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”.
The partial shutdown of the U.S. federal government is now the longest on record, and it is having an impact on the whisky business. Two whisky makers have whiskies ready to release in the U.S., but Jim Hough of Liberty Pole Spirits in Pennsylvania and Louise McGuane of Ireland’s Chapel Gate Whiskey Company are stuck because their federally mandated label approvals are being held in limbo until the shutdown ends. It’s a problem that is affecting a growing number of whisky makers, and we’ll have the story on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Islay’s newest distillery is days away from going into production, while Suntory is creating what may well be the first whisky blend spanning five countries for the Japanese market. The coming Lunar New Year is also bringing with it new whiskies, and a new study shows legalized cannabis sales may not be cannibalizing liquor sales as much as analysts feared.
Links: Liberty Pole Spirits | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Tax & Trade Bureau | Ardnahoe Distillery | The Lakes Distillery | Suntory | Chivas Regal | Dewar’s | Douglas Laing & Co. | Milk & Honey Distillery | Jameson | Distilled Spirits Council | Three Chord Bourbon | Westland Whiskey | Bunnahabhain
There are plenty of competitions to find the best whiskies, but what about competitions to find the best whisky tasters? Those are few and far between, but The Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off will give whisky lovers a chance to test their skills later this month in Lexington, Kentucky. The winner gets $2,000 in cash, a barrel head trophy, and most of all…bragging rights. Daniel Marlowe of Lexington’s Whiskey Bear bar is one of the organizers, and we’ll discuss the competition on WhiskyCast In-Depth. There’s also a discount code in the podcast if you’re thinking of entering the competition. In the news, Sazerac continues its acquisition binge as it ups its stake in India’s John Distilleries, while Diageo’s distillery expansion plans in Scotland are working their way through the approval process along with Islay’s latest distillery project. The New Year also brings a handful of new whiskies, and we’ll share some of your New Year’s drams on Your Voice.
Links: The 2019 Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off | Whiskey Bear | Sazerac | Diageo | East Lothian Council | Argyll & Bute Council | Speciality Drinks | Douglas Laing & Co. | Abhainn Dearg | Bain’s | NBC Sports Washington | Ohio Liquor Agency | Gordon & MacPhail | | Aberfeldy | The Balvenie | Little Book | Canadian Club
2018 may go down in whisky history as the “Year of the Collector” as whisky collecting became popular not only among connoisseurs, but with investors looking for that next big thing to make money on. The trouble is that some so-called “rare whiskies” are cleverly counterfeited fakes so good that even the experts can’t detect them without testing the liquid inside the bottle. A new report from the Scottish consulting firm Rare Whisky 101 suggests that there are likely millions of dollars worth of fake whiskies being traded on the secondary market worldwide. Professor Gordon Cook heads the radiocarbon dating lab at the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, and among the fakes he’s found for Rare Whisky 101 was a single malt claimed to be from the 1860’s that was actually distilled in 2005. He’ll explain the radiocarbon dating process to us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the partial shutdown of the U.S. government could start to affect whisky makers within days as 2019 begins, while the arrival of the New Year brings the nation’s toughest drunk driving law to one state. We’ll also look at Bruichladdich’s new “Islay: Badge or Provenance” campaign, and on Your Voice, we’ll share some of your picks for drams to send off 2018 and ring in 2019.
Links: Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre | Rare Whisky 101 | Tax & Trade Bureau | Michter’s | Death’s Door Spirits | Dancing Goat Distillery | Bruichladdich | The 2019 Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off | J.P. Wiser’s Alumni Whisky Series | Five Lions | Jack Daniel’s | Booker’s Bourbon
One sign of the Bourbon boom worldwide can be found in Great Britain, where the British Bourbon Society was founded in 2016 by six whisky lovers. As 2018 comes to a close, the Society’s membership now stands at 2,000 and growing. We’ll talk with two of the founders, Ed Rosie and Andrew Watson, on WhiskyCast In-Depth to find out why Bourbon and other American whiskies are becoming so popular in Great Britain even as recent import tariffs make them more expensive. In the news, Edrington has found a buyer for its Glenturret Distillery in Scotland, while Ian Macleod Distillers is waiting for final approval to start construction work on the revival of Rosebank Distillery. Ireland’s national planning board has overruled local objections to a planned maturation warehouse complex in County Westmeath, and we’ll hear from a U.S. cooperage owner who’s not pleased with the federal government’s proposed definition for whisky barrels.
Links: British Bourbon Society | Edrington | Glenturret | Diageo | Johnnie Walker | Rosebank Distillery | Vault Whiskey Store | Tax & Trade Bureau | The Barrel Mill | Arbikie Distillery | Cream of Kentucky Bourbon | Tomatin | Highland Whisky Festival | Uncle Nearest | Angel’s Envy | Lot 40 | Old Pulteney | Rare Whisky 101 | Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
While some entrepreneurs are trying to cash in on the Bourbon boom by starting new whiskey brands, others are looking to history for heritage brands that built a history but faded away over the years. That’s the approach Manti Antilla of Grain and Barrel Spirits took, and it led him to Chicken Cock, a brand with a unique name and a century’s worth of history to build on. He’s now working with Kentucky’s Bardstown Bourbon Company to lay down stocks for future Chicken Cock whiskies, while releasing four bottlings over the last year using whiskies sourced from another distillery. We’ll talk with him about the work involved in reviving a heritage brand on WhiskyCast In-Depth and taste the Chicken Cock 10-Year-Old Double Barrel Bourbon. In the news, Diageo plans to invest $130 million to build another new distillery in Kentucky, while American Single Malt supporters are disappointed that their proposal for an official standard didn’t make it into proposed changes in federal regulations. We’ll also talk with Fred Noe about the new 30th Anniversary edition of Booker’s Bourbon and the arrival of a new “Baby Booker” just in time for the holidays.
Links: Chicken Cock Whiskey | Diageo | American Single Malt Whiskey Commission | Pernod Ricard | Elliott Management | Glengoyne | Booker’s Bourbon | The Macallan | Ballantine’s | Three Chord Bourbon | Kings County Distillery | Liberty Pole Spirits | Bushmills | Tullibardine | Single Cask Nation | Douglas Laing & Co. | Christie’s | Uncle Nearest | British Bourbon Society | Inchmoan | Holy Dram IL | Amrut | Single Malt Amateurs Club India
Irish Whiskey continues to be one of the fastest-growing segments of the whisky business around the world, but the distilleries in Ireland and Northern Ireland have had their share of ups and downs this year. Walsh Whiskey Company founder Bernard Walsh is a former chairman of the Irish Whiskey Association, and on WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll talk with him about the boom in new distilleries and challenges presented by Brexit and Ireland’s controversial new public health legislation. In the news, we’ll have details on another executive change in Scotland, while a former consultant now finds herself running the distillery she was hired to consult for. We’ll also have details on a breakup that will affect whisky festivals during 2019 in many major U.S. cities, along with a court hearing that could send former Indian whisky baron Vijay Mallya back home to face fraud and money laundering charges. On Behind the Label, we’ll find out what happened when a whisky lover won a contest to help create this year’s Forty Creek Unity whisky, and we’ll have tasting notes for it, too!
Links: Walsh Whiskey Company | Edrington | Widow Jane | Whiskey & Barrel Nite | Whisky Live | Whisky Magazine | The Drinks Business | Old Charter Oak | Wild Turkey | Basil Hayden’s | Virginia Distillery Company | Benromach | Label 5 | Forty Creek | Brenne Whisky | Dingle | Heaven’s Door | Washington Post | Glenmorangie
Whisky Advocate’s annual WhiskyFest took over the Marriott Marquis in New York City’s Times Square Tuesday night, and we’ll have some of the highlights along with the sadness. There was a pall in one corner the ballroom as whisky lovers mourned the death of master distiller Dave Pickerell last month along with teams from several of the whiskies he helped create during his long career. We’ll talk with one of Dave’s protegés, Hillrock Estate’s Dylan Strang, about the distillery’s plans to move forward using the lessons he and his colleagues learned from their friend and mentor. In our Behind the Label segment, we’ll have an interview you can only hear on WhiskyCast as we talk with artist Michael Dillon, the painter who created the one-of-a-kind label for the 1926 Macallan that shattered the world record for a whisky auction last week in London. In the news, we’ll have the details of the U.S. Treasury Department’s plan to rewrite federal alcohol regulations for the first time in more than three decades – and some of the agency’s proposals have craft distillers nervous.
