WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 16th 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”.
Independent bottlers buy casks of whisky and sell them under their own labels, and while they’re common in Scotland and other parts of the world, independent bottlers are much less common in the United States. Last year, Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski gave up their day jobs to start Lost Lantern with a goal of bottling some of the best American whiskies available. So far, their whiskies have been a success, and they celebrated their first anniversary with a new release of five different whiskies from distilleries around the U.S. They’ll join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss that early success, the difficulties in establishing an independent bottler, and working together as a couple during the pandemic.
In the news, longtime Johnnie Walker master blender Jim Beveridge is retiring at year’s end, and his successor will break new ground for the 201-year-old brand. Emma Walker will become the first woman to hold the title in Johnnie Walker’s long history. Heaven Hill is hiring replacements for its striking workers in Kentucky, and one of Australia’s largest distillers is planning a major expansion after its latest acquisition. We’ll have those stories and much more…including what can happen when a royal visit to a distillery doesn’t quite go as planned.
Links: Lost Lantern Whiskey | Johnnie Walker | Heaven Hill Facts.com | United Food & Commercial Workers | American Single Malt Whisky Commission | Lark Distilling | Westland Distillery | Glen Grant
Today’s Buffalo Trace Distillery started out 164 years ago when Daniel Swigert started making whiskey on the banks of the Kentucky River. His distillery didn’t really have a name back then, and the site’s had many names over the years as part of its history…one that includes legendary names like Taylor, Stagg, Blanton, and Lee. F. Paul Pacult’s latest book, “Buffalo, Barrels, & Bourbon” dives deeply into that history, and he joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, tariff talks between the U.S. and the European Union are coming down to the deadline again, and that has Bourbon makers nervous. Distillers in Ireland are proposing to update the legal standards for Irish Whiskey, and the world’s oldest whisky goes on the auction block.
Links: F. Paul Pacult.com | Buffalo Trace | Bloomberg News | Kentucky Distillers Association | Kentucky Owl | Sotheby’s | Gordon & MacPhail | The Dalmore | Irish Whiskey Association | Ross & Squibb Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | Compass Box
Springbank’s Findlay Ross and Ranald Watson joined us from Campbeltown, Scotland on the latest Happy Hour Live webcast to answer your whisky questions. We also talked about plans for J&A Mitchell’s third distillery to be built in Campbeltown, with a goal of having it open in time for Springbank’s 200th anniversary in 2028. There are also new environmental initiatives in the works for Springbank and Glengyle distilleries, along with new whiskies and the return of Springbank’s popular whisky school in 2022.
Master Blender Sandy Hyslop usually creates his whiskies and lets someone else worry about the packaging, but for the debut of the Royal Salute Couture Collection, he had the challenge of creating a 21-year-old whisky to match designer Richard Quinn’s bespoke decanter. We’ll discuss that challenge and the craft of whisky blending on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, longtime Laphroaig manager John Campbell is stepping down, while the Heaven Hill strike in Kentucky is now in its third week. We’ll have those stories, along with the latest whisky news and a bit of advice: watch out for desk chairs…they can have a mind of their own!
Links: Royal Salute | Chivas Brothers | Laphroaig | Heaven Hill | United Food & Commercial Workers | Springbank | The Whisky Exchange | Redbreast | Waterford | Bruichladdich | The Macallan | Highland Park | Glen Grant | Shelter Point Distillery | Jim Beam | Method And Madness | Ardbeg | Talisker
Colby and Ashley Frey own and operate Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers, a true “grain to glass” farm distillery in Fallon, Nevada. Not only do they grow all of their own grain, but the only thing the Frey family didn’t build themselves was the still – a unique combination of column and pot stills custom-built by Vendome. The Freys did have to assemble the still, though…and that’s one of the stories they shared on our Happy Hour Live webcast the other night. We’re also joined by Aberfeldy’s Gareth Howells and actor Beth Behrs, known for her roles on “The Neighborhood” and “Two Broke Girls.” They’ll tell us about Aberfeldy’s #BarrelsAndBees program to protect and expand critically endangered honeybee habitat, along with Beth’s own experiences in both whisky and beekeeping.
Editor’s note: WhiskyCast’s Mark Gillespie visited Frey Ranch in Nevada before this webcast as part of a tour for drinks writers organized by the distillery. As with all of our content, though, full editorial content of this episode remains with WhiskyCast.
