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”.
Amazon delivers almost everything…even whisky in some places. Now, Amazon Prime Video is delivering content for whisky lovers. We’ll talk with the Three Drinkers: Aidy Smith, Helena Nicklin, and Colin Hampden-White, about their new series that’s almost like whisky’s “Top Gear.” If you’re more into serious conversation, Fred Minnick’s interview series “Bourbon Up” has also made its debut on Amazon Prime. We caught up with Fred at Louisville’s Silver Dollar whiskey bar, and this episode was recorded on location at the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on “Whiskey Row” downtown.
In the news, we now have concrete proof that the American whiskey industry is being affected by the trade war, while Scotch Whisky exports reached a new record in 2018. Distell’s two-year renovation and upgrade project at Tobermory Distillery is almost complete, while Diageo is moving forward with plans for a new Johnnie Walker Experience visitors center in Edinburgh. We’ll also look at the origins of whisky tourism on Behind the Label, and it goes back much farther than you might think!
Links: Evan Williams Bourbon Experience | FredMinnick.com | Tax & Trade Bureau | American Craft Spirits Association | Distilled Spirits Council | Catoctin Creek | Scotch Whisky Association | Johnnie Walker | Tobermory | Douglas Laing & Co. | Jameson | Eight & Sand | Sugarlands Distilling | Middle West Spirits | Angel’s Envy | Coopers’ Craft | Westland | Compass Box | Bourbon Veach
Long before highways crossed North America, flatboats with barrels of whiskey were a common sight along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers bound for New Orleans and beyond to satisfy the thirst of early consumers. Fortunately, today’s route to market for distillers is paved and far more efficient – but Jefferson’s Bourbon founder Trey Zoeller wanted to figure out what made the whiskey his predecessors distilled in Kentucky become so popular. He decided to send a couple of barrels from Louisville to New York City by boat in what became a year-long journey filled with tropical storms, a wrecked boat, and barrel repairs on the fly – while a batch of the same whiskey stayed behind in the rickhouse to provide a control sample. Both whiskies have now gone on sale, and we’ll talk about the journey with Trey Zoeller on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, the deadline to avoid another federal government shutdown is approaching, and failure to reach a deal in Washington could cause even more problems for whisky makers. We’ll also look at the economic impact of Kentucky’s booming Bourbon industry and get an update on record ticket sales for May’s Spirit of Speyside Festival in Scotland.
Links: Jefferson’s Bourbon | Tax & Trade Bureau | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Liberty Pole Spirits | Kentucky Distillers Association | Eagle Rare | Four Roses | Elijah Craig | Littlemill | Douglas Laing & Co. | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Whisky Colours Festival | Popular Mechanics | The Lakes Distillery | MacNair’s | Egan’s Irish Whiskey | The Dubliner | Glenmorangie | Heaven Hill
Glenmorangie unveiled its 10th Private Edition release this week in London, and we were there as Allta marked a new style of single malt for Glenmorangie. The barley came from the Cadboll Farm near the distillery, but the big thing is the yeast – which also came from the Cadboll Farm. Dr. Bill Lumsden and his colleagues worked with their yeast supplier to isolate and grow a unique strain of wild yeast from the farm to use in the fermentation for Allta. We’ll talk with Lumsden about Allta’s origins and share tasting notes for it as well on this episode. In the news, local officials have cleared the way for construction work to begin on the revival of Scotland’s Rosebank Distillery, while Diageo has unveiled its proposed design for the revival of Port Ellen Distillery on Islay. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies, including one that took a journey down the river and up the coast.
