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”.

Episode 633: March 19, 2017

Green Spot bottles past and present. Image ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.For years, whisky connoisseurs whispered about a mysterious Irish whiskey called Green Spot and begged friends traveling to Ireland to track down a bottle for them. While Green Spot nearly disappeared from the market years ago along with the other “Spot Whiskeys” from Dublin’s Mitchell & Son, the Mitchell family and Irish Distillers kept the brand alive through some of Irish Whiskey’s darkest days. Now, Green Spot and Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton are part of the Single Pot Stills of Midleton range, while Yellow Spot has been revived and there’s talk that yet another one of the Spots may be next. We’ll talk with Robert Jonathan Mitchell and Robert Mitchell of Mitchell & Son about the history – and the future – of the Spots on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with Liam Maher, who once worked in the family’s underground warehouse in Dublin and now serves as a clerk at the Mitchell & Son shop. In the news, there’s another blow to the future of Australia’s Nant Distillery. We’ll have the details, along with the opening of the new Bulleit Distillery in Kentucky, the return of an age statement as a Johnnie Walker expression gets a new name, and tasting notes for three new Irish Whiskeys.


Links: Mitchell & Son | Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Nant Distillery | Australian Whisky Holdings | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Bulleit Bourbon | James E. Pepper Distillery | Sonoma County Distilling Co. | Johnnie Walker | Tyrconnell | Kavalan | WhistlePig Rye | Woodford Reserve | Buffalo Trace | Hooch Law | ScotchWhisky.com | 6Pod4 | Method And Madness Whiskey | Teeling Whiskey Co.

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Episode 632: March 12, 2017

Diageo Master Blender Maureen Robinson. Image courtesy Diageo. Whisky was historically thought of as a “man’s drink” – but today, not only are more women drinking whisky, but women make up around 40% of the Scotch Whisky industry’s work force. Diageo’s Maureen Robinson is one of the industry’s pioneering women, and is celebrating her 40th anniversary in the whisky business this month. She’s the first woman to hold the title of Master Blender in Scotland, and joins us for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll talk not only about the changes she’s seen over the last four decades, but the subtle art and science that goes into blending whiskies, too.

In the news, the fight for control of Australia’s Nant Distillery is getting uglier as Nant’s founders and its would-be buyer fire charges of mismanagement and more at each other. The UK’s government is raising taxes on domestic whisky and spirits sales this week in a move that caught the Scotch Whisky Association and other drinks industry groups by surprise, and the global boom in Irish Whiskey sales is leading to more expansion plans at Bushmills. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and tasting notes for whiskies from Balblair, Woodford Reserve, and Ardbeg.


Links: Classic Malts | Nant Distillery | Australian Whisky Holdings | Scotch Whisky Association | Port of Leith Distillery | Bushmills | Connacht Whiskey Company | Blood Oath Bourbon | Ardbeg | Tomatin | BBC News | The Scottish Sun | Harlem Whiskey Renaissance | Balblair | Woodford Reserve

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Episode 631: March 5, 2017

Ardbeg Distillery in Scotland. Photo ©2011, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Mickey Heads grew up about three miles from Islay’s Ardbeg Distillery, but the third-generation whisky maker never thought he’d wind up as the manager at Ardbeg. This week, he’s celebrating his tenth anniversary as Ardbeg’s manager and joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also hear from Isabel Graham-Youll of Whisky.Auction, who helped police in London catch an alleged counterfeiter specializing in antique whiskies after spotting fakes the suspect tried to sell through her company’s online auction site.

There’s plenty of news to report this week, including an update on the dispute over the future of Australia’s Nant Distillery and hundreds of barrels of whisky owned by investors. We’ll also update the progress of the new Slane Distillery in Ireland, meet some of the winners of Whisky Magazine’s U.S. Icons of Whisky Awards, and catch up with Jane Maher of Tullamore D.E.W. as she nears the end of a cross-country bus tour across the United States.


Links: Ardbeg | Whisky.Auction | Nant Whisky | Australian Whisky Holdings | Scotch Whisky Association | Ardgowan Distillery | Slane Irish Whiskey | Bulleit Bourbon | Barrell Bourbon | Lux Row Distillers | Icons of Whisky Awards | Whisky Magazine | Sons of Liberty Spirits | Jack Daniel’s | Laphroaig | Alexander Murray & Co. | Glenturret | Limestone Branch | Tullamore D.E.W. | Golan Heights Distillery | Westland Distillery

 

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Episode 630: February 26, 2017

Midleton Distillery apprentice cooper Killian O'Mahony and Master Cooper Ger Buckley. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media. This week, we’re in Ireland for the debut of the new Method And Madness range of Irish Whiskies from Irish Distillers. The name comes from the collaboration between Midleton’s veteran masters and their apprentices, and it gives us a chance to catch up on Killian O’Mahony’s story. In September of 2013, we first met Killian shortly after he became Ireland’s first apprentice cooper in decades under the tutelage of Midleton Master Cooper Ger Buckley. Nearly four years later, his training is nearly complete, and we’ll hear from both apprentice and master on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Scotch Whisky exports rose in 2016 after three years of declines, with single malt exports reaching an all-time record. One of Scotland’s largest trade unions is worried about the future of those exports after Brexit, and is demanding the British government protect the whisky industry’s jobs after the UK leaves the European Union. We’ll also have a sneak preview of the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, which is about to reopen after months of renovation with a new focus…and a new name.


