WhiskyCast is where it all begins. Now in our 14th year, we bring you the latest whisky news twice 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 episode marks our 13th anniversary of the very first WhiskyCast episode on November 12, 2005, and we’re celebrating with an old friend! Ian Buxton has been around the whisky industry for nearly 40 years, first as a marketing executive and now as a writer. He’s responsible for reviving Aeneas MacDonald’s classic book “Whisky” and sharing it with a new generation of whisky lovers, and his “101 Spirits to Try Before You Die” series of books has recently grown to include gins and rums along with whiskies. You’ll hear our conversation on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We’ll also have details on the public memorial service next week in Louisville for Master Distiller Dave Pickerell along with the rest of the week’s news, and we’ll have a new answer on the origins of the duty-free whisky business.
Links: Ian Buxton’s Book Collection (Amazon) | Dave Pickerell Memorial | Proper No. Twelve | The Sunday Times | Clonakilty Distillery | Gordon & MacPhail | McNair’s Lum Reek | Ailsa Bay | Aerstone | Bourbon Crusaders | Willett Distillery | Fred Minnick on the Bourbon Crusaders Auction | WhiskyCast/Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends HIAS Benefit | Midleton Very Rare | Ha’Penny Irish Whiskey | Ballyhoo Irish Whiskey | Powers Irish Whiskey
This time around, we’re on the road in Kilkenny, Ireland, but with heavy hearts. The whisky world lost one of its leaders Thursday night with the death of Master Distiller Dave Pickerell in San Francisco. Dave was truly deserving of the Master Distiller title. After leaving Maker’s Mark in 2008, he helped dozens of craft distillers and entrepreneurs get into the whisky business, earning him the nickname of craft distilling’s Johnny Appleseed. We’ll honor his legacy in this episode, while also looking at the local whiskey scene in Kilkenny. Nine whiskey bars and one retailer make up the Kilkenny Whiskey Guild, and are working together to make Kilkenny a destination for whiskey lovers visiting Ireland.
Editor’s note: Dave rarely discussed his age, and our original reporting that he was 70 years old was based on information provided by one of his publicists. We have since confirmed through West Point alumni records that Dave was born in 1956 and was 62 when he died. We regret the error.
Links: Kilkenny Whiskey Guild | Oak View Spirits | Maker’s Mark | Blackened American Whiskey | Pittsburgh Whiskey Friends | The Irishman | West Cork Distillers | Egan’s Irish Whiskey | Irish American Whiskey
This time around, we’re blasting off with the crew of the USS Starward! OK, we’re talking with David Vitale, the founder of Australia’s Starward Distillery, and his whiskies have a certain Space Age look to them. Vitale founded his distillery in a former Quantas hangar at Melbourne’s airport, so the flight analogy’s not that far off, either. You’ll hear that conversation during WhiskyCast In-Depth, and in the news, Britain’s Chancellor gave the Scotch Whisky industry a pleasant surprise during Monday’s Budget Address in Parliament by extending the current freeze on whisky and spirits taxes. We’ll have that story and much more, including an update on a Hockey Hall of Fame member’s second career in the whisky business.
Links: Starward Whisky | Scotch Whisky Association | The IWSR | Just-Drinks.com | The Last Drop Distillers | Johnnie Walker | Chivas | Sonny Malloy’s Bar | Redbreast | Belfour Spirits | The Athletic | Old Forester | Laphroaig | The Balvenie | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | J.P. Wiser’s | Dewar’s
Many whisky lovers consider the “water of life” to be a regular part of their lives, but there’s no arguing that whiskies are becoming as much of a luxury item as fine watches, artwork, wines, and other rarities. That’s the world James Espey and Tom Jago entered with their final act in the whisky business eleven years ago when they formed The Last Drop Distillers after collaborating on too many iconic whisky brands to count. Today, their daughters run the business after it was sold to Sazerac last year, and just days after Tom Jago’s death earlier this month, his daughter Rebecca Jago took center stage with The Last Drop at this week’s Walpole showcase of British luxury goods. We’ll talk with her on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and we’ll also catch up with Louise McGuane of Ireland’s Chapel Gate Whiskey Company fresh off a win in the Irish Whiskey Awards for her J.J. Corry Flintlock single malt.
Here’s the video of The Last Drop’s unique decanter that we mentioned in this episode, too.
