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”.

A Nest Full of New Redbreasts (Episode 788: October 13, 2019)

The United States is the largest market for Irish Whiskey worldwide, but until now, one of Ireland’s legendary whiskeys had never released a special edition just for the American market. Now, a handful of retailers in Massachusetts and California will be getting their own bottlings of Redbreast, Four small batch bottlings will be available in Massachusetts, while eight California retailers will get them – and all twelve retailers will likely be besieged by calls from people around the U.S. hoping to snag a bottle. Master Blender Billy Leighton and apprentice David McCabe unveiled the new whiskies the other night in Boston, and you’ll hear our conversation on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, the Trump Administration’s 25% tariff on imports of single malts from Scotland and Northern Ireland is scheduled to go into effect Friday, and Scotch Whisky industry leaders fear it could do “irreparable damage” to the whisky industry. We’ll have complete coverage of the tariff and its potential impacts, and you’ll hear from Wales’ leading distiller – Penderyn’s Stephen Davies isn’t quite sure how U.S. Customs agents will respond when his current shipment of Welsh single malts reaches port after the tariff takes effect. We’ll also have details on new whiskies from Bruichladdich, Teeling, The Macallan, and more!

Links: Redbreast | Federal Register | Penderyn | Pappy Van Winkle | Bruichladdich | English Whisky Company | FEW Spirits | Teeling Whiskey Company | The Macallan | Legent Bourbon | The Glenrothes | Distillery 291 | Clonakilty Distillery | George Washington Whiskey Festival at Mount Vernon | Heaven Hill | Tate & Company | Old Pulteney | Glenmorangie | Los Angeles Review of Books

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Tariffs, Tide Pods, and a Bootlegger’s Troubled Life (Episode 787: October 6, 2019)

George Remus could never have conceived of the idea of edible “whisky capsules,” but if he had, the “King of the Bootleggers” would have figured out a way to make money from it. Remus made – and lost – a fortune during Prohibition, spent time in prison, shot his second wife to death, and managed to successfully convince a jury to acquit him by reason of insanity. This real-life Gatsby is the subject of author Karen Abbott’s new book, “The Ghosts of Eden Park,” and it may well be the definitive telling of the George Remus story. Karen Abbott joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also have tasting notes for one of the modern Bourbons named for Remus.

There’s a lot to talk about in the news, as the U.S. plans to impose a 25% tariff on imports of single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland later this month as part of a 15-year-long trade dispute with Europe. We’ll have reaction from both sides of the Atlantic and explain just what’s being targeted, what’s not…and why. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and get to the bottom of the story behind The Glenlivet’s controversial “whisky capsules” unveiled at London Cocktail Week.

Editor’s note: This episode includes content that may not be suitable for all audiences. 

Links: KarenAbbott.net | George Remus Bourbon | Office of the U.S. Trade Representative | Scotch Whisky Association | Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Penderyn | Sazerac House | Bruichladdich | Glenmorangie | Auchentoshan | Ardbeg | Highland Park | Johnnie Walker | The Walking Dead Whiskey | Booker’s | The Macallan | The Glenlivet

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Whisky As a Political Football (Episode 786: September 29, 2019)

Whisky has been a part of politics since the monks were working their stills in medieval times, helping opposing sides bridge their differences over a shared dram. It’s also been a political football, too – from the Prohibition Era to the trade disputes making headlines today. Chris Swonger has been in the middle of a political hurricane in the 10 months since he became CEO and president of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. He’s facing trade conflicts, the potential impact from Brexit, and even disagreements over pending deregulatory action in Washington. We’ll talk about all of these issues and more with Chris Swonger on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Kentucky firefighters kept a brush fire from becoming a disaster Friday after it came within 100 yards of warehouses full of Heaven Hill and Maker’s Mark bourbons. An Irish whiskey maker wants to make filmmaker Martin Scorsese an offer he shouldn’t refuse, and we’ll have details on the week’s new whiskies.

Links: Distilled Spirits Council of the United States | Heaven Hill | Maker’s Mark | Tax Free World Association | The Last Drop | Benromach | The Balvenie | Highland Park | Wyoming Whiskey | Kentucky Owl | J.P. Wiser’s | The Walking Dead Bourbon | The Irishman | Old Pulteney | Ardbeg | Royal Salute | Keepers of the Quaich

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A New Job…and a New Way to Spell “Whiskey” (Episode 785: September 22, 2019)

Graham Coull grew up in Speyside spelling “whisky” without the “e” – as any proper Scot would. It didn’t help him get his first job in the Scotch Whisky industry at Glenfiddich, nor did it help him get his current job 14 years ago as the manager at Glen Moray. Next month, he’ll be leaving Elgin for Ireland’s Atlantic coast to become the manager at Dingle Distillery – and it’ll mean learning not only new styles of making whiskey…but a new way of spelling it! We’ll talk with Graham on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, a last-minute deal has headed off a strike by Diageo workers in Scotland, while the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame welcomed its Class of 2019 this week. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and a special collaboration between a Colombian Rum distiller and a Kentucky Bourbon blender.

