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”.
John Glaser and his team at Compass Box Whisky Company are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. While Glaser has had his disagreements with the Scotch Whisky establishment over the years, he’s gone from being a rebel to being one of the industry’s most respected whisky makers. He’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the last 20 years of challenging hidebound traditions and what the future holds. In the news, The Macallan now has the distinction of having bottled the world’s oldest single malt whisky with a new 78-year-old bottling that’s part of the new Red Collection. We’ll have that story and the rest of the week’s whisky news, including details on the latest Midleton Very Rare release and an even rarer trophy bottling for this year’s NBA champions.
Links: Compass Box | The Macallan | Wolfcraig Distillery | Midleton Very Rare | Michter’s | Loch Lomond | Suntory | Milam & Greene | Lost Lantern Whiskey | Douglas Laing & Co. | Crown Royal | Rabbit Hole | Parker’s Heritage Collection | Highland Park
England’s modern whisky scene only goes back to 2006, when the English Whisky Company started distilling at St. George’s Distillery in Norfolk. Since then, it’s grown by leaps and bounds, and the first-ever English Whisky Festival will take place this coming weekend online featuring 13 different distilleries. We’ll look at not only the growth of England’s whisky scene, but how Covid-19 has affected whisky bars and distillery tourism as Chris Ratcliff makes his debut on WhiskyCast as a contributor. In the news, surges in Covid-19 cases are forcing a return to restrictions on pub life around Europe, while bars in Texas can start reopening this week. Jack Daniel’s has named its new master distiller – one with a link to the distillery’s heritage. We’ll also have a story about the legendary Booker Noe on Behind the Label and much more!
Links: English Whisky Festival | Birmingham Whisky Club | The Lakes Distillery | Jack Daniel’s | Cascade Moon | Orphan Barrel | WhistlePig Rye | Teeling Whiskey Company | anCnoc | Nikka | The GlenAllachie | The Balvenie | The Glenrothes | Old Rip Van Winkle | Woodford Reserve | Milam & Greene | Stranahan’s
Whisky is a universal drink, a pleasure that can be shared by all regardless of gender, color, national origin, disability, age (as long as one is legally old enough to drink), and so on. The trouble is, too many people still hold the stereotype of whisky drinkers as older, male, and White – and that includes some people within the whisky industry. While the recent Whisky Bible controversy brought the issue of diversity and inclusion in the world of whisky into the spotlight, the desire for change has been growing. This week, we’ll bring you part of a panel discussion from The Whisky Show on the need to turn that desire for change into reality. The panelists were Tracie Franklin, the first participant in the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative’s professional development program, Black Bourbon Society founder Samara Rivers, Sorel Artisanal Liquor founder and bartending guru Jackie Summers, and Becky Paskin of OurWhisky.com, while WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie was the moderator. We’ll also have the week’s whisky news, including a major distillery expansion in Scotland, new whiskies from around the world, tasting notes, and October’s Whisky Club of the Month.
Links: The Whisky Show | Black Bourbon Society | OurWhisky.com | Jackie Summers | American Craft Spirits Association | Tullamore DEW | Aberlour | Ardnamurchan | Adelphi RAF Benevolent Fund Whiskies | Bruichladdich | Highland Park | Benromach | Bushmills | The Last Drop | Watt Whisky | PM Spirits | Little Book | Hudson Whiskey | Kansas City Whiskey Club | Glencairn Crystal
There are literally hundreds of old distillery sites around the eastern half of the United States dating back to the early colonial days. While their stories have largely been lost over time, bits and pieces still exist – and Nicolas Laracuente’s mission is to uncover the artifacts, the stories behind them, and put them together in historical context. The “Bourbon Archaeologist” specializes in Kentucky’s distilling history, from uncovering distillery ruins to researching the history of enslaved distillers in the pre-Civil War era, and he’ll share some of his journey with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Scotch Whisky Association is launching an industry-wide diversity and inclusion initiative that was in the works before the Jim Murray controversy hit the news a week ago. We’ll look at the industry’s response to allegations of sexism against the “Whisky Bible” author, along with some of your reactions as well.