Links: Method And Madness Whiskey | BenRiach | Brown-Forman | GMB ScotlandHerald Scotland | Old Rip Van Winkle | Jameson Distillery Bow Street | Irish Whiskey Magazine | The Cask Magazine | The Irish Whiskey Collection at Dublin Airport

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Episode 629: February 19, 2017

Cooper River Distillers founder James Yoakum. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Camden, New Jersey has a long manufacturing heritage dating back decades, but the city’s glory days ended decades ago – leaving behind empty buildings, crime, and many other problems. James Yoakum is one of the entrepreneurs trying to bring back some of that faded glory with Cooper River Distillers in the heart of downtown Camden. He’s been making whiskies and rums for the last couple of years, and stopped by our studio the other day with a sample of his first batch of Cooper River Bourbon. The Kentucky native tells us why he gave up on the real estate business to open an urban microdistillery on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

The whisky world lost two of its leaders this week, and we’ll honor the legacies of Silvano Samaroli and Dr. Jim Swan. While we never had the chance to interview Silvano Samaroli, Jim Swan was a frequent guest on WhiskyCast, and we’ll listen to part of a 2007 interview with him in the news. We’ll also have details on master blender Rachel Barrie’s decision to leave Beam Suntory to join BenRiach as its lead whisky maker, along with details on what the new trade deal between Canada and the European Union means for whisky lovers.


Links: Cooper River Distillers | Welsh Whisky Company | King Car Distillery | Kilchoman | Samaroli | The BenRiach Distillery Company | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Canadian Club | Beam Suntory | Corby | Scotch Whisky Association | Wild Turkey | Evan Williams | Teeling Whiskey Company | Wemyss Malts | American Craft Spirits Association | The ScotsmanSonoma County Distilling Company | Tuckahoe Brewing CompanyScotch Test Dummies | Buffalo Trace Antique Collection

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Episode 628: February 12, 2017

Whiskies on the shelf at a Scottish pub. Photo ©2016, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This week, we’ll be talking about money and politics along with whisky, and of course, there are connections between all three. With the world’s attention focused on the transition to the Trump Administration in the U.S., the spirits industry is hoping to benefit from what it sees as a pro-business atmosphere in Washington. We’ll discuss the political climate with Distilled Spirits Council CEO Kraig Naasz, and we’ll get Wall Street’s perspective with David Bolton of Spirited Funds and Alex Gordon of ETF Managers Group. They’re behind a new exchange-traded fund that gives investors the ability to buy into the global whisky industry on the stock market.

In the news, Beam Suntory plans to close its Canadian Club brand home in Windsor, Ontario next month, and the city’s mayor will meet with company executives in Chicago this week to make the case for keeping it open. Bourbon has become Kentucky’s fastest-growing industry, with an $8.5 billion economic impact on the state’s economy each year…while the wider U.S. spirits industry also showed significant growth in 2016. We’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies, and this week’s tasting notes include single malts from Scotland, India, and Ireland!


Links: Distilled Spirits Council | Spirited Funds | Canadian Club | Beam Suntory | Kentucky Distillers Association | University of Louisville Urban Studies Institute | Scotch Whisky Association | Scottish Craft Distillers Association | Teeling Whiskey Company | Jameson | Douglas Laing & Co. | Loch Lomond | R&B Distillers | Michter’s | Paul John | Glenfiddich

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Episode 627: February 5, 2017

Stewart Laing, Jim McEwan, Andrew Laing, and Scott Laing of Hunter Laing & Co. Photo by Ralph Dunning courtesy Hunter Laing & Co. It’s hard for some people to retire. Jim McEwan says he was pacing around his home on Islay “like a tiger” after retiring from Bruichladdich a year and a half ago…so when Stewart Laing offered him the chance to help build his family’s new Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay from the ground up, Jim pounced on the offer. Stewart and his sons recently broke ground on the Hunter Laing & Co.-owned distillery overlooking Port Askaig, with plans to start distilling whisky next year. Jim shares the reasons behind his decision with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also get some historical perspective from Irish Whiskey historian Fionnán O’Connor on Diageo’s plans to revive the legendary Roe & Co. whiskey brand and build a new distillery at its Guinness St. James’s Gate complex in Dublin. In the news, Distell plans to spend the next two years reworking its Tobermory Distillery and single malt brand, while another distillery project has been approved in Northern Ireland…and we’ll also take a look at the week’s new whiskies.


