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”.
Irish Whiskey continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the whisky business around the world, but the distilleries in Ireland and Northern Ireland have had their share of ups and downs this year. Walsh Whiskey Company founder Bernard Walsh is a former chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association, and on WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll talk with him about the boom in new distilleries and challenges presented by Brexit and Ireland’s controversial new public health legislation. In the news, we’ll have details on another executive change in Scotland, while a former consultant now finds herself running the distillery she was hired to consult for. We’ll also have details on a breakup that will affect whisky festivals during 2019 in many major U.S. cities, along with a court hearing that could send former Indian whisky baron Vijay Mallya back home to face fraud and money laundering charges. On Behind the Label, we’ll find out what happened when a whisky lover won a contest to help create this year’s Forty Creek Unity whisky, and we’ll have tasting notes for it, too!
Links: Walsh Whiskey Company | Edrington | Widow Jane | Whiskey & Barrel Nite | Whisky Live | Whisky Magazine | The Drinks Business | Old Charter Oak | Wild Turkey | Basil Hayden’s | Virginia Distillery Company | Benromach | Label 5 | Forty Creek | Brenne Whisky | Dingle | Heaven’s Door | Washington Post | Glenmorangie
Whisky Advocate’s annual WhiskyFest took over the Marriott Marquis in New York City’s Times Square Tuesday night, and we’ll have some of the highlights along with the sadness. There was a pall in one corner the ballroom as whisky lovers mourned the death of master distiller Dave Pickerell last month along with teams from several of the whiskies he helped create during his long career. We’ll talk with one of Dave’s protegés, Hillrock Estate’s Dylan Strang, about the distillery’s plans to move forward using the lessons he and his colleagues learned from their friend and mentor. In our Behind the Label segment, we’ll have an interview you can only hear on WhiskyCast as we talk with artist Michael Dillon, the painter who created the one-of-a-kind label for the 1926 Macallan that shattered the world record for a whisky auction last week in London. In the news, we’ll have the details of the U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to rewrite federal alcohol regulations for the first time in more than three decades – and some of the agency’s proposals have craft distillers nervous.
Links: Tax & Trade Bureau | Balcones Distilling | Brown-Forman | J.W. Rutledge Distillery | Compass Box | Gordon & MacPhail | Glenfarclas | Bruichladdich | Eden Mill | WhiskyFest | Hillrock Estate | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Stranahan’s | Hotel Tango Distillery | Douglas Laing & Co. | Michael Dillon Murals
Neil Giraldo is one of music’s “hit makers.” As a musician and producer, he’s worked with some of rock music’s legendary performers to create the soundtrack to our lives since the late 70’s. While he’s not the first musician to create a whiskey brand, he comes to the whiskey business with more than just a name. He helped his grandfather distill whiskey and grappa as a young boy growing up in Cleveland, and tells us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth that there’s a lot in common between producing a hit song and blending a hit whiskey. We’ll also have the story of a new world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky, along with new ownership for Cutty Sark, the week’s new whiskies, and much more.
Links: Three Chord Bourbon | Christie’s | The Macallan | Whisky.Auction | Cutty Sark | Dry Fly Distilling | Distilled Spirits Council | Orphan Barrel | Cask 88 | Glen Moray | ImpEx | Woodford Reserve | Templeton Rye | Johnnie Walker | Old Rip Van Winkle | Clonakilty Distillery | Anchorage Daily News | Dylan Whiskey Bar
Ireland’s Power family dominated the Irish Whiskey industry almost from the day innkeeper James Power started making whiskey behind his inn on Dublin’s Thomas Street in 1791 until his descendants merged their company with the Jamesons and Cork’s Murphy family in 1965 to create Irish Distillers. Powers remains one of Ireland’s best-selling whiskies to this day, and is gradually being reintroduced to the world – while its history is being reintroduced to Dubliners through the Powers Quarter. It’s a network of pubs around the family’s old Johns Lane Distillery, which is now home to Ireland’s National College of Art & Design. We’ll look at that history and the Powers Quarter on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a tentative Brexit deal between Great Britain and the European Union still faces tough challenges, but is receiving support from the whisky industry. A distillery project in Northern Ireland is being scrapped a year after construction began, and a bankruptcy filing in the US could be a sign of tough times ahead for craft distillers.
Links: Powers | Walsh Whiskey Company | The Quiet Man | Death’s Door Spirits | Heaven Hill | The Whisky Exchange | Douglas Laing & Co. | Glengoyne | Dingle | O.F.C. Vintages | Single Cask Nation | Christie’s | L. Mulligan Grocer | Bowmore | Nikka
Back on the road again, and this episode comes from the New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick! We’ll have highlights from the festival, which is now in its 23rd year, and on WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll get the story behind the revival of Red Spot Irish Whiskey. This single pot still classic from Dublin’s Mitchell & Son disappeared in the mid-1960’s, and the pleas of Irish Whiskey fans were answered this week when Irish Distillers and the Mitchell family launched the modern version of Red Spot. We’ll also have tasting notes for a rare Ladyburn single malt and explain just what “Christmas Cake” has to do with whisky on Behind the Label.
