WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 15th 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”.
Nicole Austin can be excused for walking on Cloud 9 the other night at Whisky Advocate’s WhiskyFest in New York City. The George Dickel master distiller had just received the magazine’s Whiskey of the Year award for her George Dickel Bottled in Bond Tennessee Whiskey the day before. We’ll have her reaction and other highlights from the evening on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the threat of U.S. tariffs on more European whiskies is back. Trump Administration officials are looking at raising the tariffs already in effect on single malts from Scotland and Northern Ireland, while Congress has less than a month to extend the tax break small-scale distillers have been pushing for over the last two years.
Links: WhiskyFest | Old Elk | Stranahan’s | Blackened American Whiskey | Heaven Hill | Scotch Malt Whisky Society Canadian Chapter | George Dickel | Sazerac | Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery | Bearface Canadian Whisky | J.P. Wiser’s | Compass Box | Buffalo Trace | Aberlour | Bourbon Salon | Jack Daniel’s
There’s an old saying that “form follows function.” It’s the idea that a building’s design should fit its intended purpose, and over the years, that’s been the way whisky distilleries were designed by architects like Charles Doig – who developed the pagoda-like chimney vents that are a sure clue you’re looking at a distillery in the distance. There’s a boom in distillery construction around Scotland, and architects are taking cues from the past while designing contemporary distilleries that could be around for the next 100 years or longer. Gareth Roberts is one of those architects, with credits that include Ardnamurchan, Lindores Abbey, and Dartmoor distilleries. We’ll talk with him on WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, we’ll have the details on this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition-winning whiskies, along with the rest of the week’s whisky news. We’ll also share some of the things you’re most thankful for during the holidays and answer some of your whisky questions on Behind the Label.
Links: Organic Architects | International Wine & Spirit Competition | Spirit of Speyside Festival | The Balvenie | Bowmore | BBC News | Starward | Jura | Teeling Whiskey Company | Eden Mill | Glengoyne | Glenmorangie | The Whisky Exchange | Daftmill | Royal Mile Whiskies | The Three Drinkers | Single Malt Society of Madison | Widow Jane | George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon | Cotswolds Distillery
This week, we’re in Fredericton, New Brunswick for the 24th annual New Brunswick Spirits Festival! We’ll talk with one of the leading lights in Canadian Whisky, Canadian Club’s Tish Harcus, on WhiskyCast In-Depth. She’s in her 32nd year at Canadian Club, and plays multiple roles for the brand from serving as its global ambassador to maintaining 161 years of CC archives and helping lead new product development. For instance, the new Chronicles 42-year-old whisky and the entire Chronicles series came from her insistence on finding a special home for some vintage barrels instead of just blending them away. She’s also been a role model and mentor for many of her colleagues industry-wide.
In the news, a short-term spending agreement in Washington this week headed off a government shutdown that could have caused problems for whisky makers, while there’s still no progress on extending a federal excise tax break for small-scale distillers that expires at midnight on New Year’s Eve. We’ll have details on the week’s new whisky releases, and on Behind the Label, we’ll find out how a small-town whisky bar went high-tech to help its customers pick their whiskies.
Links: New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Canadian Club | Rosebank Distillery | Tomatin | Alberta Premium | Booker’s Bourbon | Michter’s | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Barrell Craft Spirits | Gordon & MacPhail | Douglas Laing & Co. | Royal Salute | Ronald McDonald House Charities Raffle | Jura | Highland Park | Benromach | Baker’s Bourbon | The Lunar Rogue
Scotch whisky history was built on the backs of farmers who worked their fields three seasons of the year and spent the winters turning their grain into whisky. While distilling is a full-time job today for most distillers, Francis Cuthbert does things the old way at Daftmill Distillery in Fife. He and his brother Ian opened the distillery at the family’s Daftmill Farm in December of 2005, but Francis is a full-time farmer and only makes whisky when time allows. They waited 12 years before giving the world a taste of the single malt whisky distilled from their own farm’s barley, and have received rave reviews so far. Now, Daftmill’s single malt is coming to the U.S., and we’ll talk with Francis Cuthbert on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have details on a lawsuit over the word “Magnus,” the week’s tasting notes, and on Behind the Label, the back story behind an antique still at George Washington’s Distillery that dates back to Washington’s time!
Links: Daftmill Distillery | Kentucky Bourbon Festival | Uncle Nearest | Joseph A. Magnus & Co. | Highland Park | The Glenrothes | Laphroaig | Auchentoshan | Sagamore Spirit | The Amber Light Whisky | Jack Rose Dining Saloon | The Imperial | New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Victoria Whisky Festival | DramFest 2020 | Glengoyne | Adams Distillery | Rabbit Hole | The Strath | George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon
15 years ago, two Indian entrepreneurs took a few bottles of their single malt whisky to Glasgow, just to see if it would stand up to blind tastings by Scotch Whisky lovers. Rick Jagdale and Ashok Chokalingam survived those initial taste tests, and today, Amrut single malt whiskies can be found all over the world. Now, they’re in charge of Amrut’s future…Rick Jagdale as managing director and Ashok Chokalingam as the distillery manager. We’ll talk with Ashok on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also have highlights from this weekend’s George Washington Whisky Festival at Virginia’s Mount Vernon – where most of this episode was recorded. In the news, whisky and politics are still intertwined as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson pleaded with U.S. President Donald Trump to remove the new 25% import tariff on single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We’re also celebrating WhiskyCast’s 14th anniversary this week as Mark gets the tables turned on him!
