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”.
Whisky lovers can probably name at least a few varieties of barley commonly used to make single malts, but rye? Rye doesn’t get the same respect for its diversity, even though it’s been around for hundreds of years. Mike Swanson of Minnesota’s Far North Spirits has led a team of researchers looking into the flavors different strains of rye have when they’re distilled into whisky. That study has just been released, and he’ll discuss the findings with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also compare some of the whiskies from that study, cover the week’s whisky news, and much more!
Links: Far North Spirits Rye Research | “Toasts Not Tariffs” Coalition | Castle & Key | Chivas Brothers | Unite | GMB Scotland | The Press & Journal | Ardbeg | Bladnoch | Master of Malt | Glenfiddich | Buffalo Trace | Virginia Distillery Company | Highland Park
Bourbons Bistro had everything ready to go for its 15th anniversary dinner in April…of 2020. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Louisville landmark to cancel its plans, and there were times when it looked like the bistro might suffer the same fate as many other bars and restaurants that went out of business over the past year. Jason Brauner and his team made it, though, and will celebrate with a 16th anniversary dinner on April 21. We’ll talk with Jason about the events of the past year – and the 15 years before it – on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we now know more about Jeff Arnett’s future plans after leaving Jack Daniel’s ahead of a formal announcement next week, while Diageo plans a pricey release of rare Brora whiskies next month to celebrate the distillery’s reopening. We’ll also have details on two charity projects from the Bourbon world and much more on this week’s WhiskyCast!
Links: Bourbons Bistro | The Daily Times | Jack Daniel’s | Woodford Reserve | Wyoming Whiskey | Brora | Laphroaig | Compass Box | Ardnamurchan Distillery | Westland Distillery | Balblair | Dràm Mór | J.J. Corry | Fettercairn
Distillers are always looking to the future. After all, many are laying down casks of whisky for future generations to bottle. Now, more distillers are looking ahead for a different reason…to make sure their distilleries have a minimal impact on the environment. Scotland’s Nc’Nean Distillery was named “Sustainable Distillery of the Year” in Whisky Magazine’s 2021 Icons of Whisky Awards, and we’ll talk with Nc’Nean founder Annabel Thomas on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Scotland’s government is slowly relaxing strict public health restrictions, and that’s allowing distillery shops to start opening again. We’ll also have details on a groundbreaking new Bourbon, the latest innovation from Bruichladdich, the retirement of a longtime whisky blender, and the celebration of a 60-year-long (and counting) career for Glen Grant’s Dennis Malcolm.
Links: Nc’Nean Distillery | Icons of Whisky Awards | Glengoyne | Whiskey Obsession Festival | New Riff Distilling | Cincinnati Business Courier | Heaven Hill | Log Still Distillery | Old Forester | Four Roses | Bruichladdich | The Whisky Exchange | Littlemill | Stranahan’s | Proper No. Twelve | Roe & Co. | Highland Park | Copperworks Distilling | Coalition Whiskey | GlenDronach | Glen Grant
Virtually every major whisky event worldwide in the past year has been cancelled, postponed, or gone virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, live events are returning in Florida, Texas, and Nevada over the next month as vaccination rates in the U.S. rise, and more event promoters are preparing to return later this year. Is it too soon, and can live whisky events be done safely? Dave Sweet’s Whiskey and Barrel Nite event last September in New Jersey was one of the few in-person events that went on as planned, with no Covid-19 cases later connected to the event. Now, his team is preparing to hold what may be the largest whisky event in a year. Nearly 500 tickets have been sold for the Whiskey Obsession Festival in Tampa April 8th, even though many major whisky brands will not be participating. We’ll talk with Dave Sweet about the event’s health guidelines and his timeline for a “return to normal” on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Ardbeg has opened its new stillhouse, Beam Suntory is reviving some of Glen Garioch’s past, and we have highlights from Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards and Icons of Whisky Awards.
Links: Whiskey Obsession Festival | Food & Drink Federation Scotland | Ardbeg | Glen Garioch | World Whiskies Awards | Icons of Whisky Awards | Highland Park | Jura | Method & Madness | Castle & Key | Booker’s Bourbon | Lost Lantern Whiskey | WhistlePig | Ben & Jerry’s | The Nth | Cascade Moon | Paul John | Johnnie Walker
Distilling is one of the oldest chemical processes we know of, and many people have made great whiskies without formal training in chemistry. That doesn’t necessarily make it an art, though…and Diageo’s Lora Hemy recognizes elements of both art and science in her work. She’s the head distiller at Roe & Co. in Dublin, but started out as an art student in college and sees a lot of similarities between art and chemistry. We’ll talk with her on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth and answer another age-old question: Just what does an Irish Whiskey distiller do on St. Patrick’s Day? In the news, new U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai plans to make a priority out of solving the steel and aluminum trade battle with Europe that led to tariffs on U.S. whiskeys…before those tariffs double on June 1. We’ll also have the latest from the law and order department as lawsuits pit distillers against each other, the week’s tasting notes, and how a common fertilizer used by many farmers can cause problems for whisky makers.
Links: Roe & Co. | Office of the U.S. Trade Representative | Woodford Reserve | Scotch Whisky Association | Macaloney’s Caledonian Distillery | Brough Brothers Distillery | Fresh Bourbon | Uncle Nearest | Jack Daniel’s | “The Water of Life” | Glendalough | Kilbeggan | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Two Stacks | Waiheke Whisky | Bladnoch | anCnoc
Women make up a growing percentage of whisky industry leaders, from distillers and blenders to spirits company executives. However, a new study from OurWhisky.com shows that women still have a long way to go when it comes to equal treatment in whisky marketing — especially in social media. OurWhisky.com co-founder Becky Paskin joined us this week on the #HappyHour webcast to discuss the findings as part of our writers’ roundtable with Jonny McCormick of Whisky Advocate, and we’ll share part of that discussion with you on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, federal help will soon be available for struggling U.S. distilleries, while Kentucky Bourbon Festival organizers are hoping the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic will be behind us by this September’s festival. We’ll have details on new whiskies and much more on this St. Patrick’s Week edition of WhiskyCast.
Links: OurWhisky.com | Wigle Whiskey | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Irish Embassy USA | Redbreast | Westward Whiskey | Brown Sugar Bourbon | GlenDronach | Canadian Club | Clonakilty
It’s been a year since we took WhiskyCast to New Zealand for the first time to do the show from Whisky Galore’s DramFest in Christchurch just before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down worldwide travel. Since then, more distilleries have come on line in New Zealand, with 19 distilleries now making whisky. Now, the distillers have come together to create a set of standards defining New Zealand whisky – with an eye to both protecting the whisky and the country’s indigenous culture. Tash McGill of Distilled Spirits Aotearoa (New Zealand’s original name) joins us this week on WhiskyCast In-Depth to share that story. In the news, there’s a cease-fire in the trade war between the U.S. and Europe, though American whiskey makers are still taking fire from tariffs on their exports. We’ll have that story and much more, including the unique method of an award-winning master blender and March’s Whisky Club of the Month.
Links: Distilled Spirits Aotearoa | Scotch Whisky Association | Distilled Spirits Council | DramFool | Whisky Auctioneer | Canadian Club | Wigle Whiskey | Elkins Distilling | Jack Rose Dining Saloon | Whisky Galore | Glass Revolution Imports | Bimber Distillery | Amrut | Tuscaloosa Scotch Club | Uncle Nearest
Silicon Valley is the technology center of the world, but Virag Saksena has made the switch from mashing together code to mashing barley. He’s a former software engineer and Oracle executive who founded San Jose’s 10th Street Distillery in 2017 with his partner, chemical engineer Vishal Nauri. They’re exploring a shared passion for single malt whiskies…especially peated single malts, with the goal of creating a “great” California single malt whisky. We’ll meet Virag Saksena on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, help is getting closer for the U.S. hospitality industry to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic, while Scotch Whisky makers are hoping for help from their government when the new budget is announced this week. New Zealand’s whisky makers are joining the rush to define the terms for their whiskies, and the pandemic-delayed Canadian Whisky Awards winners are celebrating.
Links: 10th Street Distillery | Kentucky Distillers Association | Scotch Whisky Association | Becle | Proper No. Twelve | Canadian Whisky Awards | Distilled Spirits Aotearoa | Deanston | Chapel Gate Whiskey Co. | Alberta Premium | Redbreast | Irish Distillers Association
Japan’s whiskies have been getting more attention on the world stage. While some “Japanese Whiskies” are rightly winning awards in major competitions, others with the same label are often Scotch or Canadian whiskies imported into Japan – where there’s no legal definition for what is a “Japanese Whisky” and what isn’t. Now, Japan’s whisky makers are stepping in where the government has so far failed to act, creating an industry-wide definition requiring that whiskies labeled as “Japanese Whisky” must actually be distilled in Japan. We’ll discuss the new standards with Makiyo Masa of Dekantā, one of the largest online retailers specializing in Japanese whiskies. In the news, Texas distillers are trying to thaw out after winter weather left many of them without utilities for the last week, while Brown-Forman plans to invest $95 million to expand its flagship distillery in Louisville. We’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies and look at the latest scientific research on terroir in whisky.
Links: Dekantā | Japan Spirits and Liqueurs Makers Association | Suntory | Nikka Whisky | Ironroot Republic | Brown-Forman | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Kentucky Distillers Association | Kentucky Peerless Distilling | Torabhaig Distillery | Midleton Very Rare | The Sassenach | The Macallan | The Glenrothes | Balblair | BenRiach | Waterford Whisky
Scotland’s legendary whisky island is getting yet another new distillery. Local officials have approved the plans for the new Elixir Distillers project just east of Port Ellen, making it the third new distillery to be built on Islay in the last five years and the 11th overall. Elixir Distillers co-founder Sukhinder Singh has been trying to get the project past the planning stage for nearly three years, and gives us his first interview on the distillery in this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have reaction from one of the Islay groups that fought against the distillery over its potential impact on the island.
In the news, an Australian distiller is in critical condition following a fire at a Tasmanian distillery this past week. We’ll also have the latest Scotch Whisky export data that shows a really rough year for the industry with a double whammy from the Covid-19 pandemic and U.S. import tariffs, the week’s new whiskies, and why the cocktail of choice for some distillers might just be an “enzyme cocktail.”
Links: Elixir Distillers | Adams Distillery | Greg Longmore GoFundMe Campaign | Scotch Whisky Association | Chivas Brothers | Bimber Distillery | Port Askaig | Heaven Hill | Berry Bros. & Rudd | Scotch Trooper | Highland Park | Dràm Mór Group | Alberta Distillers