Links: Glen Moray | Dingle | Diageo | Unite | GMB | Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Buffalo Trace | 1792 Barton | Dictador Rum | Glenfiddich | Glasgow Distillery | Ardbeg | The Macallan | Littlemill | The Whisky Exchange | The Three Drinkers | Cream of Kentucky | Rock Town Distillery | Westland Distillery 

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From Hockey’s Hall of Fame to a Whiskey Rookie (Episode 784: September 15, 2019)

Ed Belfour has every honor a hockey player could dream of, including a Stanley Cup, an Olympic gold medal, and the ultimate: being named to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He could have chosen to do anything in his retirement, but decided to make whiskey with his family. Instead of just slapping the Belfour name on a bunch of sourced casks, he and his son Dayn spent five years learning the business from the grain up before bottling their first whiskies. Those whiskies will make their debut later this month in the Dallas area, where Belfour backstopped the Dallas Stars to their only Stanley Cup in 1999. We’ll find out why Ed Belfour decided to get into the whiskey business the hard way on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Diageo and its Scottish labor unions will try one final time Monday to work out a new contract before workers begin a series of rolling strikes on Tuesday. In Kentucky, the Bourbon calendar will be even more crowded than usual a year from now when the Kentucky Bourbon Affair moves to September in a partnership with the promoters of Bourbon & Beyond in Louisville – even though it could lead to conflicts with the Kentucky Bourbon Festival. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and on Behind the Label, we’ll find out how one distillery changed the flavor of its whisky by changing the wood in its barrels.

Links: Belfour Spirits | Diageo | Unite | GMB | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Willett | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Lux Row Distillers | Milam & Greene | The Macallan | Dekantā | Kilchoman | Dewar’s | Wild Turkey | Talnua Distillery | Maker’s Mark

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Changes Coming to the Kentucky Bourbon Festival (Episode 783: September 9, 2019)

The Kentucky Bourbon Festival gets underway next week in Bardstown, and while the annual event still draws whiskey lovers from all over the U.S. and the world, there’s been a lot of calls for change in recent years. Some of those changes are coming this year, while more will await the hiring of a new executive director later this year. Bardstown-Nelson County Tourism Commission executive director Mike Mangeot agreed to serve as the festival’s director on an interim basis this year, and joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss this year’s event and the long-term future.

We’re in Louisville this time around for the inaugural induction of members into the Order of the Writ, and will have the latest on the impact of trade tariffs on distillers in the news. We’ll also update the future for Isle of Arran Distillers and its brands now that the Pernod Ricard-Castle Brands deal is leaving Arran without a U.S. importer.

Links: Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Michter’s | Arran | Dekantā | The Whisky Exchange | Sassenach Spirits | Johnnie Walker | Method & Madness | Highland Park | Aerstone | Glenfiddich | Order of the Writ | Heaven Hill | Wild Turkey | WhistlePig Rye | Sagamore Spirit | Frazier History Museum

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Australian Whiskies and the “Roo Flu” (Episode 782: September 1, 2019)

We’re back after spending eight days in Australia and a week in bed fighting the “Roo Flu” virus, and there’s a lot to talk about! One of the biggest problems facing Australian whisky distillers has been their relative lack of ability to scale up production to meet demand, but that’s gradually beginning to change. Melbourne’s Starward Distillery moved to a new building in 2016, and that allowed founder David Vitale the ability to triple production with room for future expansion. In Sydney, Archie Rose Distilling has outgrown its original site after five years, and construction is almost complete on a massive new distillery in Port Bombay that will take production from 120,000 liters per year to three million liters. We’ll tour both distilleries on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Pernod Ricard’s expansion spree continues with a $223 million deal for Jefferson’s Bourbon owner Castle Brands – and a new $140 million malt whisky distillery in China! Trade issues are starting to show a serious impact on the whisky business worldwide, and a Virginia distillery has settled a lawsuit filed by the Scotch Whisky Association over its use of the word “Highland.” On Behind the Label, we’ll answer the burning question: “just how little maturation time can an American whiskey get away with?” Here’s a hint…it probably took you longer to read this!

