WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 12th year, we bring you the latest whisky news each week 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 download or stream episodes here, subscribe with Apple Podcasts, or use our RSS feed to subscribe with your favorite podcast app.
This time around, we’re on location at the New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick…and if you think we get around a lot, spare some sympathy for Distell’s Andy Watts. He spent 38 hours traveling to Fredericton from his base in South Africa, where he oversees production and quality control for Distell’s whisky distilleries in South Africa and Scotland. Earlier this year, Andy stepped aside from his longtime role as distillery manager for Distell’s James Sedgwick Distillery to take up his new position…and spend a lot more time traveling around the world. We’ll catch up with him on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth.
In the news, police in Paris are trying to find the burglars who stole nearly $800,000 in rare whiskies during a break-in at La Maison du Whisky. Scotch Whisky producers lost their 5-year-long legal battle to stop the Scottish government from implementing minimum pricing for alcohol sales, and the government in Edinburgh has given the backers of a new malt distillery in Inverclyde more than a million dollars in grant funding. We’ll also have details on a couple of rare Canadian whiskies that have some Canadians hip-checking each other in the aisles at retailers, along with the latest Irish Oak-finished whiskey from Midleton Distillery and much, much more…on this special episode from New Brunswick!
Links: New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Distell | La Maison du Whisky | Scotch Whisky Association | Ardgowan Distillery | J.P. Wiser’s | Canadian Club | CanadianWhisky.org | Midleton Dair Ghaelach | Teeling Whiskey Company | 1792 Bourbon | Jim Beam | Douglas Laing & Co. | Three Ships | Bain’s
The very first episode of WhiskyCast was on November 12, 2005, and twelve years later, we’ve been around long enough to have an age statement! Back on that first episode, the idea that someone would invest $150 million to build a new Bourbon distillery in Bardstown, Kentucky probably would have been good for a few laughs, since the Bourbon boom was in its infancy. Now, that $150 million dollar distillery project isn’t just a reality, but the third new distillery to be built in Bardstown. Stoli Group broke ground this week on its new Kentucky Owl Park in Bardstown, less than a year after buying the boutique Bourbon brand from Dixon Dedman. His great-great grandfather started making Kentucky Owl in 1879, and Prohibition killed the brand for nearly a century before Dixon Dedman revived it in 2014. Dedman joined Stoli Group as its master blender as part of the deal, and he’ll share his family’s story with us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Dedman’s new distillery is part of a much larger project that will reshape Bardstown’s future, while part of Lexington’s distilling past is about to come back to life. We’ll also look at the week’s new whiskies and taste one of the rarest single malts around to celebrate 12 years of WhiskyCast!
Links: Kentucky Owl | James E. Pepper | BBC News | Pakistan Daily | Lagavulin | Glenglassaugh | GlenDronach | A. Smith Bowman | Big Peat | Tincup Colorado Whiskey | Chattanooga Whiskey | The Whisky Exchange | New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Pearse Irish Whiskey | Gordon & MacPhail
In 2015, Brown-Forman acknowledged what had been an open secret around Lynchburg, Tennessee for generations – that Jack Daniel’s distilling mentor was Nathan “Nearest” Green, a slave on the farm owned by Dan Coll until the end of the Civil War. After the war ended, Jack Daniel hired the newly-freed Nathan Green to be the head distiller at his new distillery in Lynchburg. Green’s sons and grandsons worked for Jack Daniel later on, and even after 150 years, the distillery has always had at least one of Green’s descendants working there. Fawn Weaver was fascinated by the 2015 New York Times story on the relationship between the Greens and Jack Daniel’s, and is now devoting her life to researching that history and cementing Nearest Green’s role in American history with, among many other things, a Tennessee whiskey that bears his name. We’ll discuss the story of America’s first African-American master distiller on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Scotch Whisky exports rose during the first half of 2017, but the statistics show some areas for concern. U.S. craft distilling is now a $3 billion annual business and growing, and a Swiss hotel has given a Chinese tourist a full refund after the $10,000 dram of whisky he bought there in August turned out to be a fake.
Links: Uncle Nearest Whiskey | Jack Daniel’s Nearest Green History | Nearest Green Foundation | Scotch Whisky Association | American Craft Spirits Association | Old Elk Whiskey | Huber’s Starlight Distillery | Chambers Bay Distillery | The Hilhaven Lodge Whiskey | Diageo | Copper Dog Whisky | anCnoc | The Macallan | Jameson | Rare Whisky 101 | New Brunswick Spirits Festival | Compass Box | Highland Park
Distillers from around the United States gathered at Virginia’s Mount Vernon this week to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the restoration of George Washington’s Distillery at his historic estate, and of course, they celebrated by making some whiskey. The restored distillery has been producing rye whiskey using Washington’s original recipe to raise money for Mount Vernon’s educational programs, including those on the slaves who worked in the distillery from 1797 until shortly after Washington’s death in 1799. We’ll look at the past ten years of distilling at Mount Vernon and Washington’s legacy on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Buffalo Trace and the Van Winkle family have decided to skip a year…for one of the prized Van Winkle rye whiskies. Tullamore D.E.W. has added a new set of grain whiskey stills at its distillery in Ireland, and Beam has blended American and Canadian rye whiskies together again…this time for the new Basil Hayden’s Dark Rye. We’ll look at some travel tips for Bourbon Country and taste four Irish whiskeys for this week’s tasting notes, too.
