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”.

Introducing The Pope to Pappy (Episode 691: April 22, 2018)

The Bible says “The Lord works in mysterious ways.” As proof, we have the story this week of Father Jim Sichko, a Kentucky-based Catholic priest heading to Rome for an audience at the Vatican with Pope Francis. He admits to not knowing much about Bourbon, but whether you want to call it providence or luck, he was able to get his hands on some of the much-sought-after Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon for the Pope, along with enough whiskey to start a new collection at the Vatican. He’ll share his story with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also preview the upcoming Spirit of Speyside Festival.

In the news, the world’s largest brewer is dipping its toes into the Scotch Whisky business, while construction will begin next month on Edinburgh’s first malt whisky distillery in 90 years and Canada’s Supreme Court has dealt a legal setback to whisky lovers,. We’re also kicking off a new segment this week, as “Behind the Label” looks at things you may have wondered about when it comes to learning more about whisky.


Links: Fr. Jim Sichko | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Atom Group | Master of Malt | Holyrood Distillery | The Globe & Mail | West Overton Village & Museum | Beam Suntory | Dad’s Hat Rye | Buffalo Trace | Orphan Barrel | Balcones Distilling | The Glenlivet Code | Smokehead | The Famous Grouse | Laphroaig | Bunnahabhain | Speyside Distillery | Glen Moray | Two Brewers | Sagamore Spirit

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Billy Walker’s Back in the Whisky Business with The GlenAllachie (Episode 690: April 19, 2018)

Billy Walker of The GlenAllachie Distillery. Image courtesy The GlenAllachie.

Billy Walker could have walked away from the Scotch Whisky business last year after he and his partners sold the BenRiach, GlenDronach, and Glenglassaugh distilleries to Brown-Forman for more than $400 million. However, he decided to jump back in with his “dream team” of industry leaders and buy the Glenallachie distillery from Chivas Brothers, and will launch the distillery’s first range of single malts in June. We’ll talk with Billy about building that team and giving new life to a long-underrrated distillery on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Anheuser-Busch InBev has acquired Atom Group, the UK-based drinks company that owns Master of Malt, while Diageo has announced plans to invest £150 million to upgrade the visitors centers at 12 of its distilleries in Scotland and create a new “brand home” for Johnnie Walker in Edinburgh. We’ll also have details on Gordon & MacPhail’s move to consolidate its 12 lines of single malt whiskies into just five starting this month with the Connoisseurs Choice range, and the Spirit of Speyside Festival brings judging for its annual whisky competition to New York for the first time.


Links: The GlenAllachie | Atom Group | Diageo | Gordon & MacPhail | Holyrood Distillery | Box Distillery | West Overton Village & Museum | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Craigellachie Village Council | Pure Scot | English Whisky Company | Jim Beam | Rebel Yell

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Craft Whisky: Optimism and a Reality Check (Episode 689: April 15, 2018)

Cooper River Distillers founder James Yoakum in his Camden, New Jersey distillery. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Every distillery opens as a dream, with the backers hoping to become the next Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey, or one of countless other mainstays of the whisky business. During Friday night’s American Whiskey Convention in Philadelphia, many startup distilleries showed off their whiskies next to those mainstays. A couple of miles away, James Yoakum was pouring drinks in his tasting room at Cooper River Distillers, days after making the decision to close the distillery after one last Kentucky Derby party May 5th. He’ll share some of the lessons he learned over the last four years, and we’ll meet some of the distillers still full of optimism – yet tempered with reality – on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, four Kentucky distilleries celebrated milestones this week, while Wild Turkey’s partnership with actor Matthew McConaughey has led to a new Bourbon and Diageo has given us a preview of this year’s Special Releases single malts…with no Port Ellens or Broras in the mix.


Links: Cooper River Distillers | American Whiskey Convention | Hidden Still Spirits | 8 Oaks Craft Distillers | The Telegraph | Heaven Hill | Buffalo Trace | O.Z. Tyler Distillery | Lux Row Distillers | Wild Turkey | Classic Malts | Tullibardine | The Balvenie | The Glenrothes | Widow Jane | Whisky Ambassador | High West | The Tyrconnell

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Taking Time Out of the Whisky Bottle (Episode 688: April 8, 2018)

The fermentation room at O.Z. Tyler Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky. Photo courtesy Terressentia.

Whisky makers have tried for decades to come up with ways of making young whiskies taste like older ones, but whisky purists will argue that there is no substitute for time in a barrel when it comes to making a quality whisky. O.Z. Tyler created the TerrePURE process, which uses ultrasonic sound waves to break up some of the undesirable byproducts of the distilling process that are left behind after a whisky reaches the barrel. South Carolina-based Terressentia has been using that process on bulk and private-label Bourbons for the last ten years, and revived the old Medley Distillery in Owensboro, Kentucky in 2016. Now, the renamed O.Z. Tyler Distillery will release its first Kentucky Bourbon using that process this week, and we’ll talk with Terressentia CEO Earl Hewlette on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, it could soon be legal for the first time to have a Kentucky distillery ship whiskies home for visitors. We’ll look at the impact of the just-passed House Bill 400 on distillers, tourists, and retailers. The brewing trade war between the United States and China has now expanded to include American-made whiskies, and one of Sweden’s largest distilleries is changing its name.


