WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 17th year, each weekly podcast 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”.
Scotland’s Isle of Islay is known for its distilleries, and construction will begin soon on the island’s 12th distillery near the shores of Laggan Bay. The Islay Boys, Donald MacKenzie and Mackay Smith, plan to build the new Laggan Bay Distillery across from Islay’s airport on the site of a former RAF World War II barracks. MacKenzie and Smith also own the island’s lone brewery, and plan to make Islay Ales part of the Laggan Bay development. We’ll catch up with Donald MacKenzie on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Kentucky’s Bourbon community is coming together again to help fellow Kentuckians in need following this month’s floods. We’ll have that story and check in with one distiller affected by the flooding.
Links: Islay Ales | Kentucky Bourbon Benefit | Kentucky Mist Distillery | Talisker | Mortlach | Rosebank | Belfast Distillery Company | The Balvenie | Bearface Whisky | Waiheke Whisky | Arcane Distilling | TTB Beverage Alcohol Manual
Forty Creek master blender Bill Ashburn celebrated his 35th anniversary in the whisky business this week, and he’s one of those blenders content to stay out of the spotlight most of the time. Ashburn and John Hall put Canadian Whisky on a new course in 2000 when they released the Forty Creek Barrel Select and Three Grain whiskies, and Ashburn’s whiskies have won countless awards since then. He’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we have details on the U.S. government’s proposal to create an official definition for American Single Malt whiskies, along with Beam Suntory’s plans to invest $400 million to expand production at the Booker Noe Distillery in Kentucky.
Links: Forty Creek | American Single Malt Whiskey Commission | Westland Distillery | Virginia Distillery Company | Beam Suntory | GlenDronach | Horse Soldier Bourbon | The Balvenie | Fettercairn | Cask 88 | Whiskey Del Bac | Westward Whiskey | Craigellachie | Talnua Distillery
Alcohol has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, even when the healers of history didn’t always know they were distilling alcohol when they made their potions. Some of those potions even sound a lot like today’s cocktails, and drinks writer Camper English has been studying the links between alcohol and medicine for his new book Doctors and Distillers. We’ll explore some of that history with him this week on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the American Craft Spirits Association has handed out its annual awards, and we’ll have the details. We’ll also get a preview of this September’s Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and on Behind the Label, we’ll answer the question “What’s in a (distillery) name?”
Links: Alcademics.com | American Craft Spirits Association Awards | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Ardbeg | Gordon & MacPhail | The Glenturret | Woodford Reserve
Jackie Zykan could have kept the security of her corporate job as the master taster for Brown-Forman’s Old Forester whiskies, but she decided the time was right to spread her wings and fly. She’s leading the team behind the new Hidden Barn whiskey brand, and their debut Bourbon hits the market this week. She’ll explain why she made the move…and why she’s nervous about it…on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, local officials have given the green light for Islay’s 12th distillery, while two Virginia men are facing felony charges for selling details on the state’s allocations of rare Bourbons and a UK retailer has come up with a special whisky to celebrate the departure of Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Links: Hidden Barn Whiskey | The Oban Times | Lochlea Distillery | Oxford Artisan Distillery | Royal Brackla | Caskshare | Treaty Oak Distilling | Michter’s | The Wiseman
We all have our own whisky stories to tell, and author Shelley Sackier is sharing hers in the new book “Make It a Double.” She’s gone from hating that first sip of whisky to becoming director of distillery education at Virginia’s Reservoir Distillery over the years, and the book combines serious whisky knowledge with her own unique sense of humor. She’ll tell us what that first dram was and how she learned to love whisky on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, former Old Forester master taster Jackie Zykan has announced her plans for a new whiskey brand, while her former colleagues have released one of her final Old Forester whiskies. We’ll also have details on the whopping $19 million dollar price tag for a single cask of Ardbeg!
Links: ShelleySackier.com | Reservoir Distillery “Book and Bottle Tour” | Hidden Barn Whiskey | Old Forester | Teeling Whiskey Company | Bord Bia | The Spirits Business Ukraine Relief Auction | Ardbeg | Rabbit Hole | FEW Spirits | Chattanooga Whiskey | Johnnie Walker
The whisky industry depends on quercus alba, the American White Oak, for hundreds of thousands of whisky barrels each year, and that makes preserving White Oak forests a key priority for those concerned about the industry’s future. Climate change and other factors are threatening the long-term sustainability of prime White Oak forests in the Midwest, and the White Oak Initiative is bringing together foresters with those who depend on the viability of the forests. This week on WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll talk with Brown-Forman’s Greg Roshkowski. He’s responsible for the company’s cooperages and its wood management program, and he’s also one of the key players in the White Oak Initiative. We’ll also have the week’s whisky news and tasting notes for a firecracker of a whiskey from Jack Daniel’s – one that should come with a HazMat label!