Links: Nicolas Laracuente | Buffalo Trace | Scotch Whisky Association | The Whisky Bible | BenRiach | Paul John | Penderyn | Whiskey & Barrel Nite | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Lagavulin | Bruichladdich | Jura Auction | Glenmorangie | The Macallan | Old Forester | Sagamore Spirit | Kyrö Distillery | Manatawny Still Works | The Remnant Whisky Company | Tales of the Cocktail
Every distillery is unique, but there’s one in Australia that could redefine your concept of “unique.” Belgrove Distillery is on Peter Bignell’s farm near Kempton, Tasmania, and he not only grows the grain that goes into his whiskies – but he built the distillery himself, too. There’s no other distillery quite like it, and we’ll visit Belgrove on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, U.S. craft distillers may get caught in the political crossfire on Capitol Hill between budget talks, pandemic relief, the November election, and now…a Supreme Court confirmation fight. We’ll have an update on the effort to extend federal excise tax relief for distillers past the end of this year. The Glenturret has unveiled its new single malts following an 18-month re-branding exercise under new management, while a Kentucky distillery is changing its name after just four years – to the name of the original distillery that dates back to 1885. We’ll have more whisky news, tasting notes, and a rare bit of commentary, too.
Links: Belgrove Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | American Craft Spirits Association | The Glenturret | Green River Distilling Co. | Hudson Whiskey | Compass Box | Kilchoman | Douglas Laing & Co. | Waterford Distillery | English Whisky Company | George Remus Bourbon | Stranahan’s | Paul John | Westward Whiskey | Speed Art Museum Art of Bourbon Auction | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Mackmyra | The GlenDronach | BenRiach | OurWhisky.com | Ars Technica | Analytical Measures
Yeast is one of the three main ingredients in whisky, along with grain and water. While we understand what grain and water contribute to the taste of a whisky, yeast’s contributions are far more mysterious. In fact, people were distilling whisky from fermented mash hundreds of years before scientists even figured out that yeast exists, let alone how it works. After our deep dive into the science of oak trees last month, we had requests to do something similar with yeast – and Indiana University biochemistry professor Matt Bochman joins us this week to help. His laboratory research involves studying yeast cells to unlock keys that may help us fight cancer and other diseases, but his informal research focuses on home brewing. He’s also a consultant to brewers and distillers on fermentation issues, and shares his expertise with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Great Britain and the European Union are at odds over Brexit again. We’ll also look at two new programs aimed at improving diversity in the whisky industry, and on Behind the Label, we’ll have proof that not everything you may see about whisky on the Internet is true!
Links: The Bochman Lab/Indiana University | “Yeast: Bread, Booze, and Biology” Webinar | Uncle Nearest | Jack Daniel’s | Michael Jackson Foundation for Brewing & Distilling | Johnnie Walker Experience | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Parker’s Heritage Collection | Buffalo Trace | Wyoming Whiskey | FEW Spirits | Ardbeg | Aberfeldy | Fettercairn | Jameson | The Celt | Proper No. Twelve | Old Fitzgerald | Maker’s Mark | Still Austin Whiskey Company | TTB COLA Registry | Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Whisky and other alcoholic beverages are some of the most regulated consumer products in the world, and let’s be honest…not all of those laws and regulations make a lot of sense. In fact, some of them might make you want to pour yourself a dram. Jarrett Dieterle of the R Street Institute in Washington, DC has compiled some of the finest examples of legislative legerdemain and matched them up with cocktail recipes in his new book, “Give Me Liberty, and Give Me a Drink!” He’ll join us to explain just how we got to this point on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Jack Daniel’s master distiller Jeff Arnett is stepping down for a new – but so far undisclosed job, while distillery managers on Islay are shuffling jobs without having to leave the island. We’ll have details on how the Covid-19 pandemic and tariffs are affecting sales for Chivas Brothers, and distillers in Kentucky are putting their money behind their pledge to improve diversity in the industry.
