WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 11th year, each week’s episode brings you the latest whisky news, along with 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”. You can listen to episodes here or subscribe with iTunes or your favorite podcast app.
The end of April has grain farmers in North America and Europe poised to get into the fields and start planting this year’s crops – and some of that grain will eventually wind up as whisky. Historically, many farmers distilled some of their grain into whiskey – both to prevent it from spoiling and to create something that could be sold or bartered. While those days are many decades in the past, a number of farmers have jumped back into distilling as a way to cultivate more profits than they get from selling grain to commodities brokers. We’ll meet the farmers behind the Whiskey Acres Distilling Company in Illinois and Far North Spirits in Minnesota on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, one of the pioneers in craft distilling has been sold, as William Grant & Sons acquired New York’s Tuthilltown Spirits this week. Tuthilltown co-founder Ralph Erenzo and Grant’s Jonathan Yusen join us to explain a deal seven years in the making. We’ll also try to answer a listener’s question about whether it’s safe to drink Bourbon from vintage ceramic decanters because of the possibility of lead contamination.
Links: Whiskey Acres Distilling | Far North Spirits | Tuthilltown Spirits | Sagamore Spirit | United Spirits | Jameson | Kilkerran | Woodford Reserve | Kentucky Derby Museum | J.P. Wiser’s | Sheep Dip | Pig’s Nose | EPA Lead Safety | FDA Lead Information | Shelter Point Distillery
This week, we’ll talk with two people who have turned their passion for whisky into careers. Tracie Franklin is one of the newest brand ambassadors for Glenfiddich, but worked her way up through the ranks for many years before joining William Grant & Sons several months ago. Blair Bowman started a whisky club at his Scottish university, then founded World Whisky Day before becoming a writer and whisky consultant. Next month, he’ll try to set a world record by visiting 60 Scotch Whisky distilleries in a single day…just a few days before his first whisky book is published. We’ll meet them both on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Lagavulin’s 200th anniversary charity bottling raised more than $730,000 for Islay charities, while 200 bottles of Buffalo Trace’s O.F.C Vintage Bourbons raised almost $1.2 million dollars for non-profit groups in the U.S. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and an update on construction work at The Macallan’s new $245 million distillery in Scotland.
Links: Glenfiddich | The Great Whisky Distillery Challenge | The Pocket Whisky Guide | Lagavulin | O.F.C. Vintages | Woodford Reserve | Waterford Distillery | The Macallan | Highland Park | The Glenlivet | Chivas Regal | Slane Whiskey | Single Cask Nation | Basil Hayden’s | J&A Mitchell | J. Rieger & Co. | Limestone Branch
Scotland’s Bladnoch Distillery celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, but the Lowlands distillery almost never made it to that milestone. When Bladnoch owner David Prior bought the distillery out of administration two years ago and hired veteran distiller and blender Ian MacMillan to revive it, the stills had been silent for years and almost everything inside had to be scrapped. Now, almost all that remains of the old Bladnoch is the building, and the stills will be fired up for the first time later this month. We’ll talk with Ian MacMillan about the revival and Bladnoch’s first series of new releases in many years on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also look at the upcoming Brexit negotiations between Great Britain and the European Union with former Scotland Secretary Michael Moore of PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Edinburgh. In the news, a rare set of The Macallan’s Six Pillars series brought a high bid of nearly $1 million at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, and we’ll have the latest details on new distilleries in England and the USA.
Links: Bladnoch | PriceWaterhouse Coopers | The Macallan | Sotheby’s | Devon Live | Spirit of Yorkshire | Templeton Rye | American Distilling Institute Awards | Benromach | Box Distillery | Spirit of Hven | Whisky Advocate | Podblasts | Ben & Jerry’s | Spirit of Speyside Festival | Speyside Cooperage | March of Dimes Bourbon Benefit | March of Dimes | High West | Brora
There will be music, food, and of course, plenty of whisky on hand during the Spirit of Speyside Festival coming up at the end of this month in Scotland. Ticket sales have already set a new record for this year’s festival, and we’ll get a preview from festival chairman James Campbell on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also look at the revival of Kansas City’s historic J. Rieger & Co. Monogram whiskey brand with Andy Rieger, the great-great-great grandson of Jacob Rieger. In the news, Scotch Whisky industry leaders will be watching the UK’s upcoming Brexit negotiations with both benefits and risks in mind, Ireland’s craft distillers are hoping for help from a bill pending in that country’s Parliament, and we’ll have the story of a British man’s personal cask of Kilchoman single malt that disappeared after it was accidentally delivered to the wrong address.
Links: Spirit of Speyside Festival | J. Rieger & Co. | Scotch Whisky Association | Irish Whiskey Association | CBC News | Canadian Club | Nant Distillery | Australian Whisky Holdings | Lark Distillery | Kilchoman | BenRiach | Benromach | Compass Box | Julio’s Liquors | The Glenrothes | Arran | English Whisky Company | Knob Creek | Whisky Magazine | Wine Two Five | Balblair | Bladnoch | Ben & Jerry’s
This week’s American Whiskey Convention at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park featured an air of generational change. At one end, legendary master distiller Jimmy Russell of Wild Turkey with 63 years of distilling experience – and at the other end, a crop of young distillers hoping to follow in his footsteps while creating their own unique whiskies. We’ll talk with both generations on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, we’ll have the latest on the ongoing Nant Distillery saga in Australia, along with the launch of two more luxury whiskies from Tamdhu and Glenmorangie and the details on a new whiskey that honors a candidate who came in second. We’ll also update distillery projects in Scotland, Ireland, and the U.S. while and helping a listener with the answer to his question about whether Canadian Whisky is kosher or not on this week’s Your Voice.
