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”.

Celebrating the World’s Whiskies in Dublin (Episode 653: August 6, 2017)

A cash register from an old Irish pub. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Whiskies are celebrated at festivals all over the world these days, but there’s no place quite like Ireland when it comes to whisk(e)y. The inaugural Dublin Whiskey Festival kicks off this coming weekend with six days of tastings and events, and the organizers are planning to make it a nationwide event in 2018. John Burke is the festival’s founder and the publisher of The Cask magazine, and he’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth with some of the highlights of this year’s festival – and the upcoming issue of The Cask.

In the news, the owners of San Francisco’s Anchor Brewing & Distilling see their future in distilling, and are selling their brewery to Sapporo Holdings. British officials are pledging to reduce tariffs on Scotch Whisky exports post-Brexit, and a family disagreement in Bourbon Country has gone public.

Links: Dublin Whiskey Festival | The Cask | Anchor Distilling | Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits | Littlemill | Douglas Laing & Co. | Buffalo Trace | Bulleit | Podcast Awards | Glencadam | Cooper’s Choice

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All in the Whiskey Family (Episode 652: July 30, 2017)

Robert, Marcia, and Jonathan Likarish of Ironroot Republic Distillery in Texas. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

The Likarish family opened Ironroot Republic Distillery in Denison, Texas in 2013. Brothers Jonathan and Robert Likarish handle the distilling, while their mother Marcia serves as distillery manager. Even though they’ve only been open for four years, they’ve collaborated to make several award-winning whiskies, including the Texas Legation Bourbon for Berry Bros. & Rudd in London. We sat down for a chat in the tasting room at Reserve 101 in Houston for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Chivas Brothers workers in Scotland are preparing for a one-day strike next Monday after rejecting a second contract offer, while Douglas Laing & Co. has unveiled plans for a distillery of its own in Glasgow and Alltech’s Dr. Pearse Lyons has finally opened his new distillery in Dublin. We’ll have some of your whisky bucket list items and tasting notes for two Indian single malts, too!

Links: Ironroot Republic | Reserve 101 | Unite Scotland | Chivas Brothers | Scottish Government | Douglas Laing & Co. | Pearse Lyons Distillery | Heaven Hill | Scotch Whisky Association | Bulleit Bourbon | Redemption | The Dalmore | Loch Lomond | Joseph A. Magnus | The Scotsman | Time Series | Paul John


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Tales of a Retired Whisky Maker (Episode 651: July 23, 2017)

Retired whisky maker Jim Boyko in the tank room at Diageo's Crown Royal distillery in Gimli, Manitoba. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Jim Boyko’s career took him from the old Seagram’s distillery in Waterloo, Ontario to the Canadian prairie in Gimli, Manitoba, and eventually around the world for Diageo. Once he got to Gimli, though, he and his family made the tiny town on the shore of Lake Winnipeg their home. Now retired, he shows up at the home of Crown Royal to lead the occasional tour for distillery guests. He’ll share his stories with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, including the saddest day of his career when he was one of 210 Seagram’s employees suddenly put out of work when the Waterloo distillery closed in 1992.

In the news, there’s talk yet again of reviving whisky production at the old Dallas Dhu Distillery in Scotland, while another spirits company is investing in Irish Whiskey. Heaven Hill is about to wrap up yet another expansion of its Bernheim Distillery in Louisville, and has also unveiled this year’s special Parker’s Heritage Collection whiskey. We’ll also find out about next month’s Bourbon Women “Sip-osium” in Louisville and put four Texas whiskies to the test in this week’s tasting notes.

Links: Crown Royal | Dallas Dhu Historic Distillery | The Press and Journal | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Stock Spirits | Bardstown Bourbon Company | Heaven Hill | Glencadam | Tullibardine | Tomatin | Wood’s High Mountain Distillery | Westword | Bourbon Women | The Scotsman | Ranger Creek | Firestone & Robertson | Balcones Distilling

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I Spy a Bourbon (Episode 650: July 16, 2017)

Jeff Bridges as "Champ," the leader of Statesman in "Kingsman: The Golden Circle." Photo courtesy 20th Century Fox.

We’ve seen whisky and movie tie-ins before, but Old Forester’s new Statesman Bourbon is a bit different. It’s featured in the upcoming movie “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” with Jeff Bridges as the leader of Statesman, a secretive private espionage unit that just happens to make Bourbon in Kentucky and teams up with the London-based Kingsman to save the world. Old Forester President Campbell Brown and his team worked with director Matthew Vaughn during production, and Master Taster Jackie Zykan helped create Old Forester Statesman, which is featured in the film. Campbell Brown and Jackie Zykan join us for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth with Statesman’s origin story and updates on this year’s Birthday Bourbon and the new Old Forester Distillery under construction on Louisville’s Whiskey Row. We’ll also discuss whisky and Cognac with fifth-generation Cognac maker Cyril Camus, along with the challenges of selling Scotch Whisky and Bourbon in China.