Links: Glenmorangie | Rosebank | Diageo | Tax & Trade Bureau | Distilled Spirits Council | Heaven Hill | Angel’s Envy | Jefferson’s Bourbon | Buffalo Trace | Daftmill | Whisky Magazine | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Writers’ Tears | Basil Hayden’s | Victoria Caledonian
Even when things appear to be going well, there are sometimes undercurrents of trouble behind the scenes. That played out in Ireland this week after Walsh Whiskey Company and Italy’s Illva Saronno Holdings agreed to dissolve their five-year-long joint venture because of disagreements on the company’s future. Walsh will keep its Writers’ Tears and The Irishman whiskey brands, while Illva Saronno gets the distillery near Carlow. We’ll talk with Bernard Walsh about the future of the company that bears his name on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news U.S. Treasury Department employees are returning to work after the tentative end of the federal government’s partial shutdown, and they’re facing a big backlog of applications for new whisky, spirits, wine and beer labels that piled up during the shutdown. We’ll also have details on the long-awaited opening of Michter’s new Fort Nelson micro distillery and visitors center on Louisville’s Whiskey Row and the rest of the week’s news, too.
Links: Walsh Whiskey Company | Illva Saronno | Tax & Trade Bureau | Cotswolds Distillery | Mackmyra | Coopers’ Craft | Michter’s | Buffalo Trace | WhistlePig Whiskey | Fets Whisky Kitchen | BC Ministry of the Attorney General | Bearface Canadian Whisky | Just-Drinks.com | The Glenrothes | Arran | The Whisky Exchange | Old Forester | Robert Burns World Federation
In our second of two episodes from this week’s Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, British Columbia, we’ll talk with Eric and Allura Fergie of Fets Whisky Kitchen in Vancouver. Fet’s was one of four Scotch Malt Whisky Society partner bars in British Columbia raided by the province’s liquor inspectors a year ago Friday. The Fergies had 242 bottles of SMWS whiskies valued at $40,000 seized because they came from privately-owned liquor stores in BC instead of government-owned stores. While the other three bars settled their cases for small fines, the Fergies are challenging the legality of the raids and have a hearing set for this May. They received support this week from Canada’s Competition Bureau, which called on British Columbia officials to change what it terms an “anti-competitive” policy. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whisky releases, check on the latest distillery updates, and taste four single malts from Scotland in this special episode from the Victoria Whisky Festival.
Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | Fets Whisky Kitchen | Canada Competition Bureau | BC Attorney General | Lagg Distillery | The Glenallachie | Gordon & MacPhail | Glen Moray | The Macallan | Old Forester | Westland | Single Cask Nation | Bruichladdich | Deanston | Hotel Grand Pacific
This is the first of our two episodes from the 14th annual Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, British Columbia. One of the highlights of the festival each year is the Canadian Whisky Awards, and Forty Creek returned to the top of the podium this year for the first time in five years with a new 22-year-old Canadian Rye whisky. We’ll have the details on that and other award winners in the news, and we’ll also look at the debate over the impact of terroir in whisky. Vancouver Island’s Shelter Point Distillery won the Award for Innovation for its whisky distilled from 100% unmalted barley whisky grown on the distillery’s own farm. That’s just one example, and Ireland’s Waterford Distillery is taking terroir to the other extreme with barley from more than 40 local farms being malted, distilled, and matured separately to maximize the impact of terroir. We’ll discuss the findings of new scientific research on Waterford’s barley with founder Mark Reynier on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | Waterford Distillery | Shelter Point Distillery | Scotch Whisky Association | Canada Competition Bureau | CanadianWhisky.Org | Forty Creek | Hiram Walker Distillery | Berry Bros. & Rudd | Sazerac | Two Brewers | Wayne Gretzky Estates | Dewar’s | Michigan State College of Engineering
The partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government is now the longest on record, and it is having an impact on the whisky business. Two whisky makers have whiskies ready to release in the U.S., but Jim Hough of Liberty Pole Spirits in Pennsylvania and Louise McGuane of Ireland’s Chapel Gate Whiskey Company are stuck because their federally mandated label approvals are being held in limbo until the shutdown ends. It’s a problem that is affecting a growing number of whisky makers, and we’ll have the story on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Islay’s newest distillery is days away from going into production, while Suntory is creating what may well be the first whisky blend spanning five countries for the Japanese market. The coming Lunar New Year is also bringing with it new whiskies, and a new study shows legalized cannabis sales may not be cannibalizing liquor sales as much as analysts feared.