Links: New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Red Spot | Sazerac | Diageo | CanadianWhisky.org | The Shout | Kentucky Owl | The IWSC Awards List | William Grant & Sons | Proper No. Twelve | Bowmore | Canadian Club | Knob Creek | Bonhams | The Whisky Exchange | The Glenrothes | Glenfiddich | The Glenlivet
This episode marks our 13th anniversary of the very first WhiskyCast episode on November 12, 2005, and we’re celebrating with an old friend! Ian Buxton has been around the whisky industry for nearly 40 years, first as a marketing executive and now as a writer. He’s responsible for reviving Aeneas MacDonald’s classic book “Whisky” and sharing it with a new generation of whisky lovers, and his “101 Spirits to Try Before You Die” series of books has recently grown to include gins and rums along with whiskies. You’ll hear our conversation on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have details on the public memorial service next week in Louisville for Master Distiller Dave Pickerell along with the rest of the week’s news, and we’ll have a new answer on the origins of the duty-free whisky business.
Links: Ian Buxton’s Book Collection (Amazon) | Dave Pickerell Memorial | Proper No. Twelve | The Sunday Times | Clonakilty Distillery | Gordon & MacPhail | McNair’s Lum Reek | Ailsa Bay | Aerstone | Bourbon Crusaders | Willett Distillery | Fred Minnick on the Bourbon Crusaders Auction | WhiskyCast/Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends HIAS Benefit | Midleton Very Rare | Ha’Penny Irish Whiskey | Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey | Powers Irish Whiskey
This time around, we’re on the road in Kilkenny, Ireland, but with heavy hearts. The whisky world lost one of its leaders Thursday night with the death of Master Distiller Dave Pickerell in San Francisco. Dave was truly deserving of the Master Distiller title. After leaving Maker’s Mark in 2008, he helped dozens of craft distillers and entrepreneurs get into the whisky business, earning him the nickname of craft distilling’s Johnny Appleseed. We’ll honor his legacy in this episode, while also looking at the local whiskey scene in Kilkenny. Nine whiskey bars and one retailer make up the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild, and are working together to make Kilkenny a destination for whiskey lovers visiting Ireland.
Editor’s note: Dave rarely discussed his age, and our original reporting that he was 70 years old was based on information provided by one of his publicists. We have since confirmed through West Point alumni records that Dave was born in 1956 and was 62 when he died. We regret the error.
Links: Kilkenny Whiskey Guild | Oak View Spirits | Maker’s Mark | Blackened American Whiskey | Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends | The Irishman | West Cork Distillers | Egan’s Irish Whiskey | Irish American Whiskey
This time around, we’re blasting off with the crew of the USS Starward! OK, we’re talking with David Vitale, the founder of Australia’s Starward Distillery, and his whiskies have a certain Space Age look to them. Vitale founded his distillery in a former Quantas hangar at Melbourne’s airport, so the flight analogy’s not that far off, either. You’ll hear that conversation during WhiskyCast In-Depth, and in the news, Britain’s Chancellor gave the Scotch Whisky industry a pleasant surprise during Monday’s Budget Address in Parliament by extending the current freeze on whisky and spirits taxes. We’ll have that story and much more, including an update on a Hockey Hall of Fame member’s second career in the whisky business.
Links: Starward Whisky | Scotch Whisky Association | The IWSR | Just-Drinks.com | The Last Drop Distillers | Johnnie Walker | Chivas | Sonny Malloy’s Bar | Redbreast | Belfour Spirits | The Athletic | Old Forester | Laphroaig | The Balvenie | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | J.P. Wiser’s | Dewar’s
Many whisky lovers consider the “water of life” to be a regular part of their lives, but there’s no arguing that whiskies are becoming as much of a luxury item as fine watches, artwork, wines, and other rarities. That’s the world James Espey and Tom Jago entered with their final act in the whisky business eleven years ago when they formed The Last Drop Distillers after collaborating on too many iconic whisky brands to count. Today, their daughters run the business after it was sold to Sazerac last year, and just days after Tom Jago’s death earlier this month, his daughter Rebecca Jago took center stage with The Last Drop at this week’s Walpole showcase of British luxury goods. We’ll talk with her on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also catch up with Louise McGuane of Ireland’s Chapel Gate Whiskey Company fresh off a win in the Irish Whiskey Awards for her J.J. Corry Flintlock single malt.
Here’s the video of The Last Drop’s unique decanter that we mentioned in this episode, too.
Links: The Last Drop Distillers | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Scotch Whisky Association | Fets Whisky Kitchen | Craigellachie | North British Distillery | The Balvenie | Teeling Whiskey Company | Powers | Maker’s Mark | The Drinks Business | Walpole | Kilbeggan | Jack Daniel’s
Kentucky’s Four Roses Bourbon is marking its 130th anniversary this year, and while Al Young hasn’t been there the whole time…he comes closer than just about anyone else. Last year, he celebrated his 50th anniversary with Four Roses dating well back to the brand’s days under Seagram’s ownership, and he’s one of only three people to have a Four Roses bottling named for him. In fact, Four Roses fan Ryan MacLaughlin surprised Al Wednesday night at an event in Philadelphia by bringing two bottles of that 50th anniversary bottling – one for Al to sign, and the other for them to share a glass. We’ll talk with Al Young about his five-plus decades in the Bourbon business on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Brexit battle has politicians and distillers looking at the prospect of Great Britain leaving the European Union in a “no deal” departure. We’ll also have more details on the $174 million Irish Distillers expansion at Midleton, along with the arrival of this year’s Northern Border Collection special Canadian whiskies and a new series of J.P. Wiser’s whiskies designed to go with ice…ice hockey, that is!
Links: Four Roses | Irish Distillers | The Glenlivet | Chivas Regal | Bruichladdich | Northern Border Collection | J.P. Wiser’s | Wood Buffalo Brewing | Kentucky Peerless Distillery | Chattanooga Whiskey Company | Bushmills | Distilled Spirits Council Code of Responsible Practices