In the news, Billy Walker is back in the distillery business after a deal to buy Scotland’s Glenallachie Distillery from Chivas Brothers, and that deal also means changes at the top of Inver House as managing director Graham Stevenson departs to join Billy Walker and former BenRiach veteran Trisha Savage as partners in the Glenallachie Consortium. Möet Hennessy is entering the American whiskey market for the first time with a deal to buy the Woodinville Whiskey Company in Washington, and we’ll have an exclusive interview with Woodinville co-founder Orlin Sorenson. We’ll also update the saga of Australia’s Nant Distillery, look at new whiskies from around the world, and debunk a myth that it’s illegal to take Scotch Whisky out of Scotland!

Links: Kingsman: The Golden Circle | Old Forester | Camus Cognac | Chivas Brothers | Inver House | Woodinville Whiskey Company | Möet Hennessy | Australian Whisky Holdings | Washington Post | Buffalo Trace | Jim Beam | Esquire | The Dalmore | Kilbeggan | A.H. Hirsch | English Whisky Company | Puni Distillery | Pittsburgh Tribune-Review | Reserve 101 | Rescued Pets Movement | Jack Ryan Whiskey | Single Cask Nation | Craigellachie

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The Best Way to Combine Whisky and the Solar Eclipse (Episode 649: July 9, 2017)

The Whisky Eclipse of 2017. Image ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.If you’re looking for an excuse to take off from work and watch the total solar eclipse that will cross North America on August 21, there’s no better place to observe it than at Kentucky’s MB Roland Distillery. That’s because Paul and Merry Beth Tomaszewski’s distillery just happens to be located in Christian County, Kentucky, and astronomers calculated years ago that the total eclipse will last longest over Christian County. The Tomaszewskis are already reserving campsites for eclipse watchers in the open fields surrounding the distillery, and are planning a weekend whiskey festival leading up to that Monday’s eclipse. Paul Tomaszewski joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to explain how they’ve been preparing for the eclipse for years and what to expect on August 21.

In the news, European Union leaders are considering Bourbon as a possible target in a growing trade dispute with the Trump Administration. Congress could vote this week on a 2018 Treasury Department budget that restores the administration’s proposed cuts in funding for the TTB, which oversees the whisky industry. We’ll also update the progress of Chip Tate’s new distillery under construction in Waco, Texas, and look at Distell’s plans to invest $14 million into renovations at Islay’s Bunnahabhain Distillery.

Links: MB Roland Distillery | Financial Times | Kentucky Distillers Association | Alcohol & Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau | Tate & Company | Bunnahabhain | The Dalmore | Canadian Club | Glen Moray | Auchentoshan | Celtic Renewables | Wyoming Whiskey | Westland Distillery | Lady of the Glen | High West

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Glencairn’s Whisky Glasses Shatter Expectations (Episode 648: July 2, 2017)

Glencairn glasses lined up for a tasting at Bruichladdich Distillery. Image ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

When Raymond Davidson and his sons started marketing the Glencairn Whisky Glass in 2001, they thought the target audience was whisky blenders and industry professionals, and never imagined much consumer demand. Last year, Glencairn Crystal sold more than three million of its iconic and often-copied whisky glasses worldwide – up 22 percent from the previous year. Scott Davidson is Glencairn Crystal’s managing director now, and joins us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Bacardi is entering the Irish Whiskey market with a deal to acquire a minority stake and U.S. distribution rights for Teeling Whiskey. Sweden’s Box Distillery is planning a major expansion, and a few bottles of the final cask of Black Bowmore 1964 are now available in the U.S. We’ll also welcome another new Brand Partner to WhiskyCast and announce the winner of our latest giveaway, too!

Links: Glencairn Crystal | Teeling Whiskey | Bacardi | Box Whisky | Ncn’ean Distillery | Baltimore Whiskey Company | Beam Suntory | Bowmore | Kingsbarns | Forty Creek | Crown Royal | Journeyman Distillery | The Balvenie | Blood Oath Bourbon | Kavalan


Celebrating Canada’s 150 Years Whisky Style (Episode 647: June 25, 2017)

Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary on July 1, 2017, and J.P. Wiser's has released a special commemorative bottling to mark the occasion.July 1 is Canada Day, and this year it’s even more of a holiday than usual. Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary this Saturday, and Hiram Walker Distillery master blender Dr. Don Livermore marked the occasion with a trip from coast to coast – and all the way from near the U.S. border to the Arctic Circle along the way. He led tastings of the new J.P. Wiser’s One Fifty Commemorative Series whisky at each stop, ending in St. John’s, Newfoundland. That’s where we caught up with him for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also look at the impact of the Trump Administration’s proposed 2018 federal budget on the whisky industry. That budget cuts funding for the key Treasury Department agency that regulates whisky and spirits distillers, and also eliminates funding for an Agriculture Department program that has helped boost U.S. whiskey exports worldwide.

In the news, the owners of Vermont’s WhistlePig Rye have confirmed reports that they’re considering offers to sell the distillery and its whiskey stocks in what master distiller Dave Pickerell describes as a “feeding frenzy” market for craft distillers. Chivas Brothers workers at the company’s main blending and bottling plant in Scotland have voted to go on strike after rejecting a contract offer, and the threat comes as Scotch Whisky exports during ther first three months of 2017 rose by ten percent over a year ago. We’ll also look at the week’s new whiskies and taste three Canadian whiskies, too!