Links: Terressentia | O.Z. Tyler Distillery | Kentucky Distillers Association | Lux Row Distillers | Box Distillery | Cooper River Distillers | O.F.C. Vintages | Berry Bros. & Rudd | Ironroot Republic | Maker’s Mark | Binny’s | Compass Box | Glenmorangie | English Whisky Company | The Amber Light Kickstarter Campaign | The Distillers’ Charity Auction | Roaming Man Tennessee Straight Rye | North of 7 Distillery | Wayne Gretzky Estates | The Macallan

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Whisky is Too Important to be Taken Seriously (Episode 687: April 1, 2018)

Douglas Laing & Co.'s Big Meat Bacon-Infused Scotch Whisky. Image courtesy Douglas Laing & Co.

Scotland’s Douglas Laing & Co. is celebrating its 70th anniversary in 2018, and for many of those years, the Laing family has taken a light-hearted approach to Scotch Whisky – at least, when it comes to what’s on the outside of the bottle. With brands like Big Peat, Scallywag, Timorous Beastie, and the like, Fred Laing has given us many reasons to smile as we pour a dram. Fred has turned over much of the day-to-day operations of the company over to his daughter Cara and son-in-law Chris Leggett, but took the title of Chairman of the Board because “Chief Mischief Maker” wasn’t an option. He’ll join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to talk about this year’s anniversary releases, the progress of their new distillery in Glasgow, and their newest whisky…the bacon-infused “Big Meat.”

We’ll also have the details on a complete makeover for The Macallan’s single malts, a upcoming “crowdsourced” Bourbon from Buffalo Trace, April Fool’s fun from Westland, and Dave Broom’s future as a film star, along with tasting notes for three Scandinavian single malts and much more!


Links: Douglas Laing & Co. | The Macallan | Glenallachie | Sport Dram | Westland Distillery | Buffalo Trace | American Distilling Institute | The Amber Light Kickstarter Campaign | The Whisky Topic Podcast | Peaky Blinder Whiskey | Hunter Laing & Co. | Box Distillery | Myken Distillery | Nyborg Distillery

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Wandering The Wonderful World of Whisky (Episode 686: March 25, 2018)

Brown-Forman's Rachel Barrie talks with guests at a GlenDronach and BenRiach tasting March 19, 2018 in New York City. Photo ©2018, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Rachel Barrie is known on Twitter as @TheLadyBlender, and she’s just winding up her first year as the master blender for Brown-Forman’s BenRiach, GlenDronach, and Glenglassaugh distilleries in Scotland. Over the years, she’s worked on some of Scotch Whisky’s most iconic brands, and joins us to discuss her career and her plans for those distilleries.

This week, we’re on the road in Cornwall, Ontario at the Wonderful World of Whisky Show to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. Back in 2006, we first met Barry Bernstein and Barry Stein shortly after they left their jobs to form Premium Bottlers and import casks of Scotch Whisky into Canada. That led to their opening Still Waters Distillery in the Toronto suburbs a few years later, and this week, their Stalk & Barrel Single Malt was named the “Best Canadian Single Cask Single Malt” in Whisky Magazine’s World Whiskies Awards. We’ll talk with “The Barrys” – as they’re affectionately known, and hear a tale of one brand ambassador’s airport security nightmare that turned into a dream.


Links: Wonderful World of Whisky Show | BenRiach Distillery Company | Still Waters Distillery | Beam Suntory | FedEx | Master of Malt | The Whisky Exchange | Gordon & MacPhail | The Dalmore | The Macallan | Brown-Forman | Woodford Reserve | Michter’s | The Glenlivet | Inchmurrin | Wemyss Malts | World Whiskies Awards | Icons of Whisky Awards | Amrut | Ardbeg | Kensington Wine Market | Kilchoman

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Waiting for Waterford’s Whiskey (Episode 685: March 18, 2018)

The first barrels of Waterford Irish Whiskey to be filled. File photo ©2015, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

It’s St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and while we cover Irish Whiskey all year-round, it’s worth paying special attention to the fastest-growing segment of the whisky business this week. Waterford Distillery has been quietly laying down more than 2.3 million liters of spirit since it opened at the end of 2015, and just as he did at Bruichladdich, Waterford founder Mark Reynier is challenging many of Irish Whiskey’s traditions. We’ll catch up with Mark for a progress report and discuss his newest challenge – distilling whiskey from biodynamically-grown barley. We’ll also hear about another newcomer to the Irish Whiskey scene, as Sabine Sheehan joins us to share the story behind Lambay Irish Whiskey – a collaboration between Cognac’s Camus family and Ireland’s Baring family. In the news, Irish investigators are looking for the cause of a fatal accident this week at the Irish Distillers maturation warehouses in Dungourney, and Ireland’s prime minister was in Washington trying to persuade President Donald Trump to reconsider punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports set to take effect this week in a move that could set off a whisky-focused trade war.