Links: R Street Institute/DrinksReform | Jack Daniel’s | Classic Malts | Just-Drinks.com | Pernod Ricard | Chivas Brothers | The Glenlivet | Ballantine’s | Tamdhu | Hunter Laing & Co. | Old Fitzgerald | Blanton’s | Rabbit Hole | Kentucky Distillers Association | The Macallan | Great Drams | Rogue Ales & Spirits | Ardbeg | Old Town Whiskey Club | Four Roses
There are hundreds, if not thousands of species of trees around the world. Why is White Oak – whether from America or Europe, the preferred wood to use for whisky barrels? What makes it so special, and how do we protect the resource for future generations of whisky lovers? Forestry scientist Tom Kimmerer, PhD. is one of the leading experts on White Oaks, and was a guest on our #HappyHour webcast earlier this month. The reaction was so positive that we’ve brought him back to discuss White Oaks and their preservation on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, US-European trade talks on whiskies and other exports could be delayed by a Covid-19 scandal in Ireland, while that country’s pubs remain closed with no targeted opening date in sight. We’ll hear from Brent Elliott of Four Roses about this year’s Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon and the rest of the week’s new whiskies, too.
Links: Kimmerer.com | The Macallan | Old Samuels Distillery | Four Roses | Blade & Bow | Classic Malts | Ardbeg | Douglas Laing & Co. | Mackmyra | Assouline | Waterford Distillery
It’s been almost three years since Brown-Forman and the Conyngham family fired up the stills at Slane Distillery on the family’s Slane Castle estate near Dublin. While their flagship Slane Irish Whiskey has been made using sourced whiskies since its debut in 2017, the day is coming closer when some of the distillery’s own maturing whiskey will be blended into the final product. We’ll check in with Alex Conyngham on the distillery’s progress in a summer that would have normally been filled with visitors to the distillery and the estate, but it’s become clear that 2020 is no normal year.
In the news, the coronavirus pandemic continues to plague small-scale distillers in the U.S. with estimates of lost sales now reaching $700 million this year, and the past week also saw more cancellations of whisky events worldwide through the end of 2020. We’ll also check the court dockets for updates on several cases involving the whisky industry, and there’s a bright spot in the form of new whiskies coming from around the world.
Links: Slane Irish Whiskey | Distilled Spirits Council | American Distilling Institute | Ardbeg | Bunnahabhain | Tobermory | Deanston | GlenDronach | Great Drams | Little Book | The Lakes Distillery | Three Ships | Preservation Distillery | Secret Spirits | Bacon & Bourbon | Post & Courier | PappyRaffle.org | Old Forester | Maker’s Mark
Johnnie Walker is celebrating its 200th anniversary in 2020, and in all that time, there have been only six master blenders. Jim Beveridge is the latest in a line that goes all the way back to founder John Walker, and he leads the team that created four new whiskies for the anniversary. We’ll talk with him on WhiskyCast In-Depth about the pressure of blending rare whiskies, setting up a blending lab at home during the Covid-19 pandemic, and which of Scotland’s historic distilleries he’d choose to rescue if given a time machine.
In the news, the Trump Administration is leaving tariffs on imported single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland in place over the objections of whisky makers. We’ll also look at the local economic impact in Bardstown, Kentucky following the decision to make this year’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival a virtual event, along with updates on the week’s new whiskies and a tribute to one of whisky’s top distillers.
Links: Johnnie Walker | Office of the U.S. Trade Representative | Distilled Spirits Council | Scotch Whisky Association | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Kavalan | Westland Distillery | Maker’s Mark | Sagamore Spirit | Douglas Laing & Co. | Waterford Distillery | Stoll & Wolfe Distillery | Dewar’s | Elijah Craig | Barrel and Bottle | Food & Drug Administration Gluten Labeling Rule