Links: George Washington’s Distillery | Old Rip Van Winkle | Distilled Spirits Council | Basil Hayden’s | Woodford Reserve | Churchill Downs | Tullamore D.E.W | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Highland Park | The Balvenie | Laphroaig | Powers | Licensed Vintners Association | The Long Hall Pub
Managing a whisky warehouse is sort of like running a day care center…but a lot quieter. Corby’s Donald Campbell is responsible for 1.3 million barrels of maturing whisky at the Hiram Walker Distillery’s warehouse campus outside Windsor, Ontario. Just like the kids at a day care center, each of those whisky barrels is developing each day – and some tend to spring a leak every once in a while, too…just like the kids at a day care center! We’ll visit the warehouses this week with Donald Campbell and Hiram Walker Master Blender Dr. Don Livermore on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Sazerac is expanding its global presence with a minority stake in India’s John Distilleries, but is getting some pushback on its proposed plans for a second Tennessee distillery. New York distillers have joined forces to create the Empire Rye category, and we’ll get the details from Christopher Williams of Coppersea Distilling. This year’s Irish Whiskey Awards have been announced, and we’ll have the results…along with this week’s tasting notes and much more!
Links: Corby Spirits & Wine | Sazerac | John Distilleries | Daily News Journal | Coppersea Distilling | Empire Rye | Old Forester | Teeling Whiskey | Irish Whiskey Awards | Dingle Distillery | Writers’ Tears | Ardbeg | Old Pulteney | Glengoyne | Glen Keith | Canadian Club | Woodford Reserve | The Glenburgie | The Dalmore | Benromach | Bruichladdich
Christmas came a couple of months early for some Scotch Whisky lovers with word that the iconic Port Ellen, Brora, and Rosebank distilleries will be reopened over the next couple of years. Diageo will invest $46 million to bring Port Ellen and Brora back to life, while Ian Macleod Distillers has acquired not only the old Rosebank site, but the rights to the Rosebank name and its remaining whisky inventory. We’ll talk with Diageo’s Dr. Nick Morgan and Gordon Doctor of Ian Macleod about the work that’s ahead before the spirit starts flowing from the stills. Scott Watson of The Lost Distillery Company has been reviving historic distillery legacies in Scotland for the last decade, with extensive research to recreate the whiskies those long-lost distilleries might be making today, and he’ll share some of that process with us as well. In the news, Heaven Hill completes a massive $25 million expansion at its Bernheim Distillery, while a Sonoma County craft distiller has managed to dodge the Northern California wildfires so far. We’ll also have the week’s tasting notes and some of your ideas on which heritage distillery should be revived next.
Links: Diageo | The Lost Distillery Company | Ian Macleod Distillers | Chateau Montelena | Sonoma County Distilling Company | Heaven Hill | Scotch Whisky Association | The Whisky Bible | Glen Grant | Douglas Laing & Co. | Michter’s | Yellowstone Bourbon | Sugarlands Distilling | Sagamore Spirit | Wiser’s | The Way of Whisky: A Journey Around Japanese Whisky | Victoria Whisky Festival | Classic Malts
This week, we’re in Ireland for the annual release of Midleton Very Rare from Irish Distillers. There’s something different about the 2017 edition, though…it’s made with some of the oldest casks ever used in Midleton Very Rare. We’ll talk with Midleton Master Distiller Brian Nation about this year’s release and the new Midleton Cask Circle club, which will give collectors and investors the opportunity to buy their own casks straight from the distillery. Midleton’s maturation guru, Kevin O’Gorman, will also tell us about the newly-released Green Spot Chateau Montelena edition, which is finished in Zinfandel wine casks from California’s Napa Valley.
In the news, Gordon & MacPhail has unveiled yet another cask of 70-year-old single malt Scotch Whisky, this one distilled at Glenlivet in 1943 during the peak of World War II. A much younger cask of Macallan has set an apparent world record at a Hong Kong auction, and we’ll talk about the impact of Brexit on the whisky business from two sides – one who sees it as a plus, and another who says it’s already cost him a lot of money.
Links: Midleton Very Rare | Green Spot | Chateau Montelena | Gordon & MacPhail | Spink & Son | Compass Box | The Balvenie | Kyro Distillery | Cotswolds Distillery | Pearse Lyons Distillery | The Irishman | Great Northern Distillery | Smooth Ambler
This week, we’re in London for the annual Whisky Show at Old Billingsgate on the banks of the River Thames! We’ll catch up with a lot of friends from around the world, including Whyte & Mackay’s Richard Paterson as he winds up his 50th anniversary tour of worldwide whisky tastings. We’ll also look at plenty of new whiskies introduced over the last few days here in London and other shows in Europe. In the news, plans are being drawn up for what could be a $150 million dollar distillery project in Bardstown, Kentucky, and Scotland’s Kilchoman Distillery is starting the first major expansion project for the Islay distillery.
Links: The Whisky Show | Kentucky.com | Kentucky Owl | Malt Whisky Yearbook | Kilchoman | Box Whisky | Compass Box | Old Pulteney | Aberlour | Ballantine’s | Dewar’s | Chichibu | Whyte & Mackay | Elixir Distillers | Meleklerin Payi | Glen Moray | Signatory