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”.

Speed Rack: Women Shaking Cocktails for a Cause

There are plenty of cocktail competitions for bartenders, but Speed Rack was one of the first to highlight women working behind the bar. Lynette Marrero and Ivy Mix founded Speed Rack in 2012 to not only empower women in the cocktail culture, but also to raise money for breast cancer research and charities. They’ve succeeded at both over the last six years, and will be staging the first Speed Rack competition in Australia next month. We’ll talk with Lynette Marrero on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and while we’re talking about cocktail competitions, we’ll check in with Lynn House as the eight regional winners in Heaven Hill’s 2018 Bartender of the Year competition gather in Sea Island, Georgia for this week’s finals. In the news, China has joined the growing list of US trading partners targeting American-made whiskies for punitive tariffs as the trade war expands. Kentucky’s Castle & Key Distillery has successfully defended a trademark infringement suit over its use of the original Old Taylor name for its distillery, and on Behind the Label, we’ll look at the tricky question of when whiskies made in one country can be labeled as coming from another country.


Links: Speed Rack | Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year Competition | World Class | Castle & Key | Sazerac | Waldhorn Distillery | Scotch Whisky Association | Hven Distillery | Kyrö Distillery | Uncle Nearest | Royal Salute | Distilled Spirits Council | Balcones Distilling | Bruichladdich | Bunnahabhain | Brasil Duty Free

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A Double Whammy for US Whisky Distillers (Episode 706: June 14, 2018)

Tax cuts that took effect at the start of 2018 encouraged many US whisky distillers to expand their facilities. Now, they’re caught in the middle of the trade war between the United States and its trading partners in Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Not only are the whiskies some of those distillers export going to be hit with new tariffs at the start of July, but prices for the stainless steel and aluminum they need for those expansion projects are going up because of the US tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. We’ll look at the issue on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Brown-Forman has opened its Old Forester distillery on Louisville’s “Whiskey Row” downtown, while the management of Bardstown’s Willett Distillery is being handed down to the next generation. Wild Turkey is releasing a new Bourbon with a back story appropriate for Father’s Day weekend, and we’ll head into the weekend with some Dad jokes.


Links: Old Forester | Willett Distillery | Michter’s | The Baltimore Whiskey Company | Chivas Brothers | The Glenmorangie Company | Bushmills | Wild Turkey | Booker’s | Nikka Whisky | Dekantā | Johnnie Walker | American Craft Spirits Association | FEW Spirits | Sonoma County Distilling Company | Brown-Forman | Jura | Old Pulteney | Cask 88 | The WhiskyCast Story | Tomatin

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The First American Single Malt Whiskey? (Episode 705: June 10, 2018)

Historians aren’t sure who distilled the first Scotch-style single malt whiskey in the United States, but Oregon’s Clear Creek Distillery has a pretty solid claim to the title. Steve McCarthy started making his McCarthy’s Oregon Single Malt in 1993, and while Steve McCarthy sold Clear Creek in 2014 and eased into semi-retirement, his influence still guides Clear Creek’s distillers to this day. We’ll talk with Clear Creek’s Jeanine Racht on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the G7 Summit ends with no progress in resolving a global trade dispute pitting the US against its key trading partners, while new tariffs could affect 65 percent of all US whiskey exports within the next month.  We’ll look at a new whisky that’s helping raise money for search and rescue operations in the UK, along with other new whiskies, tasting notes, and much more.


Links: Clear Creek Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | Wild Turkey | The MacallanSingle Cask Nation | Laphroaig | Bowmore | Compass Box | Delilah’s | The Temple Bar Whiskey | Ardbeg | Great Northern Distillery | Speaking of Suicide

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Whisky By the Generations (Episode 704: June 7, 2018)

With Father’s Day coming up, we’ll meet a Scottish woman following her father into the whiskey business. That’s right…whiskey. Jennifer Nickerson married her Irish farmer husband, Liam Ahearn, and moved to his family’s farm in County Tipperary, Ireland. Her father is longtime Scotch Whisky veteran Stuart Nickerson, and when he saw Liam’s farm, he persuaded them that it was the perfect place for a distillery. They’re now building the Tipperary Boutique Distillery, and while Liam works the farm, Jennifer will be making the whiskey. We’ll talk with father and daughter on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the whiskey trade war is expanding, and distillers are preparing to face the impact of new tariffs on exports of Bourbon and other American whiskies. We’ll have that story and much more on the midweek edition  of WhiskyCast.


Links: Tipperary Boutique Distillery | Brown-Forman | Great Northern Distillery | The Balvenie | BenRiach | The Glenrothes | Douglas Laing & Co. | English Whisky Company | Honoeye Falls Distillery 

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A Whisky Trade War on the Horizon? (Episode 703: June 3, 2018)

Canada and the European Union are planning retaliatory tariffs on imports of Bourbon and other American whiskies after this week’s move by the Trump Administration to impose tariffs on their steel and aluminum exports to the United States. That sets the stage for what could potentially become a full-fledged trade war with whisky as a weapon, and whisky makers are worried that the U.S. will respond with tariffs against their whiskies. We’ll talk with William Lavelle of the Irish Whiskey Association, who’s urging European Union leaders to carefully consider the economic impact of their plans. We’ll also explain just how tariffs on whisky imports work in our Behind the Label segment, and share some of your reactions on Your Voice. In the news, the ringleader of the “Pappygate” distillery thefts in Kentucky has been sentenced to 15 years in prison, but there’s still no verdict yet on the fate of the stolen whiskey.


Links: Irish Whiskey Association | Distilled Spirits Council | Kentucky Distillers Association | Ardbeg | Cask 88 | The Lakes Distillery | Arran Whisky | Zuidam Distillers | Woodford Reserve

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Becoming a Bourbon Badass (Episode 702: May 31, 2018)

Bourbon scares some people away…at first. Often, those who approach Bourbon gingerly develop a true passion for it, and become what Linda Ruffenach refers to as a “Bourbon Badass.” Linda founded the Whisky Chicks four years ago in Louisville, and while her book “How to be a Bourbon Badass” is geared to women, the term itself – just like a passion for Bourbon – is gender-neutral. We’ll talk with Linda Ruffenach on WhiskyCast In-Depth.  In the news, the trade war is on between the United States and the European Union over steel and aluminum imports, and the Europeans are firing back with plans to impose tariffs on Bourbon and other American whiskies. We’ll have that story, along with plans for another new distillery in Scotland’s Speyside region, The Macallan’s oldest whisky ever, and your comments on the raging inferno from our last episode.


Links: Whisky Chicks | Gordon & MacPhail | Brown-Forman | Douglas Laing & Co. | Sazerac | The Macallan | Woodford Reserve | Wyoming Whiskey | Mjølner Melbourne | Scotch Test Dummies | Springbank | Highland Park | Knob Creek | Westland

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Port Charlotte and Islay’s “Middle Child Syndrome” (Episode 701: May 27, 2018)

Bruichladdich’s Port Charlotte single malt lies in between the distillery’s namesake unpeated whiskies and its Octomore heavily peated malts, and Bruichladdich CEO Douglas Taylor admits the range has suffered from “middle child syndrome” in recent years. As part of Bruichladdich’s open day today during the annual Islay Festival of Malt & Music, Port Charlotte is getting some much-needed attention. There’s a new Port Charlotte 10-year-old that will be available worldwide, a new 2011 Islay Barley bottling, and an end to “hand-me-down” bottles and packaging. On WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll talk with Douglas Taylor about the upgrade, along with growing concerns on Islay about the Scotch Whisky industry’s impact on the island. In the news, another deadline is approaching in the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union, while Sazerac’s plans for a new distillery in Tennessee have gotten the green light. We’ll also have tasting notes for a couple of whiskies that take spice – and the score for one – to a new level.