Links: Liberty Pole Spirits | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Tax & Trade Bureau | Ardnahoe Distillery | The Lakes Distillery | Suntory | Chivas Regal | Dewar’s | Douglas Laing & Co. | Milk & Honey Distillery | Jameson | Distilled Spirits Council | Three Chord Bourbon | Westland Whiskey | Bunnahabhain
There are plenty of competitions to find the best whiskies, but what about competitions to find the best whisky tasters? Those are few and far between, but The Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off will give whisky lovers a chance to test their skills later this month in Lexington, Kentucky. The winner gets $2,000 in cash, a barrel head trophy, and most of all…bragging rights. Daniel Marlowe of Lexington’s Whiskey Bear bar is one of the organizers, and we’ll discuss the competition on WhiskyCast In-Depth. There’s also a discount code in the podcast if you’re thinking of entering the competition. In the news, Sazerac continues its acquisition binge as it ups its stake in India’s John Distilleries, while Diageo’s distillery expansion plans in Scotland are working their way through the approval process along with Islay’s latest distillery project. The New Year also brings a handful of new whiskies, and we’ll share some of your New Year’s drams on Your Voice.
Links: The 2019 Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off | Whiskey Bear | Sazerac | Diageo | East Lothian Council | Argyll & Bute Council | Speciality Drinks | Douglas Laing & Co. | Abhainn Dearg | Bain’s | NBC Sports Washington | Ohio Liquor Agency | Gordon & MacPhail | | Aberfeldy | The Balvenie | Little Book | Canadian Club
2018 may go down in whisky history as the “Year of the Collector” as whisky collecting became popular not only among connoisseurs, but with investors looking for that next big thing to make money on. The trouble is that some so-called “rare whiskies” are cleverly counterfeited fakes so good that even the experts can’t detect them without testing the liquid inside the bottle. A new report from the Scottish consulting firm Rare Whisky 101 suggests that there are likely millions of dollars worth of fake whiskies being traded on the secondary market worldwide. Professor Gordon Cook heads the radiocarbon dating lab at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, and among the fakes he’s found for Rare Whisky 101 was a single malt claimed to be from the 1860’s that was actually distilled in 2005. He’ll explain the radiocarbon dating process to us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the partial shutdown of the U.S. government could start to affect whisky makers within days as 2019 begins, while the arrival of the New Year brings the nation’s toughest drunk driving law to one state. We’ll also look at Bruichladdich’s new “Islay: Badge or Provenance” campaign, and on Your Voice, we’ll share some of your picks for drams to send off 2018 and ring in 2019.
Links:Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre | Rare Whisky 101 | Tax & Trade Bureau | Michter’s | Death’s Door Spirits | Dancing Goat Distillery | Bruichladdich | The 2019 Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off | J.P. Wiser’s Alumni Whisky Series | Five Lions | Jack Daniel’s | Booker’s Bourbon
One sign of the Bourbon boom worldwide can be found in Great Britain, where the British Bourbon Society was founded in 2016 by six whisky lovers. As 2018 comes to a close, the Society’s membership now stands at 2,000 and growing. We’ll talk with two of the founders, Ed Rosie and Andrew Watson, on WhiskyCast In-Depth to find out why Bourbon and other American whiskies are becoming so popular in Great Britain even as recent import tariffs make them more expensive. In the news, Edrington has found a buyer for its Glenturret Distillery in Scotland, while Ian Macleod Distillers is waiting for final approval to start construction work on the revival of Rosebank Distillery. Ireland’s national planning board has overruled local objections to a planned maturation warehouse complex in County Westmeath, and we’ll hear from a U.S. cooperage owner who’s not pleased with the federal government’s proposed definition for whisky barrels.
Links: British Bourbon Society | Edrington | Glenturret | Diageo | Johnnie Walker | Rosebank Distillery | Vault Whiskey Store | Tax & Trade Bureau | The Barrel Mill | Arbikie Distillery | Cream of Kentucky Bourbon | Tomatin | Highland Whisky Festival | Uncle Nearest | Angel’s Envy | Lot 40 | Old Pulteney | Rare Whisky 101 | Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre