WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now completing our 10th 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”.

On the Road in Bourbon Country (Episode 659: September 17, 2017)

One of Heaven Hill's bartenders during the All-Star Bourbon Sampler at the Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This week, we’re on the road at the annual Kentucky Bourbon Festival in Bardstown, Kentucky! We’ll have highlights from the festival throughout this week’s show, including the presentation of the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame’s Parker Beam Lifetime Achievement Award to Bill Samuels Jr. of Maker’s Mark and the induction of the Hall’s Class of 2017.

In the news, Brown-Forman will invest $45 million to upgrade its Louisville cooperage over the next two years, while planning to cut around 70 jobs once the project is completed. Local leaders in Bardstown are working on a new project to cement the town’s place as the “Bourbon Capital of the World.” We’ll also catch up with old friends from Bourbon Country and look at the week’s new whiskies from around the world.

Links: Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Brown-Forman | Kentucky Distillers Association | Maker’s Mark | Old Forester | Beam Suntory | Heaven Hill | Evan Williams Bourbon Experience | Scotch Malt Whisky Society | George Remus Bourbon | Clyde May’s | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Deerhammer Distilling | Old Potrero | Speyburn | Lagavulin | Royal Salute | Douglas Laing & Co. | Suntory Whisky | Glenmorangie | Renovo | Jim Beam | Four Roses | Angel’s Envy | Jack Daniel’s

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Making Sense(s) of Whisky (Episode 658: September 10, 2017)

Whisky glasses lined up for a tasting. Image ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Flavor, aroma, and taste. We all know what they mean…or do we? Gerry Nicholls isn’t so sure. He’s a veteran judge in beer and coffee competitions, and has been studying the research of neuroscientists into the way our brains process flavor, aroma and taste. His conclusion: science knows how we process sensory information, but scientists do a lousy job of explaining it – and what’s worse…they don’t always take one key factor into account. He’ll tell us what that is on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, tourism is booming at whisky distilleries worldwide, Jack Daniel’s expands its foray into Rye, we’ll resolve the question of how Quebec’s liquor regulators label Kavalan’s Taiwanese single malts, and we’ll take another trip to the ice cream store!

Links: Scotch Whisky Association | Highland Park | Cabrach Trust | Slane Distillery | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Frazier History Museum | Kentucky Distillers Association | Bourbon Women | Michter’s | Angel’s Envy | Jack Daniel’s | Gordon & MacPhail | Benromach | Arran | The Singleton of Glen Old | Scotch Whisky.com | The Glenlivet | Robert Simonson.net | SAQ | King Car/Kavalan | Distilled Sunshine | Middle West Spirits | Jeni’s

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Whisky With a Place (Episode 657: September 3, 2017)

An ear of South Carolina's Jimmy Red Corn. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.The concept of terroir is frequently discussed among wine lovers, but the whisky world has been more reluctant to discuss whether the place where a whisky is made or matured contributes to its final flavor. That’s largely because many distillers get their grain from farms that can be hundreds of miles away, and also because there’s much less variety among the grains used in distilling whisky than there can be among wine grapes. Some distillers are experimenting with “heirloom” grains that offer a different flavor profile than those commonly used in distilling, and we’ll hear from two of them on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. Meredith and Alex Grelli of Pittsburgh’s Wigle Distillery will explain their experiments with rye grain grown in different regions of North America, while Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall of High Wire Distilling in Charleston tell us about their work with one of South Carolina’s native corns.

In the news, we’ll have the details on this year’s Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch, along with more new whiskies from The Macallan, Spey, Loch Lomond, and Johnnie Walker. We’ll also have a preview of this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival and Louisville’s new Bourbon & Beyond festival coming up later this month, along with some of your suggestions on what a “second-fill Virgin Oak” cask should be called.

Links: Wigle Distillery | High Wire Distilling | Anson Mills | Four Roses | The Macallan | Spey | Glen Scotia | Johnnie Walker | FEW Spirits | Kentucky Owl | SAQ | King Car/Kavalan | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Bourbon & Beyond | Old Forester | Highland Park | The Balvenie

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A Cask-Strength Celestial Spectacle (Episode 656: August 27, 2017)

This week's WhiskyCast visits MB Roland Distillery for the total solar eclipse of 2017. Photo ©2017, Aria Gillespie Smith/CaskStrength Media.Around 6,000 people combined last Monday’s total solar eclipse with whiskey – watching the celestial spectacle from the fields around MB Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky. WhiskyCast’s Aria Gillespie-Smith was on hand, and we’ll have her report on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also details on the celebration at Scotland’s Teaninich Distillery as it marks its 200th anniversary this month. In the news, Tasmanian police have opened a fraud investigation into Nant Distillery’s controversial barrel sales, and we’ll compare the economics of craft distilling and craft brewing. We’ll also have the story of MMA champion Conor McGregor’s entry into the Irish Whiskey business, along with tasting notes for Ardbeg’s newest single malt, too!