Links: Bruichladdich | Sazerac | Murfreesboro Post | Cascade Blonde | Crown Royal | Method and Madness | Glen Scotia | George Dickel | Westland | Classic Malts

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The Macallan’s Whisky Cathedral Opens in Scotland (Episode 700: May 24, 2018)

Edrington first announced plans for The Macallan’s new distillery in 2012, but the planning process on what may be one of the longest distillery projects on record started well before that, and construction work alone took three and a half years. The Macallan’s new home welcomed its first guests the other night, and will open for tours on June 2. We’ll talk with The Macallan’s Ken Grier about the new distillery and what it means for the brand’s future, along with the recent move to revamp The Macallan’s core ranges and last week’s pair of million-dollar bids for two rare 1926 Macallans at Bonhams in Hong Kong.

In the news, Diageo has named project managers for the revival of its Port Ellen and Brora distilleries. There’s a report that U.S. trade officials are pressuring Great Britain to weaken protections for Scotch Whisky in a post-Brexit free trade deal, while Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled another new range of single malts and Irish Distillers is adding two new whiskies to its Method and Madness lineup.


Links: The Macallan | Diageo | Scotch Whisky Association | The Guardian | Gordon & MacPhail | Method And Madness | Halewood Wines & Spirits | Big Red Liquors | One Cure | Maker’s Mark | Classic Malts | Blanton’s | Scotch Test Dummies | Whyte & Mackay

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Memories of an Irish Whiskey Legend (Episode 699: May 20, 2018)

Irish Whiskey lost one of its longtime champions this past week with the passing of John Clement Ryan. He was the 7th – and final generation of Dublin’s Power family to work in the Irish Whiskey business, and while he never distilled a drop of whiskey himself, he traveled the world for three decades promoting Jameson Irish Whiskey during one of the industry’s bleakest periods. His evangelism and fervor back then contributed to the renaissance we see today as Irish Whiskey sales grow year after year. In 2013, we sat down with John Ryan for an interview that’s never aired before as he shared some of his history and Irish Whiskey’s history with us – you’ll hear that interview on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the million-dollar mark for a single bottle of whisky sold at auction has been broken – twice in one day! We’ll have the details, along with the story of an unusual collaboration among some of Bourbon’s masters for Kentucky charities. We’ll also have your comments, tasting notes, and look at barrel vocabulary on “Behind the Label.”


Links: Jameson | Powers | Irish Distillers | Bonhams | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Heaven Hill | Douglas Laing & Co. | Balcones Distilling | Redbreast | Crown Royal | Whisky Quarterly | Santa Fe Spirits | Union Horse Distilling | The John Milroy Selection | The WhiskyCast Story

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30 Years of the Scotch Whisky Experience (Episode 698: May 17, 2018)

In May of 1988, the Scotch Whisky Experience opened its doors on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, next to Edinburgh Castle. Over the last 30 years, millions of whisky lovers have made the hike to the top of the Royal Mile to learn more about Scotch Whisky – and sample a dram or two. This month kicks off a year-long anniversary celebration, and we’ll talk with Julie Trevisan Hunter of the Scotch Whisky Experience on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Suntory is disappointing whisky lovers with word that it’ll be dropping the Hakushu 10 and Hibiki 17 whiskies later this year because of supply shortages, while Diageo broke ground this week for a new Bulleit Distillery visitors center in Kentucky. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and find out how 500 whisky lovers are getting their names on the car Jay Howard is trying to qualify for next weekend’s Indianapolis 500. Finally, we’ll look at a whisky debate that may send shivers down your spine, depending on how you feel about ice in your dram!


Links: Scotch Whisky Experience | Suntory Whisky | Bulleit Bourbon | Frazier History Museum | Knob Creek | San Francisco World Spirits Competition | Smooth Ambler | Hotaling & Co. | Royal Salute | One Cure | Big Red Liquors | The Whisky Exchange | Loch Lomond Distillers | The English Whisky Company | Lauder’s | Grand MacNish | Spirits Canada

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