Links: J.P. Wiser’s | Distilled Spirits CouncilWhistlePig | Chivas Brothers | Unite Scotland | Scotland Food & Drink | Spirits Europe | Hyde Whiskey | Arran | Royal Salute | The Whisky Exchange | Forty Creek | Balcones Distilling | Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery | Early Times | Reserve 101 | Crown Royal | Two Brewers

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A Tale of Texas Whiskey at Balcones (Episode 646: June 18, 2017)

The unique coiled Lyne arms at the top of the spirit stills at Balcones Distilling in Waco, Texas. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie, CaskStrength Media.

Last year, Balcones Distilling left behind its original distillery – hand-built in an old welding shop underneath the 17th Street bridge in Waco, Texas – and moved into a state-of-the art distillery a few blocks away. In fact, the new distillery’s boiler shed is about as big as the entire original distillery, and to replicate the original spirit stills on a much larger scale, Forsyth’s had to come up with a coiled lyne arm unlike anything ever used before. Jared Himstedt has been at Balcones since the beginning in 2008, and became head distiller after the controversial divorce between founder Chip Tate and his investors in 2014. We’ll sit down with Jared on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, Buffalo Trace’s move to patent a sour mash distilling process has left a sour taste in the mouths of some whisky makers, another Irish distillery is expanding, and there’s one more World Series keepsake for Chicago Cubs fans. We’ll also have details on the upcoming disappearance of two Old Pulteney expressions, answer a question about storing whiskies on their side, and welcome a new sponsor to WhiskyCast!

Links: Balcones Distilling | Buffalo Trace | Teeling Whiskey Company | Charbay | Old Pulteney | Woody Creek Distillers | Wood’s High Mountain Distillery | Bear Creek Distillery | State 38 Distillers | Jim Beam | Knob Creek | Heaven Hill | Wyoming Whiskey | Redemption Whiskey | Clyde May’s | The Balvenie | Label 5 | GlenDronach | Douglas Laing & Co. | The Glenturret | Elixir Distillers | Tipperary Distillery | Rozelieures

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Straight Shooting with Bulleit Bourbon’s Tom Bulleit (Episode 645: June 11, 2017)

Bulleit Bourbon founder Tom Bulleit photographed on June 6, 2017. Photo ©2017, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media.

Tom Bulleit wasn’t born into the Bourbon business, but even as a successful Kentucky lawyer, he knew there was something calling him to whiskey. He eventually tracked down his great-great-grandfather’s Civil War-era whiskey recipe, and in 1987, he launched Bulleit Bourbon. Thirty years later, Bulleit is viewed by many as an “overnight success,” and is the flagship of Diageo’s Bourbon portfolio. In March, Diageo opened the Bulleit Distilling Company distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky, and this past week introduced Bulleit Barrel Strength Bourbon in New York City. That’s where we sat down with Tom Bulleit for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, this week’s election surprise in Great Britain sent whisky stocks rising and the British pound falling, Irish officials want the European Union to consider a ban on alcohol advertising, and German scientists have come up with a new way to tell counterfeit whiskies from the real thing.

Links: Bulleit Bourbon | Brown-Forman | Rémy Cointreau | Diageo | Irish Times | Royal Salute | Craigellachie | Amrut | George Remus Bourbon | Rock Town Distillery | Laws Whiskey House | Barrell Bourbon | Science Magazine | Reserve 101 | Rescued Pets MovementCompass Box | Slane Irish Whiskey 

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Boom Days for Bourbon (Episode 644: June 4, 2017)

Bourbon barrels maturing in a warehouse at Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville, Kentucky. File photo ©2014, Mark Gillespie/CaskStrength Media. Bourbon’s growing global profile is at its highest in decades, and that’s good news in Kentucky. Even though Bourbon can be made anywhere in the US, Kentucky’s distillers still supply more than 90% of the world’s Bourbon. At a time when many of the Commonwealth’s industries are still recovering from the recession, the Bourbon industry has been one of Kentucky’s brightest stars. Carla Carlton’s new book “Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey” looks not only at the impact in Kentucky, but serves as a guide for those yet to explore the mysteries of Bourbon. In the news, Kentucky’s governor has signed new Bourbon legislation into law as the Commonwealth celebrates its 225th anniversary of statehood. We’ll look at the week’s new whiskies and listen as Elton John and Jack White sing a new song about whiskey, too!


Links: Barrel Strength Bourbon: The Explosive Growth of America’s Whiskey | The Bourbon Babe | 1792 Bourbon | Wilderness Trail Distillery | Westland Distillery | Douglas Laing & Co. | Tullibardine | The Sun | PBS American Epic Sessions | Reserve 101 | Islay Festival of Malt & Music | Kentucky Bourbon Affair | Four Roses | Number One Drinks Company | Ardbeg

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