Links: MB Roland Distillery | Classic Malts | Tasmania Police | Brewers Association | FEW Spirits | House Spirits | St. George Spirits | Ardbeg | The GlenDronach | Kentucky Owl | Woody Creek Distillers

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The World’s Hottest Whisky? (Episode 655: August 20, 2017)

A barrel being re-charred in the cooperage at Taiwan's King Car Distillery. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Since our first visit to Taiwan’s King Car Distillery in 2011, its Kavalan single malts have arguably become some of the most-acclaimed whiskies in the world, winning top awards in multiple whisky competitions. As the distillery enters its second decade, there have been many changes, including the addition of a complete second stillhouse. We’ll discuss those changes on WhiskyCast In-Depth with Kavalan master blender Ian Chang, along with a future without his mentor, the late Dr. Jim Swan. In the news, union workers at a key Chivas Brothers facility in Scotland have agreed to a new contract and Scotch Whisky exports are up in 2017. We’ll also have a special story of patience paying off for an Ohio family.

Links: King Car/Kavalan | Chivas Brothers | Unite | Federation of Food & Drink | Spirit of Whisky Fringe Awards | Glenmorangie | Old Forester | Classic Malts | Bunnahabhain | New Zealand Whisky Company | Camus | Bonhams | McTear’s | Bruichladdich | Julio’s Liquors | Heaven Hill

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Distilling Returns to the Birthplace of Scotch Whisky (Episode 654: August 13, 2017)

The new Lindores Abbey Distillery in Scotland. Photo courtesy Lindores Abbey Distillery.

Lindores Abbey has a unique place in Scottish history. In 1494, the abbey’s Friar John Cor was responsible for the oldest known written reference to whisky distilling in Scotland when the Exchequer Roll listed him as receiving “8 bolls of malt” to make aqua vitae for the King. 523 years later, whisky distilling is returning to Lindores Abbey, and we’ll take a look at the past, present, and future of Lindores Abbey’s place in whisky history with Drew McKenzie Smith. His family has owned the farm in Fife where the abbey’s ruins survive to this day, and he’s the founder of the new Lindores Abbey Distillery.

In the news, contract talks will resume this week between Chivas Brothers and its workers in Dumbarton, Scotland, and the union’s plans for strikes this week have been called off. Blended Scotch sales may be poised for a comeback, and Bruichladdich is turning the peat volume up to 11 with one of its new Octomore single malts. We’ll also have tasting notes for four cask-strength whoppers and a first – a web site that puts you on hold.

Links: Lindores Abbey Distillery | Chivas Brothers | Unite | Johnnie Walker “My Edition” | The IWSR | Bruichladdich | Speyburn | Wemyss Malts | Jack Daniel’s | Jim Beam | Sazerac | Wyoming Whiskey | Spade & Bushel | Single Malts of Scotland | Laphroaig

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Celebrating the World’s Whiskies in Dublin (Episode 653: August 6, 2017)

A cash register from an old Irish pub. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Whiskies are celebrated at festivals all over the world these days, but there’s no place quite like Ireland when it comes to whisk(e)y. The inaugural Dublin Whiskey Festival kicks off this coming weekend with six days of tastings and events, and the organizers are planning to make it a nationwide event in 2018. John Burke is the festival’s founder and the publisher of The Cask magazine, and he’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth with some of the highlights of this year’s festival – and the upcoming issue of The Cask.

In the news, the owners of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing & Distilling see their future in distilling, and are selling their brewery to Sapporo Holdings. British officials are pledging to reduce tariffs on Scotch Whisky exports post-Brexit, and a family disagreement in Bourbon Country has gone public.