Links: White Oak Initiative | Brown-Forman | Heaven Hill | Classic Malts | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Scotch Whisky Association | House of Hazelwood | Finn Thomson Whisky | Tamworth Distilling | Bunnahabhain | Holladay Distilling | Jack Daniel’s
How do our noses help us enjoy whisky? Turns out the nose has a major role to play in our enjoyment of whisky, food, and life in general. The average nose has around 400 receptors that process aromas, and they’re far more sensitive than our tongues are. Dr. Paul Wise is a sensory researcher at Philadelphia’s Monell Chemical Senses Center, and his work focuses on how the nose and our other senses process chemical inputs present in our daily life. He’ll take us deep inside the nose for a unique WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, building a distillery on Islay wasn’t enough for Elixir Distillers, which has now purchased Speyside’s Tormore Distillery from Chivas Brothers. We’ll hear from Elixir’s Sukhinder Singh on his future plans for Tormore. We’ll also have details on Sazerac’s expansion in Ireland with the purchase of Lough Gill Distillery and the rest of the week’s whisky news.
Links: Monell Chemical Senses Center | Elixir Distillers | Sazerac | Wyoming Whiskey | Yellowstone Bourbon | Redbreast | Rabbit Hole | Catoctin Creek | The Lakes Distillery | Macaloney’s Island Distillery | Brother’s Bond Bourbon
The Sazerac is one of whisky’s oldest cocktails, and it’s also the official cocktail of New Orleans. They’re celebrating the history of the Sazerac all this week in New Orleans with Sazerac Cocktail Week, and we’ll visit the home of the Sazerac on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. Sazerac House is a free cocktail museum with its own microdistillery producing small amounts of Sazerac Rum and Peychaud’s Bitters, and we’ll talk with Matt Ray, the head of visitor experiences, about the history of the cocktail and much more. In the news, Scotch Whisky distillers could be affected by a strike targeting one of Scotland’s largest glassmakers, Old Forester’s Jackie Zykan is leaving for a new opportunity, and there’s a new resource available for planning distillery trips.
Links: Sazerac House | Unite | Old Forester | Destination Distillery | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Irish Whiskey Association | Kings County Distillery | Stauning Whisky
Catoctin Creek’s Scott and Becky Harris were honored with the Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year Award during last Thursday’s Distilled Spirits Council awards luncheon in New Orleans. The Harrises have been leaders in the craft distilling movement for more than a decade, and are perfectly placed to explain the issues many small-scale distillers face in today’s crowded marketplace. We’ll talk with them on WhiskyCast In-Depth and check in with Nicole Austin of George Dickel on Behind the Label. She was honored with the Emerging Leader of the Year Award, days after shocking a few purists by releasing a 15-year-old underproof spirit under the Cascade Moon label. In the news, a TTB proposal on American Single Malts could be just days away, and we’ll hear from TTB Deputy Administrator David Wulf.
Links: Catoctin Creek | Tax & Trade Bureau | Heaven Hill | Angel’s Envy | The IWSR | Diageo | Irish Distillers | Distilled Spirits Council | Saint Liberty Whiskey | Gold Spot | Cascade Moon
More than 100 Irish farmers grow barley exclusively for Waterford Distillery, but Trevor Harris is one of a handful using biodynamic techniques on his farm. Biodynamics takes organic farming to the extreme, using naturally-based soil supplements instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. We’ll visit Trevor Harris’s farm and the distillery on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, U.S. regulators are taking a second look at bottle size standards, and that could open the door to 500ml whiskies in the future. We’ll look at addition and subtraction when it comes to whisky’s maturation equation on Behind the Label and much more.
Links: Waterford Whisky | Tax & Trade Bureau | Gordon & MacPhail | Lark Distillery Pontville | Company Distilling | Heaven Hill | Whiskey Del Bac | Starward Whisky | Virginia Distillery Company