who became his wife.
Alex started out at Cooley Distillery, and when the Teeling family sold it to Beam Suntory at the end of 2011, he moved on with Jack and Stephen Teeling to start the Teeling Whiskey Company in Dublin. Four years after they fired up the stills for the first time in their Newmarket Square distillery, Teeling Pot Still Whiskey is on the market in Ireland and will soon be available in the United States, while one of their 24-year-old single casks won the World Whiskies Award for “Best Single Malt Whiskey” earlier this year.
Even though his last name isn’t Teeling, he’s become part of the family…as you’ll hear on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have details on this week’s record-shattering whisky auction in London and the rest of the week’s whisky news, along with some ghost stories to get you in the mood for Halloween!
Links: Teeling Whiskey Company | Sotheby’s | The Macallan | Whisky.Auction | Bonhams | ScotchWhiskyAuctions.com | Douglas Laing & Co. | Strathearn Distillery | The Balvenie | WhistlePig Rye | The Glenlivet | Paul John Whisky | Aberfeldy | Tomatin | Templeton Rye | The Dead Rabbit | Glen Moray | Johnnie Walker | George Dickel | Elijah Craig | Jim Beam | Old Pulteney | Glen Grant | The Glenrothes
There’s a lot of uncertainty for U.S. whisky lovers after the Trump Administration’s new 25% tariff on imports of single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland took effect Friday. The only certain thing is that prices for many single malts will rise, depending on whether – or when – whisky makers, importers and retailers decide to absorb the cost of the tariff or pass it along to consumers. One of Islay’s smallest distilleries chose to beat the tariff deadline by shipping extra inventory to its U.S. importer by air freight, and Kilchoman Distillery managing director Anthony Wills also plans to eat the cost of the tariff to protect his brand’s market share. We’ll talk with him as part of our complete coverage of the tariff story…from the impact on distillers to what happens when you come home from a trip to Scotland and are greeted by a Customs agent.
In the news, police in Scotland are looking for the thieves who stole £100,000 worth of whisky from a Chivas Brothers facility, while rare whisky collectors are gearing up for a special Sotheby’s auction this week in London. There are plenty of new whiskies to talk about, too…and we’ll have all the details on this week’s WhiskyCast!
Links: Kilchoman Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | Scotch Whisky Association | The Independent | Sotheby’s | Gordon & MacPhail | Aberfeldy | Craigellachie | Classic Malts | Chivas Regal | Woodford Reserve | Buffalo Trace | Angel’s Envy | Elijah Craig | Jack Daniel’s | Irish Whiskey Awards | Jim Beam Airbnb | Glenmorangie | Teeling Whiskey Company | U.S. Customs & Border Protection
The United States is the largest market for Irish Whiskey worldwide, but until now, one of Ireland’s legendary whiskeys had never released a special edition just for the American market. Now, a handful of retailers in Massachusetts and California will be getting their own bottlings of Redbreast. The four small batch bottlings will be available at select Massachusetts and California retailers – and they’ll all likely be besieged by calls from people around the U.S. hoping to snag a bottle. Master Blender Billy Leighton and apprentice David McCabe unveiled the new whiskies the other night in Boston, and you’ll hear our conversation on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, the Trump Administration’s 25% tariff on imports of single malts from Scotland and Northern Ireland is scheduled to go into effect Friday, and Scotch Whisky industry leaders fear it could do “irreparable damage” to the whisky industry. We’ll have complete coverage of the tariff and its potential impacts, and you’ll hear from Wales’ leading distiller – Penderyn’s Stephen Davies isn’t quite sure how U.S. Customs agents will respond when his current shipment of Welsh single malts reaches port after the tariff takes effect. We’ll also have details on new whiskies from Bruichladdich, Teeling, The Macallan, and more!
Links: Redbreast | Federal Register | Penderyn | Pappy Van Winkle | Bruichladdich | English Whisky Company | FEW Spirits | Teeling Whiskey Company | The Macallan | Legent Bourbon | The Glenrothes | Distillery 291 | Clonakilty Distillery | George Washington Whiskey Festival at Mount Vernon | Heaven Hill | Tate & Company | Old Pulteney | Glenmorangie | Los Angeles Review of Books
George Remus could never have conceived of the idea of edible “whisky capsules,” but if he had, the “King of the Bootleggers” would have figured out a way to make money from it. Remus made – and lost – a fortune during Prohibition, spent time in prison, shot his second wife to death, and managed to successfully convince a jury to acquit him by reason of insanity. This real-life Gatsby is the subject of author Karen Abbott’s new book, “The Ghosts of Eden Park,” and it may well be the definitive telling of the George Remus story. Karen Abbott joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also have tasting notes for one of the modern Bourbons named for Remus.
There’s a lot to talk about in the news, as the U.S. plans to impose a 25% tariff on imports of single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland later this month as part of a 15-year-long trade dispute with Europe. We’ll have reaction from both sides of the Atlantic and explain just what’s being targeted, what’s not…and why. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and get to the bottom of the story behind The Glenlivet’s controversial “whisky capsules” unveiled at London Cocktail Week.