Links: Amrut | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Egan’s | The Three Drinkers | Maker’s Mark | Widow Jane | Laphroaig | Mortlach Six Kingdoms | Lagavulin | The Drinks Business | Virginia Distillery Co. | The Whisky Exchange | Pabst Blue Ribbon Whiskey | Skalvenn Distillery | Firestone & Robertson | Terroir in Texas Whiskey Research
Want to start an argument among whisky lovers? Just ask whether there’s “terroir” in whisky. Terroir is the French term for a “sense of place” where the local environment plays a role in developing specific flavors. It’s a well-known concept among farmers, and winemakers have been claiming a place for terroir for years. However, terroir is still a point of contention among whisky makers, with critics making the argument that grain suppliers use so many different farms that there’s no way to have terroir in whisky – short of isolating the grain from individual farms as Waterford, Kilchoman, and Bruichladdich have done.
During the Julio’s Liquors Whisk(e)y Road Show this weekend in Westborough, Massachusetts, the topic of terroir came up during a panel of American Single Malt distillers. You’ll hear their debate on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also announce November’s Whisky Club of the Month, hear from some of you on the single malt whisky tariff, and dig deeply into Tennessee’s Lincoln County Process on Behind the Label.
Links: Julio’s Liquors | American Single Malt Whiskey Commission | Kentucky Distillers Association | Revolution Spirits | Catoctin Creek Distilling | Fets Whisky Kitchen | GlenDronach | Aberfeldy | Hunter Laing & Co. | Balcones Distilling | O.F.C. Vintages | Westland Distillery | Virginia Distillery Co. | Tuthilltown Spirits | Westward Whiskey | Santa Fe Spirits | Lagavulin | Jack Daniel’s | George Dickel
Alex Chasko isn’t your typical Irish Whiskey master distiller and blender. For one, he isn’t Irish. He grew up in Portland, Oregon and found his way to Ireland by falling in love – not with Irish Whiskey, but with the Irish-born woman who became his wife.
Alex started out at Cooley Distillery, and when the Teeling family sold it to Beam Suntory at the end of 2011, he moved on with Jack and Stephen Teeling to start the Teeling Whiskey Company in Dublin. Four years after they fired up the stills for the first time in their Newmarket Square distillery, Teeling Pot Still Whiskey is on the market in Ireland and will soon be available in the United States, while one of their 24-year-old single casks won the World Whiskies Award for “Best Single Malt Whiskey” earlier this year.
Even though his last name isn’t Teeling, he’s become part of the family…as you’ll hear on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have details on this week’s record-shattering whisky auction in London and the rest of the week’s whisky news, along with some ghost stories to get you in the mood for Halloween!
Links: Teeling Whiskey Company | Sotheby’s | The Macallan | Whisky.Auction | Bonhams | ScotchWhiskyAuctions.com | Douglas Laing & Co. | Strathearn Distillery | The Balvenie | WhistlePig Rye | The Glenlivet | Paul John Whisky | Aberfeldy | Tomatin | Templeton Rye | The Dead Rabbit | Glen Moray | Johnnie Walker | George Dickel | Elijah Craig | Jim Beam | Old Pulteney | Glen Grant | The Glenrothes
There’s a lot of uncertainty for U.S. whisky lovers after the Trump Administration’s new 25% tariff on imports of single malt whiskies from Scotland and Northern Ireland took effect Friday. The only certain thing is that prices for many single malts will rise, depending on whether – or when – whisky makers, importers and retailers decide to absorb the cost of the tariff or pass it along to consumers. One of Islay’s smallest distilleries chose to beat the tariff deadline by shipping extra inventory to its U.S. importer by air freight, and Kilchoman Distillery managing director Anthony Wills also plans to eat the cost of the tariff to protect his brand’s market share. We’ll talk with him as part of our complete coverage of the tariff story…from the impact on distillers to what happens when you come home from a trip to Scotland and are greeted by a Customs agent.
In the news, police in Scotland are looking for the thieves who stole £100,000 worth of whisky from a Chivas Brothers facility, while rare whisky collectors are gearing up for a special Sotheby’s auction this week in London. There are plenty of new whiskies to talk about, too…and we’ll have all the details on this week’s WhiskyCast!
Links: Kilchoman Distillery | Distilled Spirits Council | Scotch Whisky Association | The Independent | Sotheby’s | Gordon & MacPhail | Aberfeldy | Craigellachie | Classic Malts | Chivas Regal | Woodford Reserve | Buffalo Trace | Angel’s Envy | Elijah Craig | Jack Daniel’s | Irish Whiskey Awards | Jim Beam Airbnb | Glenmorangie | Teeling Whiskey Company | U.S. Customs & Border Protection
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. The four small batch bottlings will be available at select Massachusetts and California retailers – and they’ll all 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
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