Links: Dublin Whiskey Festival | The Cask | Anchor Distilling | Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits | Littlemill | Douglas Laing & Co. | Buffalo Trace | Bulleit | Podcast Awards | Glencadam | Cooper’s Choice

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All in the Whiskey Family (Episode 652: July 30, 2017)

Robert, Marcia, and Jonathan Likarish of Ironroot Republic Distillery in Texas. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

The Likarish family opened Ironroot Republic Distillery in Denison, Texas in 2013. Brothers Jonathan and Robert Likarish handle the distilling, while their mother Marcia serves as distillery manager. Even though they’ve only been open for four years, they’ve collaborated to make several award-winning whiskies, including the Texas Legation Bourbon for Berry Bros. & Rudd in London. We sat down for a chat in the tasting room at Reserve 101 in Houston for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Chivas Brothers workers in Scotland are preparing for a one-day strike next Monday after rejecting a second contract offer, while Douglas Laing & Co. has unveiled plans for a distillery of its own in Glasgow and Alltech’s Dr. Pearse Lyons has finally opened his new distillery in Dublin. We’ll have some of your whisky bucket list items and tasting notes for two Indian single malts, too!

Links: Ironroot Republic | Reserve 101 | Unite Scotland | Chivas Brothers | Scottish Government | Douglas Laing & Co. | Pearse Lyons Distillery | Heaven Hill | Scotch Whisky Association | Bulleit Bourbon | Redemption | The Dalmore | Loch Lomond | Joseph A. Magnus | The Scotsman | Time Series | Paul John


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Tales of a Retired Whisky Maker (Episode 651: July 23, 2017)

Retired whisky maker Jim Boyko in the tank room at Diageo's Crown Royal distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Jim Boyko’s career took him from the old Seagram’s distillery in Waterloo, Ontario to the Canadian prairie in Gimli, Manitoba, and eventually around the world for Diageo. Once he got to Gimli, though, he and his family made the tiny town on the shore of Lake Winnipeg their home. Now retired, he shows up at the home of Crown Royal to lead the occasional tour for distillery guests. He’ll share his stories with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, including the saddest day of his career when he was one of 210 Seagram’s employees suddenly put out of work when the Waterloo distillery closed in 1992.

In the news, there’s talk yet again of reviving whisky production at the old Dallas Dhu Distillery in Scotland, while another spirits company is investing in Irish Whiskey. Heaven Hill is about to wrap up yet another expansion of its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, and has also unveiled this year’s special Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey. We’ll also find out about next month’s Bourbon Women “Sip-osium” in Louisville and put four Texas whiskies to the test in this week’s tasting notes.

Links: Crown Royal | Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery | The Press and Journal | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Stock Spirits | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Heaven Hill | Glencadam | Tullibardine | Tomatin | Wood’s High Mountain Distillery | Westword | Bourbon Women | The Scotsman | Ranger Creek | Firestone & Robertson | Balcones Distilling

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I Spy a Bourbon (Episode 650: July 16, 2017)

Jeff Bridges as "Champ," the leader of Statesman in "Kingsman: The Golden Circle." Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox.

We’ve seen whisky and movie tie-ins before, but Old Forester’s new Statesman Bourbon is a bit different. It’s featured in the upcoming movie “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” with Jeff Bridges as the leader of Statesman, a secretive private espionage unit that just happens to make Bourbon in Kentucky and teams up with the London-based Kingsman to save the world. Old Forester President Campbell Brown and his team worked with director Matthew Vaughn during production, and Master Taster Jackie Zykan helped create Old Forester Statesman, which is featured in the film. Campbell Brown and Jackie Zykan join us for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth with Statesman’s origin story and updates on this year’s Birthday Bourbon and the new Old Forester Distillery under construction on Louisville’s Whiskey Row. We’ll also discuss whisky and Cognac with fifth-generation Cognac maker Cyril Camus, along with the challenges of selling Scotch Whisky and Bourbon in China.

In the news, Billy Walker is back in the distillery business after a deal to buy Scotland’s Glenallachie Distillery from Chivas Brothers, and that deal also means changes at the top of Inver House as managing director Graham Stevenson departs to join Billy Walker and former BenRiach veteran Trisha Savage as partners in the Glenallachie Consortium. Möet Hennessy is entering the American whiskey market for the first time with a deal to buy the Woodinville Whiskey Company in Washington, and we’ll have an exclusive interview with Woodinville co-founder Orlin Sorenson. We’ll also update the saga of Australia’s Nant Distillery, look at new whiskies from around the world, and debunk a myth that it’s illegal to take Scotch Whisky out of Scotland!

Links: Kingsman: The Golden Circle | Old Forester | Camus Cognac | Chivas Brothers | Inver House | Woodinville Whiskey Company | Möet Hennessy | Australian Whisky Holdings | Washington Post | Buffalo Trace | Jim Beam | Esquire | The Dalmore | Kilbeggan | A.H. Hirsch | English Whisky Company | Puni Distillery | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | Reserve 101 | Rescued Pets Movement | Jack Ryan Whiskey | Single Cask Nation | Craigellachie

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