Links: Tax & Trade Bureau | Balcones Distilling | Brown-Forman | J.W. Rutledge Distillery | Compass Box | Gordon & MacPhail | Glenfarclas | Bruichladdich | Eden Mill | WhiskyFest | Hillrock Estate | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Stranahan’s | Hotel Tango Distillery | Douglas Laing & Co. | Michael Dillon Murals
Neil Giraldo is one of music’s “hit makers.” As a musician and producer, he’s worked with some of rock music’s legendary performers to create the soundtrack to our lives since the late 70’s. While he’s not the first musician to create a whiskey brand, he comes to the whiskey business with more than just a name. He helped his grandfather distill whiskey and grappa as a young boy growing up in Cleveland, and tells us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth that there’s a lot in common between producing a hit song and blending a hit whiskey. We’ll also have the story of a new world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky, along with new ownership for Cutty Sark, the week’s new whiskies, and much more.
Links: Three Chord Bourbon | Christie’s | The Macallan | Whisky.Auction | Cutty Sark | Dry Fly Distilling | Distilled Spirits Council | Orphan Barrel | Cask 88 | Glen Moray | ImpEx | Woodford Reserve | Templeton Rye | Johnnie Walker | Old Rip Van Winkle | Clonakilty Distillery | Anchorage Daily News | Dylan Whiskey Bar
Ireland’s Power family dominated the Irish Whiskey industry almost from the day innkeeper James Power started making whiskey behind his inn on Dublin’s Thomas Street in 1791 until his descendants merged their company with the Jamesons and Cork’s Murphy family in 1965 to create Irish Distillers. Powers remains one of Ireland’s best-selling whiskies to this day, and is gradually being reintroduced to the world – while its history is being reintroduced to Dubliners through the Powers Quarter. It’s a network of pubs around the family’s old Johns Lane Distillery, which is now home to Ireland’s National College of Art & Design. We’ll look at that history and the Powers Quarter on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a tentative Brexit deal between Great Britain and the European Union still faces tough challenges, but is receiving support from the whisky industry. A distillery project in Northern Ireland is being scrapped a year after construction began, and a bankruptcy filing in the US could be a sign of tough times ahead for craft distillers.
Links: Powers Quarter | Walsh Whiskey Company | The Quiet Man | Death’s Door Spirits | Heaven Hill | The Whisky Exchange | Douglas Laing & Co. | Glengoyne | Dingle | O.F.C. Vintages | Single Cask Nation | Christie’s | L. Mulligan Grocer | Bowmore | Nikka
Back on the road again, and this episode comes from the New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick! We’ll have highlights from the festival, which is now in its 23rd year, and on WhiskyCast In-Depth, we’ll get the story behind the revival of Red Spot Irish Whiskey. This single pot still classic from Dublin’s Mitchell & Son disappeared in the mid-1960’s, and the pleas of Irish Whiskey fans were answered this week when Irish Distillers and the Mitchell family launched the modern version of Red Spot. We’ll also have tasting notes for a rare Ladyburn single malt and explain just what “Christmas Cake” has to do with whisky on Behind the Label.
Links: New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Red Spot | Sazerac | Diageo | CanadianWhisky.org | The Shout | Kentucky Owl | The IWSC Awards List | William Grant & Sons | Proper No. Twelve | Bowmore | Canadian Club | Knob Creek | Bonhams | The Whisky Exchange | The Glenrothes | Glenfiddich | The Glenlivet