Links: American Whiskey Convention | Pennsylvania Spirits Convention | Nant Distillery | Australian Whisky Holdings | Tamdhu | Glenmorangie | The Macallan | Compass Box | Cooper Spirits | Michter’s | Rodham Rye | Brown-Forman | GMB Scotland | Clydeside Distillery | Blackwater Distillery | Sagamore Spirit | Wall Street Journal | Kosher Information Bureau | CanadianWhisky.org | Stoll & Wolfe | Moonshine University | Bluebird Distilling | Liberty Pole Spirits | Middle West Spirits | Connacht Whiskey Company | New Liberty Distillery | Wild Turkey | WhistlePig Rye
For years, whisky connoisseurs whispered about a mysterious Irish whiskey called Green Spot and begged friends traveling to Ireland to track down a bottle for them. While Green Spot nearly disappeared from the market years ago along with the other “Spot Whiskeys” from Dublin’s Mitchell & Son, the Mitchell family and Irish Distillers kept the brand alive through some of Irish Whiskey’s darkest days. Now, Green Spot and Green Spot Chateau Leoville Barton are part of the Single Pot Stills of Midleton range, while Yellow Spot has been revived and there’s talk that yet another one of the Spots may be next. We’ll talk with Robert Jonathan Mitchell and Robert Mitchell of Mitchell & Son about the history – and the future – of the Spots on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with Liam Maher, who once worked in the family’s underground warehouse in Dublin and now serves as a clerk at the Mitchell & Son shop. In the news, there’s another blow to the future of Australia’s Nant Distillery. We’ll have the details, along with the opening of the new Bulleit Distillery in Kentucky, the return of an age statement as a Johnnie Walker expression gets a new name, and tasting notes for three new Irish Whiskeys.
Links: Mitchell & Son | Single Pot Stills of Midleton | Nant Distillery | Australian Whisky Holdings | Dublin Liberties Distillery | Bulleit Bourbon | James E. Pepper Distillery | Sonoma County Distilling Co. | Johnnie Walker | Tyrconnell | Kavalan | WhistlePig Rye | Woodford Reserve | Buffalo Trace | Hooch Law | ScotchWhisky.com | 6Pod4 | Method And Madness Whiskey | Teeling Whiskey Co.
Whisky was historically thought of as a “man’s drink” – but today, not only are more women drinking whisky, but women make up around 40% of the Scotch Whisky industry’s work force. Diageo’s Maureen Robinson is one of the industry’s pioneering women, and is celebrating her 40th anniversary in the whisky business this month. She’s the first woman to hold the title of Master Blender in Scotland, and joins us for this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll talk not only about the changes she’s seen over the last four decades, but the subtle art and science that goes into blending whiskies, too.
In the news, the fight for control of Australia’s Nant Distillery is getting uglier as Nant’s founders and its would-be buyer fire charges of mismanagement and more at each other. The UK’s government is raising taxes on domestic whisky and spirits sales this week in a move that caught the Scotch Whisky Association and other drinks industry groups by surprise, and the global boom in Irish Whiskey sales is leading to more expansion plans at Bushmills. We’ll also have details on the week’s new whiskies and tasting notes for whiskies from Balblair, Woodford Reserve, and Ardbeg.
Links: Classic Malts | Nant Distillery | Australian Whisky Holdings | Scotch Whisky Association | Port of Leith Distillery | Bushmills | Connacht Whiskey Company | Blood Oath Bourbon | Ardbeg | Tomatin | BBC News | The Scottish Sun | Harlem Whiskey Renaissance | Balblair | Woodford Reserve
Mickey Heads grew up about three miles from Islay’s Ardbeg Distillery, but the third-generation whisky maker never thought he’d wind up as the manager at Ardbeg. This week, he’s celebrating his tenth anniversary as Ardbeg’s manager and joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also hear from Isabel Graham-Youll of Whisky.Auction, who helped police in London catch an alleged counterfeiter specializing in antique whiskies after spotting fakes the suspect tried to sell through her company’s online auction site.
There’s plenty of news to report this week, including an update on the dispute over the future of Australia’s Nant Distillery and hundreds of barrels of whisky owned by investors. We’ll also update the progress of the new Slane Distillery in Ireland, meet some of the winners of Whisky Magazine’s U.S. Icons of Whisky Awards, and catch up with Jane Maher of Tullamore D.E.W. as she nears the end of a cross-country bus tour across the United States.
Links: Ardbeg | Whisky.Auction | Nant Whisky | Australian Whisky Holdings | Scotch Whisky Association | Ardgowan Distillery | Slane Irish Whiskey | Bulleit Bourbon | Barrell Bourbon | Lux Row Distillers | Icons of Whisky Awards | Whisky Magazine | Sons of Liberty Spirits | Jack Daniel’s | Laphroaig | Alexander Murray & Co. | Glenturret | Limestone Branch | Tullamore D.E.W. | Golan Heights Distillery | Westland Distillery