Links: Ardnahoe Distillery | Roe & Co. | Tobermory | The Quiet Man | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Four Roses | Constellation Brands | Glenmorangie | Laphroaig | The Macallan | Wyoming Whiskey | Cask & Crew | High West | Elijah Craig | Girl Scouts of the USA | Lagavulin 1991 Charity Bottling | Lohin McKinnon

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Episode 626: January 29, 2017

Marcio Ramos speaks with whisky fans at the Victoria Whisky Festival January 21, 2017. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.Marcio Ramos started his whisky journey as a bartender in his hometown of Lisbon, Portugal…but thought he’d left the whisky business behind when he moved to Canada a couple of years ago. That didn’t last long, as he wound up becoming Beam Suntory’s Canadian brand ambassador for Bowmore, Laphroaig, and Suntory’s whiskies. Now, he spends his time traveling all over Canada, expanding his horizons and those of the people who attend his tastings. He’ll share his story with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we’ll catch up on new Kentucky Bourbons with a vintage heritage, the tourism boom along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a distillery project in England that’s being criticized by neighbors as “too Scottish,” and the announcement Bourbon and ice cream lovers have been waiting for from Ben & Jerry’s.


Links: Bowmore | Campari America | Woodford Reserve | JustDrinks.com | Diageo | ROK Drinks | Bladnoch | Johnnie Walker | Lagavulin | Bruichladdich | Kentucky Bourbon Trail | Barrell Bourbon | BBC News | Scotch Whisky Association | Distilled Spirits Council | Ben & Jerry’s | Victoria Whisky Festival | The Macallan | Wayne Gretzky Estates 

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Episode 625: January 22, 2017

The Balvenie's Sam Simmons pours a sample of peated Balvenie single malt January 21, 2017. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.This week, we’re on location at the Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia! We’ll discuss a new range of premium Canadian whiskies coming this fall from the Hiram Walker Distillery with master blender Dr. Don Livermore, and sit down for a dram with veteran whisky writer Dave Broom to solve some of the whisky world’s problems. In the news, there’s a new Canadian Whisky of the Year, as Masterson’s 10 Batch PSA-3 takes top honors at the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards. We’ll have the details, along with news of another expansion at Ireland’s Midleton Distillery and a rare sighting of a “unicorn” whisky – believe it or not…a peated Balvenie!


Links: Victoria Whisky Festival | Hiram Walker Distillery | Scotch Whisky.com | Canadian Whisky Awards | Masterson’s | Still Waters Distillery | Forty Creek | Bowmore | Irish Distillers | Rémy Cointreau | Edrington | The Balvenie

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Episode 624: January 15, 2017

A bottle of Buffalo Trace's O.F.C. Vintage 1982 Bourbon being placed in its presentation box. Image courtesy Buffalo Trace.This week, we’ll tell you about two upcoming opportunities to taste rare whiskies in Scotland and Kentucky. David Faughn and Brian Shemwell will have the story behind a collaboration of several Bourbon clubs in Kentucky and Tennessee to organize the “Rare Bourbon for Rare Disease” charity tasting event on February 25 at Louisville’s Haymarket Whiskey Bar. David’s young daughter suffers from a rare genetic disorder, and his NUBPL Foundation received a bottle of Buffalo Trace’s new O.F.C. Vintage Series Bourbon to use for fundraising. Brian heads up the Paducah Bourbon Society, and brought the Bourbon clubs together for the event. We’ll also get details from Angus MacRaild on The Whisky Show: Old & Rare February 18 and 19 in Glasgow, which is being billed as the “whisky bar of a lifetime” with a chance to taste rare and vintage whiskies.

In the news, we’ll honor the legacy of Heaven Hill’s Parker Beam, who lost his four-year-long battle with ALS this week. We’ll also have news of new whiskies, update our story on Ben and Jerry’s plans for a new Bourbon-flavored ice cream that’s being welcomed along Louisville’s Urban Bourbon Trail, and look at a uniquely Scottish whisky cocktail to be served in Edinburgh on Burns Night January 25.


Links: The Whisky Show: Old & Rare | Rare Bourbon for Rare Disease | NUBPL Foundation | Heaven Hill | Parker Beam’s Promise of Hope FundUrban Bourbon Trail | Ben & Jerry’s McTear’s | Ezra Brooks | Dad’s Hat | Wyoming Whiskey | Joseph A. Magnus | The Dalmore | Master of Malt | The Bon Vivant | Glenmorangie | High West | Inchmurrin

 

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