Links: Frey Ranch | Aberfeldy | Barrels & Bees with Beth Behrs
Bourbon fermenters are bubbling all over the United States because of unprecedented global demand for “America’s Native Spirit.” September is Bourbon Heritage Month, and there’s a sound argument to be made that history will remember this as one of the brightest periods ever for Bourbon. We’ll look at the business fueling that growth this week with Steve Beam of Limestone Branch Distillery in Kentucky, Trey Zoeller of Jefferson’s Bourbon, and Craig Johnson of Pernod Ricard USA. His colleagues have been among the most active investors in Bourbon over the last five years, including acquiring Jefferson’s 18 months ago. In the news, the U.S. will open its borders for whiskey tourism starting in November, while the Heaven Hill strike continues in Kentucky. In our Behind the Label segment, we’ll look at two different methods of distilling whiskey…both involve grain, of course, but that’s where the similarities end.
Links: Limestone Branch Distillery | Jefferson’s Bourbon | Heaven Hill | United Food & Commercial Workers | Frey Ranch | Brown-Forman | Elvis Whiskey | Hudson Whiskey | Kentucky Owl | Blade And Bow | Writers’ Tears | Tobermory | Bunnahabhain | Deanston | Compass Box | Forty Creek | Alfred Giraud | Amrut | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Rabbit Hole Distillery
Live broadcasting is sort of like walking a tightrope…most of the time, it works. Then, there are those times when one’s walking the tightrope while juggling chainsaws, and that’s what happened during our #HappyHourLive webcast Friday night at the American Whiskey Convention. While the live video stream was plagued with technical glitches, our audio backup made this episode possible! Thanks to all of our guests who joined us Friday night, as well as those of you who watched the live video stream.
Links: Catoctin Creek | Kentucky Artisan Distilling | Jefferson’s Bourbon | Cooper Spirits | Altered State Distillery | Widow Jane | Uncle Nearest | New Liberty Distillery | George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon | Wild Turkey | Limestone Branch Distillery
Distillers like to say they’re laying down whiskies for the next generation, but in many cases, it’s their next generation who will be bottling those whiskies. That tradition is being passed on now in the Noe and Russell families, as Freddie Noe and Bruce Russell take on more and more responsibilities at the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey distilleries. Freddie is the eighth generation of his branch of the Beam family tree, and will eventually take over for his father Fred Noe as Beam’s master distiller. Bruce is the son of Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell, who had to work for decades under his father, the legendary Jimmy Russell…who celebrated his 67th anniversary at Wild Turkey this past Friday. We’ll catch up with Freddie and Bruce on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, it’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival week in Bardstown, but this year’s festival is being hit by both Covid-19 and a strike at Heaven Hill that’s forced that distillery to pull out of festival events. We’ll have those stories and in our Behind the Label segment, we’ll remember one of whisky’s unsung heroes who passed away the other day.
Links: Wild Turkey | Jim Beam | Heaven Hill | United Food & Commercial Workers | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Barton 1792 | Buffalo Trace | Suntory | Method & Madness | Tamdhu | Tomatin | Mackmyra | Town Branch Distillery | KO Distilling | Glenmorangie | Distill Ventures | Kanosuke Distillery | Little Book | High Plains Rye | George Remus Bourbon | Cooper’s Choice | Kentucky Artisan Distillery
Four Roses is releasing its 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon this month, and Master Distiller Brent Elliott joined us on the latest #HappyHourLive webcast with the details. We’re also joined by Darryl McNally. who stepped down as Master Distiller at Ireland’s Dublin Liberties Distillery recently to start his own Limavady Irish Whiskey brand and revive his family’s distilling heritage in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim. Whisky Magazine editor Christopher Coates makes his first appearance on our Friday night webcasts, too. Join us each Friday at 5:00pm New York time for our live webcasts on the WhiskyCast YouTube channel, our Facebook page, Twitter, and Twitch!
Links: Four Roses Bourbon | Limavady Irish Whiskey | Whisky Magazine
On a cold, wintry Scottish day in February of 1940, one of Gordon & MacPhail’s Sherry casks was filled with new make spirit at Glenlivet Distillery. That cask lasted through wars, recessions, and a couple of generations of Urquhart family members to become the oldest Scotch Whisky ever bottled: the Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 80 Years Old. Stephen Rankin of Gordon & MacPhail joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to share the story behind this rare whisky…and we’ll taste it, too! In the news, global shortages of glass bottles and packaging materials caused by the pandemic are about to result in higher whisky prices, while Diageo has opened its new Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh and Beam a new distillery in Kentucky. We’ll also look at a unique way to add the character of a wood to whisky when it’s impossible to actually make a cask from that wood.
Links: Gordon & MacPhail | Brown-Forman | Johnnie Walker Princes Street | Jim Beam | Four Roses | The Balvenie | The Glenturret | The Lakes Distillery | Teeling Whiskey Company | Suntory | Tobermory | American Whiskey Convention | Limavady Whiskey | Roe & Co.