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”.
Time for a chapter from the WhiskyCast Book Club…back in 1930, a Scotsman going by the name of Aeneas MacDonald wrote the first book on whisky aimed at whisky drinkers. “Whisky” was a groundbreaking book for its time, and many of MacDonald’s comments are still true today. Now, Ian Buxton has solved the mystery of Aeneas MacDonald, and Canongate Books has released a new edition of “Whisky” for a new generation of whisky lovers. Ian gives us the details, along with readings from the book on this episode of WhiskyCast!
Links: Canongate Books | Bowmore | Auchentoshan | Scotch Whisky Association | Whyte & MacKay | Whisky Live Glasgow | Kentucky Bourbon Festival
It’s the first day of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and many whisky lovers are thinking of their summer vacations. More Scotch distilleries are taking the tourism business seriously, with at least half a dozen distilleries upgrading or opening new visitors centers this year. We’ll hear from Sarah Bottomley at Glengoyne and Ian Millar of Glenfiddich about their new centers and tours, including a new tour at The Balvenie. In the news, Scotch Whisky Association leaders are touting their new code of practices, Highland Park prepares to release a new Ambassador’s Cask, and a new whisky festival is in the works to celebrate Celtic and Cajun heritage in Louisiana.
Links: Glengoyne | Scotch Whisky Association | Glenfiddich | The Balvenie | Highland Park | Classic Malts | Bowmore
Whisky and charity often go hand in hand, as whisky lovers raise thousands of dollars for those in need every year. In this episode, we’ll hear from Inver House’s Nial Mackinlay, who led a team of his colleagues on the UK’s Three Peaks Challenge to raise money for Children First, the Royal Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. What is the Three Peaks Challenge? Climb the highest peaks in England, Scotland, and Wales…and do all three in under 24 hours. In the news, Cooley Distillery releases a new single grain Irish whiskey, and blogger/author Kevin Erskine’s new edition of “The Instant Expert’s Guide to Single Malt Scotch” has just been published…and yes, this episode comes from the new studio.
Links: Inver House | Whisky Live South Africa | Cooley Distillery | Early Times | The Scotch Blog | Doceon Press
It’s easy to stick to the official distillery bottlings of whiskies, but a visit to specialty shops may pique your curiosity with independent bottlings. Many come from very familiar distilleries, but some bottlings are so rare that they may be the only way to find out what a distillery’s single malt whisky tastes like. We’ll hear from Euan Shand of Duncan Taylor & Company, Lorne Mackillop of Mackillop’s Choice, and Malt Advocate’s John Hansell plays devil’s advocate for us. In the news, Pot Still owner Ken Storrie is standing up to Glasgow regulators, Chivas Brothers takes on a Chinese newspaper, and another woman cracks the whisky world’s glass ceiling…it’s a new month, and time for another new episode of WhiskyCast!
Links: The Pot Still | The Guardian | Chivas Brothers | Tomatin | Duncan Taylor | Mackillop’s Choice | Malt Advocate | Whisky Live South Africa
It’s time for the annual Islay Festival of Malt and Music, and that also means a bit of madness on the island…everything from sheepdog trials to a visit from the Mayor of Islay…the Islay in Peru. We’ll get a preview from Festival Chairperson Angus Rice on the festivities, while Laphroaig’s John Campbell, Ardbeg’s Stuart Thomson, and Bruichladdich’s Mark Reynier tell us about some of the distillery events — some traditional and others quite unusual — that make Feis Ile unique. In the news section, distiller Jim Cryle is bringing back a touch of Scotland’s rebellious days, and there’s a major auction of whiskies on the block in Keith.
Links: Islay Festival of Malt & Music | Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre | The Glenlivet | Heaven Hill | Laphroaig | Ardbeg | Bruichladdich | Classic Malts
New York’s a city full of whisky drinkers, but most of them only think of Scotch Whisky. LeNell Smothers is on a one-woman mission to change all that…from a tiny storefront in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood. LeNell’s stocks more than 100 different types of bourbon and other American whiskies, and many of them are available for tasting at a store that’s been honored as the best in New York and one of the world’s best retailers by Whisky Magazine. Plus…Seagram pensioners get the shaft, Diageo gets new leadership in Scotland, another native Ileach comes home to take over Lagavulin…Bunnahabhain gets a new website, and it’s festival time on Islay…all on this episode of WhiskyCast! (Editor’s note: Lenell’s closed several years after this episode was recorded, and Lenell Smothers has moved on to other ventures.)
Links: Lenell’s | The Guardian | Diageo | Classic Malts | Bunnahabhain | Islay Festival of Malt & Music | Ardbeg
Japanese whiskies are a mystery to many whisky lovers, and we’ll get some insight to these special malts from Suntory consultant Lincoln Henderson, who spent most of his career making bourbons for Brown-Forman. In the news, Whisky Magazine’s Dave Broom is honored, Penderyn finally makes it to U.S. stores, and profits flow at Pernod Ricard. Pour yourself a dram, and relax with Episode 40 of WhiskyCast!
Links: Penderyn | Pernod Ricard | Buffalo Trace | Suntory | Nikka
Whisky is a passion for distillers, but it’s also a science…and good scientists experiment to see what might make a good whisky and what won’t. Harlen Wheatley of Kentucky’s Buffalo Trace Distillery is a chemical engineer by trade and a distiller by choice, and a new collection of his experiments are being released for whisky lovers to sample. We’ll hear from Harlen about his experiments, along with a contest to challenge your whisky nosing skills, and Suntory’s Lincoln Henderson helps answer a listener question…all on this episode of WhiskyCast!
Links: Buffalo Trace | Bruichladdich | Whisky Magazine | Suntory | Islay Festival of Malt & Music
Laphroaig has been making whisky for nearly 200 years, but until now, no native of Islay has ever served as the distillery manager there. John Campbell grew up in the shadow of Laphroaig, and now, he’s running the place. We’ll hear from John, and get the latest news…and if you’re a daily drammer, you’ll be glad to hear that one drink a day may help you avoid obesity. We’ll also get some tips from Malt Advocate publisher John Hansell on how to host your own whisky tasting for friends.
Canadians take pride in their whisky, but one very special whisky often goes overlooked on store shelves. That’s a mistake, though…Alberta Premium was chosen by Jim Murray as his Canadian Whisky of the Year in his 2006 Whisky Bible, and we’ll hear from the man who makes it, Master Distiller Jim Rogerson. Also, the recipe for the perfect Mint Julep in time for the Kentucky Derby, honors for two whisky writers and the release of the second edition of Dr. David Wishart’s “Whisky Classified”, a retirement at The Dalmore, and John Hansell updates us on the spring edition of Malt Advocate magazine.