Editor’s note: This episode includes content that may not be suitable for all audiences.
Links: KarenAbbott.net | George Remus Bourbon | Office of the U.S. Trade Representative | Scotch Whisky Association | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Penderyn | Sazerac House | Bruichladdich | Glenmorangie | Auchentoshan | Ardbeg | Highland Park | Johnnie Walker | The Walking Dead Whiskey | Booker’s | The Macallan | The Glenlivet
Whisky has been a part of politics since the monks were working their stills in medieval times, helping opposing sides bridge their differences over a shared dram. It’s also been a political football, too – from the Prohibition Era to the trade disputes making headlines today. Chris Swonger has been in the middle of a political hurricane in the 10 months since he became CEO and president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. He’s facing trade conflicts, the potential impact from Brexit, and even disagreements over pending deregulatory action in Washington. We’ll talk about all of these issues and more with Chris Swonger on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Kentucky firefighters kept a brush fire from becoming a disaster Friday after it came within 100 yards of warehouses full of Heaven Hill and Maker’s Mark bourbons. An Irish whiskey maker wants to make filmmaker Martin Scorsese an offer he shouldn’t refuse, and we’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies.
Links: Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Heaven Hill | Maker’s Mark | Tax Free World Association | The Last Drop | Benromach | The Balvenie | Highland Park | Wyoming Whiskey | Kentucky Owl | J.P. Wiser’s | The Walking Dead Bourbon | The Irishman | Old Pulteney | Ardbeg | Royal Salute | Keepers of the Quaich
Graham Coull grew up in Speyside spelling “whisky” without the “e” – as any proper Scot would. It didn’t help him get his first job in the Scotch Whisky industry at Glenfiddich, nor did it help him get his current job 14 years ago as the manager at Glen Moray. Next month, he’ll be leaving Elgin for Ireland’s Atlantic coast to become the manager at Dingle Distillery – and it’ll mean learning not only new styles of making whiskey…but a new way of spelling it! We’ll talk with Graham on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, a last-minute deal has headed off a strike by Diageo workers in Scotland, while the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame welcomed its Class of 2019 this week. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and a special collaboration between a Colombian Rum distiller and a Kentucky Bourbon blender.
Links: Glen Moray | Dingle | Diageo | Unite | GMB | Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Buffalo Trace | 1792 Barton | Dictador Rum | Glenfiddich | Glasgow Distillery | Ardbeg | The Macallan | Littlemill | The Whisky Exchange | The Three Drinkers | Cream of Kentucky | Rock Town Distillery | Westland Distillery
Ed Belfour has every honor a hockey player could dream of, including a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal, and the ultimate: being named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He could have chosen to do anything in his retirement, but decided to make whiskey with his family. Instead of just slapping the Belfour name on a bunch of sourced casks, he and his son Dayn spent five years learning the business from the grain up before bottling their first whiskies. Those whiskies will make their debut later this month in the Dallas area, where Belfour backstopped the Dallas Stars to their only Stanley Cup in 1999. We’ll find out why Ed Belfour decided to get into the whiskey business the hard way on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, Diageo and its Scottish labor unions will try one final time Monday to work out a new contract before workers begin a series of rolling strikes on Tuesday. In Kentucky, the Bourbon calendar will be even more crowded than usual a year from now when the Kentucky Bourbon Affair moves to September in a partnership with the promoters of Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville – even though it could lead to conflicts with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and on Behind the Label, we’ll find out how one distillery changed the flavor of its whisky by changing the wood in its barrels.
Links: Belfour Spirits | Diageo | Unite | GMB | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Willett | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Lux Row Distillers | Milam & Greene | The Macallan | Dekantā | Kilchoman | Dewar’s | Wild Turkey | Talnua Distillery | Maker’s Mark
The Kentucky Bourbon Festival gets underway next week in Bardstown, and while the annual event still draws whiskey lovers from all over the U.S. and the world, there’s been a lot of calls for change in recent years. Some of those changes are coming this year, while more will await the hiring of a new executive director later this year. Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism Commission executive director Mike Mangeot agreed to serve as the festival’s director on an interim basis this year, and joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss this year’s event and the long-term future.
We’re in Louisville this time around for the inaugural induction of members into the Order of the Writ, and will have the latest on the impact of trade tariffs on distillers in the news. We’ll also update the future for Isle of Arran Distillers and its brands now that the Pernod Ricard-Castle Brands deal is leaving Arran without a U.S. importer.
Links: Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Michter’s | Arran | Dekantā | The Whisky Exchange | Sassenach Spirits | Johnnie Walker | Method & Madness | Highland Park | Aerstone | Glenfiddich | Order of the Writ | Heaven Hill | Wild Turkey | WhistlePig Rye | Sagamore Spirit | Frazier History Museum