Links: Waterford Distillery | Lambay Whiskey | Irish Distillers | Jim Beam | Heaven Hill | Blood Oath | Lux Row Distillers | J. Rieger & Co. | Ardbeg | Douglas Laing & Co. | The Glasgow Distillery Company | Australian Whisky Holdings | Lark Distillery | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Midleton Whiskey

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A Whisky Weekend in Waco (Episode 684: March 11, 2018)

Whisky fans line up to buy the first release of Balcones Rye whisky during the distillery's RyeFest March 10, 2018. Photo ©2018, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

This week, we’re on the road in Waco, Texas for the inaugural RyeFest at Balcones Distilling, where they’re releasing their first-ever Rye whisky after 10 years of making almost every other kind of whisky under the Texas sun. We’ll talk with Balcones head distiller Jared Himstedt and taste the new Balcones 100 Proof Rye. On this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll also meet some distillers from Down Under – Australians who are proving that not all Australian whisky comes from Tasmania. In the news, the stage is set for European Union officials to impose tariffs on Bourbon after the Trump Administration kicked off a potential trade war by imposing punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from EU member nations and other countries. Diageo’s distillery in Tullahoma, Tennessee is getting a new name – and a new head distiller, and we’ll talk with the founders of the #OurWhisky movement to highlight diversity in the whisky industry.


Links: Balcones Distilling | George Dickel | Chattanooga Times Free Press | Alltech | Compass Box | Jura | BenRiach | Box Distillery | Sullivan’s Cove | Booker’s Bourbon | The Balvenie | Limeburners | McLaren Vale | Craft Works Distillery | Starward

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Betting on Irish Whiskey’s Future (Episode 683: March 4, 2018)

A glass of Irish Whiskey on a cask at Midleton Distillery in Ireland. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Irish Whiskey has been the fastest-growing segments of the global whiskey market for the last several years, and for many Irish entrepreneurs, it’s a long-awaited return to the glory days of Irish Whiskey. We’ll talk with several entrepreneurs betting their futures on the continued growth of Irish Whiskey on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, including Donal O’Gallachoir of Glendalough Distillery and Peter Clancy, who’s spearheading construction of the new Lough Ree Distillery along the River Shannon. We’ll also talk with Bourbon & Beyond Festival promoter Danny Wimmer and Fred Minnick about the whiskey lineup unveiled this week for the second year of the festival this September in Louisville. In the news, US President Donald Trump’s plans to impose punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum imports could lead to a backlash against the Bourbon industry. We’ll also talk with the Diageo executive behind the controversial Jane Walker Edition of Johnnie Walker Black Label, catch up on the rest of the week’s whisky news, and deliver a stiff reprimand to a whisky jerk!


Links: Bourbon & Beyond Festival | Flaming Leprechaun | Glendalough | Lough Ree Distillery | Master of Malt | The Whisky Exchange | FedEx | Jack Daniel’s | Johnnie Walker | Westland Distillery | Virginia Distillery Company | Frazier History Museum | Rebel Yell | Barrell Whiskey | Ashford Castle | Amrut | Hammer Head | Ironroot Republic | Douglas Laing & Co.

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Preparing for Whisky’s Next Generation (Episode 682: February 25, 2018)

Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris (R) and newly-promoted Assistant Master Distiller Elizabeth McCall. Photo courtesy Brown-Forman.

Distillers like to say they’re not making whisky for themselves, but laying it down for future generations. Part of that process is identifying the young distillers who may be asked to take over for them one day, and this week, that process put Woodford Reserve’s future in much clearer perspective. Brown-Forman promoted Elizabeth McCall from her role as Woodford’s Master Taster to Assistant Master Distiller, putting her on the track to eventually take over for current Master Distiller Chris Morris one day. McCall’s story is unique – not because she’s a second-generation whisky maker, but because she followed her mother into the whisky business. She’ll share her story and her goal of encouraging other young women to consider science careers on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

This week, we’re on location in the Boston suburb of Westborough, Massachusetts for the annual Go Whisk(e)y Weekend at Julio’s Liquors, and we’ll have details on another marriage between music and whiskey as the rock giants of Metallica are teaming up with veteran distiller Dave Pickerell to create not just their own whiskey, but build their own distillery as well! We’ll also have details on Ardbeg’s new expansion plans and some hints about this year’s Ardbeg Committee bottling, along with a first look at Laphroaig’s annual Cairdeas release and new entries in the Bottled in Bond American Whiskey category.


Links: Woodford Reserve | Metallica | WhistlePig Whiskey | Ardbeg | Laphroaig | Arran | Sazerac | Scotch Whisky Association | Waldhorn Distillery | Tomatin | GlenDronach | Heaven Hill | Old Overholt | Tattersall Distilling | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Julio’s Liquors | Orphan Barrel | Glenturret

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