Links: The Last Drop Distillers | Chapel Gate Whiskey Company | Scotch Whisky Association | Fets Whisky Kitchen | Craigellachie | North British Distillery | The Balvenie | Teeling Whiskey Company | Powers | Maker’s Mark | The Drinks Business | Walpole | Kilbeggan | Jack Daniel’s
Kentucky’s Four Roses Bourbon is marking its 130th anniversary this year, and while Al Young hasn’t been there the whole time…he comes closer than just about anyone else. Last year, he celebrated his 50th anniversary with Four Roses dating well back to the brand’s days under Seagram’s ownership, and he’s one of only three people to have a Four Roses bottling named for him. In fact, Four Roses fan Ryan MacLaughlin surprised Al Wednesday night at an event in Philadelphia by bringing two bottles of that 50th anniversary bottling – one for Al to sign, and the other for them to share a glass. We’ll talk with Al Young about his five-plus decades in the Bourbon business on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Brexit battle has politicians and distillers looking at the prospect of Great Britain leaving the European Union in a “no deal” departure. We’ll also have more details on the $174 million Irish Distillers expansion at Midleton, along with the arrival of this year’s Northern Border Collection special Canadian whiskies and a new series of J.P. Wiser’s whiskies designed to go with ice…ice hockey, that is!
Links: Four Roses | Irish Distillers | The Glenlivet | Chivas Regal | Bruichladdich | Northern Border Collection | J.P. Wiser’s | Wood Buffalo Brewing | Kentucky Peerless Distillery | Chattanooga Whiskey Company | Bushmills | Distilled Spirits Council Code of Responsible Practices
You might think this would be a great time to be in the Scotch Whisky business, right? This week, the Scotch Whisky Association released a new report showing global exports grew almost 11 percent during the first half of the year on a pace that could break 2017’s record year for exports. However, this week also saw yet another failed attempt to resolve the Brexit stalemate between the UK and the European Union, which accounts for around a third of all Scotch Whisky exports. What’s more, next Monday could see British taxes on whisky and other spirits rise in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s new budget despite industry pleas to keep duties frozen for a second straight year. We’ll discuss the good, the bad, and the even worse with Graeme Littlejohn of the Scotch Whisky Association on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the waters near one Speyside distillery could be home to salmon and sea trout again soon, while construction is nearing completion on another Whiskey Row project in Louisville. On Behind the Label, we’ll answer the question: when is an Irish Whiskey distilled in pot stills not a Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey, and we’ll also have the week’s tasting notes and much more.
Links: Scotch Whisky Association | Tamdhu | Michter’s | Jack Daniel’s | Glen Moray | Widow Jane | Sonoma Distilling Company | Irish Whiskey Awards | St. George Spirits | Westland Distillery | Jim Beam | Kilbeggan
This time around, we’re in Columbia, South Carolina for The Great American Whiskey Fair. We’ll talk with local distillers creating unique whiskies with local grains, and we’ll also look at a global issue: the potential impact of climate change on the whisky industry. Researchers have been looking at the impact of global warming on barley production for beer, but they also see a serious problem for whisky distillers, too. In the news, Irish Distillers Pernod Ricard is planning another expansion at Midleton Distillery and the rest of its facilities in Ireland to meet projected demand, and we’ll have the latest on new whiskies and executive changes, along with a tribute to one of whisky’s quiet giants.
Links: Great American Whiskey Fair | Irish Distillers | Kilbeggan | Canadian Club | Michter’s | Johnnie Walker | Royal Salute | Kilchoman | The Tweedale Blend | Constellation Brands | Distilled Spirits Council | Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility | The Last Drop Distillers | Nature Plants | Six and Twenty Distillery | Crouch Distilling | Old Forester | Buffalo Trace | Bourbon Columbia
Old Forester released its final edition in the Whiskey Row series of limited-edition Bourbons this week, and the 1910 Old Fine Whiskey honors the brand’s return to its historical home. Brown-Forman’s $45 million Old Forester Distillery opened in June on Main Street in downtown Louisville on the same site where the company was located from 1882 until Prohibition began in 1919. We toured the distillery just as that final Whiskey Row edition was being bottled, and you’ll hear it on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, $843,200 is a high price to pay for a rare whisky, but that high bid Saturday at Sotheby’s fell short of the world record by more than a quarter of a million dollars. We’ll also have details on an upcoming Supreme Court case that could affect interstate whisky shipments and details on the latest new whiskies.
Links: Old Forester | Sotheby’s | The Macallan | Glenmorangie | Angel’s Envy | Distillery 291 | Virginia Distillery Company | Columbus Dispatch | Great American Whiskey Fair | Victoria Whisky Festival | Mortlach | Shelter Point | Smooth Ambler | Appalachian Gap Distillery