Editor’s note: This episode was produced following a press trip organized by Starward Whisky. However, as with all of our content, full control over the content of this episode remains with WhiskyCast.

Links: Starward Whisky | Archie Rose Distilling | Pernod Ricard | Castle Brands | Isle of Arran | Brown-Forman | Scotch Whisky Association | Virginia Distillery Company | Adams Distillery | Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey

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Whiskies From a Land Down Under (Episode 781: August 19, 2019)

This time around, we’re in Australia as Tasmania’s distillers wrap up the third annual Tasmanian Whisky Week. It’s been 27 years since the first legal still started producing Tasmanian single malt whisky at the original Lark Distillery, and today, there are nearly 50 distilleries in Australia’s island state. We’ll meet some of them and tour the award-winning Sullivan’s Cove Distillery on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also talk to some Australian whisky lovers on Your Voice. In the news, Heaven Hill is expanding into Canadian Whisky with a $266 million deal for Black Velvet and its distillery in Alberta, while Ireland’s Conor McGregor is likely to face assault charges for punching a Dublin bar patron who didn’t want to taste his Proper Twelve whiskey.

Links: Tasmanian Whisky Week | Lark Distillery | Hellyers Road | Sullivan’s Cove | Heaven Hill | Black Velvet | Proper No. Twelve | Diageo | Bulleit | Lexington Herald-Leader | The Spirits Business | Iron House Distillery | Overeem Distillery | Whisky Waffle

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The Back Stories Behind Picking Private Barrels (Episode 780: August 11, 2019)

“Private Selection” bottlings are the rage today, and it almost seems like an arms race as bars and retailers try to outdo each other with their exclusive bottlings. In fact, some whisky collectors now see the “Private Selection” market as the next big thing for so-called “investment grade” bottlings. During the latest Bourbon Salon at Louisville’s Oxmoor Farm, host Michael Veach brought together the owners and managers of several highly regarded Bourbon bars to discuss picking private barrels and other topics, and we’ll hear some of the stories behind barrel selections from Joe Head of The Century in Dayton, Ohio, Margo McMillen of Bourbons Bistro, and Larry Rice of The Silver Dollar in Louisville.

In the news, Pernod Ricard is expanding its U.S. whiskey portfolio with its second distillery acquisition of the year, while Diageo’s plans to upgrade visitors centers at many of its distilleries in Scotland got another boost this week. There’s a lot of new whiskies to talk about, and a new Gallup Poll shows whisky and other distilled spirits are more popular than ever.

Links: The Bourbon Salon | The Century | Bourbons Bistro | The Silver Dollar | Oxmoor FarmFirestone & Robertson | Pernod Ricard | Suntory | Diageo | Kyrö Distillery | Wild Turkey | WhistlePig | Bruichladdich | Bowmore | Cù Bòcan | Michter’s | Buffalo Trace | The Gallup Poll | Old Forester | | Maker’s Mark | Uncle Nearest

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The Uncle Nearest Story: A Timeless Lesson for Modern Times (Episode 779: August 4, 2019)

If the story of Nathan “Nearest” Green and Jack Daniel was made into a movie, critics might describe it as “a feel-good story for the ages” or “a story from the past that’s still relevant today.” History shows “Nearest” Green was the enslaved distiller who not only perfected the “Lincoln County Process” for filtering Tennessee Whiskey, but also taught the young Jack Daniel how to make whiskey – then went to work with him after the Civil War ended and Green became a free man. Next month, Uncle Nearest Whiskey founder Fawn Weaver will open Phase 1 of the Uncle Nearest Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee to tell that story, and she’ll tell us about it on WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, the growing potential for a “no-deal” Brexit has Irish Whiskey makers on both sides of the border even more nervous than before. Investors were scared off this week by sluggish earnings for MGP Ingredients, and that raises a question about whether we’ve reached “Peak Bourbon.” We’ll also find out the back story behind the “Missouri Bourbon” law, and on Behind the Label, you’ll hear how one young distiller started his career with a bang.

Links: Uncle Nearest | Drinks Industry Group of Ireland | MGP Ingredients | Little Book | Gordon & MacPhail | Oban | Clonakilty Distillery | Teeling Whiskey Company | Jos. A. Magnus & Co. | Copper Mule Distillery | Jack Daniel’s | The Glenlivet | Kentucky Peerless Distilling

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