WhiskyCast
The cask-strength podcast from the charming, yet regrettably dry town of Haddonfield, New Jersey.

There are a lot of issues facing the world of whisky and spirits these days, and we'll discuss many of them on this week's WhiskyCast. During the recent New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Canada, WhiskyCast's Mark Gillespie moderated a panel discussion with Glenfiddich's Ian Millar, Dr. Kirstie McCallum of Burn Stewart Distillers, Angostura Rum master distiller John Georges, and The Glenlivet's Alan Winchester. We discussed topics ranging from declining whisky sales to the impact of the thaw in diplomatic relations between the US and Cuba and more, and you'll hear the entire discussion on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the European Court of Justice rules against - and for - minimum unit pricing on alcohol sales in Scotland and kicks the debate back to Edinburgh, and we'll have a story of how distillers in Scotland teamed up to help an ailing colleague realize his dream.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151226.mp3
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This week, we'll look at the business behind the whiskies we drink - and investors hope to profit from. More investors are looking seriously at the whisky business...they're not just looking to invest in rare bottles, but something even rarer...the distilleries that make whisky. We'll talk with Frank Lampen, one of the co-founders of Diageo's in-house venture capital unit, Distill Ventures. This week, Distill made its second major whisky investment of the month by taking a minority stake in Australia's Starward Whisky after doing the same thing with Denmark's Stauning Whisky. We'll also hear from Bardstown Bourbon Company CEO David Mandel, who's not only looking for new brands to make whiskey at his distillery when it opens in 2016, but has figured out a way to help them finance the cost of distilling and maturing their whisky. In the news, Islay is mourning the loss of one of Bruichladdich's legendary leaders, the head of William Grant & Sons is stepping down, and we'll look at one of the few places where you can get a university degree in whisky distilling.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151219.mp3
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This week, we'll give you a glimpse at something rarely seen...the very first still run at a new distillery. This week, the stills at Ireland's Waterford Distillery came to life - 24 years after they were last used at the old Inverleven Distillery in Scotland. Like a lot of pieces of the Waterford story, those stills spent some time on Islay at Bruichladdich, but like the old Guinness brewery in Waterford that closed two years ago, they found new life in the Irish Whiskey boom. We'll talk with Waterford founder Mark Reynier and some of the brewery team that returned to work at Waterford on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the new owners of Bushmills have big expansion plans in mind for their distillery, while yet another new Bourbon distillery is being planned in Bardstown, Kentucky. We'll also have details on the week's new whiskies and much more on this week's WhiskyCast!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151213.mp3
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Every once in a while, you might want to step outside of your comfort zone and try something besides whisky. A WhiskyCast listener asked for suggestions along those lines after hearing our October episode about Armagnacs, and we turned to Jeff Cioletti for answers. He's the author of the new book "The Year of Drinking Adventurously: 52 Ways To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone" and editor-at-large for Beverage World magazine, and he'll join us for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Diageo has bought a stake in Denmark's Stauning Distillery, while The Macallan and Glenfiddich are both planning new expansions. Glenfiddich's plans have a local politician concerned about "whisky nutters" crowding the roadside to take pictures. We'll also have details on some of the week's new whiskies, say farewell to one of Speyside's leaders, and taste three whiskies from around the world.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151205.mp3
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This week, we'll be talking about whisky and education. Not teaching people how to drink whisky, but how to make it! There aren't many university-level programs in distilling, but the University of Kentucky has now started offering a certificate in Distillation, Wine, and Brewing to undergraduate students who complete a series of courses in chemistry, engineering, and other subjects. Dr. Seth DeBolt is one of the program's founders, and joins us to discuss it on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we'll look at the progress of two proposed distilleries in Scotland, along with plans for next June's Kentucky Bourbon Affair in Louisville - complete with Kentucky's first major whisky festival including whiskies from all over the world. There are also new whiskies coming out of Scotland, along with Italy's first single malt and we'll kick off the holiday season by sampling a whisky-filled Advent calendar!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151129.mp3
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This week, we're at Canada's oldest whisky festival...the New Brunswick Spirits Festival in Fredericton, New Brunswick. The festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and draws visitors from all over Canada and the northeastern United States. This year, festival attendees also celebrated the 2016 Whisky Bible's naming of a Canadian whisky as the World Whisky of the Year. We'll get reaction to Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye's place at the top of the podium, and why it's helping lead a renaissance of classic Canadian rye whisky. We'll also have the latest on the week's new whiskies and much more on this special episode from New Brunswick.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151121.mp3
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As we begin the 11th year of WhiskyCast, we're taking a look back this week to catch up with some of the friends we've made over the last ten years...people who are now making their own way in the whisky world. We'll hear from a Kentucky sheriff's deputy starting his post-police career as a Bourbon distiller, a couple from New Zealand who gave birth to a whisky distillery and a baby son at the same time, and a Scottish expat who followed his wife to New Jersey and wants to teach his new neighbors about Scotch Whisky. In the news, Scottish environmental officials have released their annual list of industrial polluters with just a handful of whisky-related violations caused by things like excessive rainfall. We'll also get the details on Bonhams' return to whisky auctions in New York City and details on the week's new whiskies...including one that covers the spectrum of woods.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151114.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:17am EDT

Scotland's Glenturret Distillery celebrated its 240th anniversary this week by gathering 240 people at The Famous Grouse Experience for a toast, and by announcing the debut of the distillery's first range of single malts in many years. Stuart Cassells heads up Glenturret, and was instrumental in making those single malts possible. He'll join us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the history and the future of Scotland's oldest distillery. We're also celebrating an anniversary this week, though it's just ten years instead of 240. Still, we've packed a lot into this special episode...with the latest on the Compass Box controversy from John Glaser - and some of your opinions as well. We'll also check up on the week's new whiskies, meet the distiller playing David to the University of Kentucky's Goliath in federal court, and American Bartender of the Year Ivy Mix will share a warming cocktail recipe for the holidays - or any cold evening.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151107.mp3
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Popular, yet controversial in many ways, WhistlePig Farm's distillery has finally opened after a series of lengthy delays and disputes. Founder Raj Peter Bhakta spent around $250,000 in legal fees battling Vermont regulators over whether WhistlePig Farm qualifies as an "agricultural operation" under the state's unique laws protecting farms from commercial development. Even though whiskey distilled from rye grown on the farm is still several years away from being ready for sale, Bhakta claims WhistlePig is one of the leading "grain to glass" distilleries in the United States. We'll challenge that claim as we discuss the distillery's future with Raj Peter Bhakta on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Compass Box is in the middle of a controversy of its own after another Scotch Whisky producer accused it of being too transparent with details on its latest two releases. That's just one of several legal battles within the whisky industry this week, and we'll have all the details, as well as tasting notes that might just be illegal in Scotland.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151031.mp3
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Andy Cant has been a Scotch Whisky nomad for nearly four decades, working at distilleries and maltings all over Scotland. He's done everything from making grain whisky for blends to running a maltings and multiple malt whisky distilleries from Islay to the Highlands. These days, you'll find him at Cardhu Distillery in Speyside, but we caught up with him recently at Mount Vernon in Virginia, where he was part of a team from Scotland making single malt whisky at George Washington's Distillery. He shares some stories of the distilleries and the people he's worked with along the way on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. Travel retail releases dominate the news this week, with a bunch of new whiskies being unveiled at the travel retail industry's annual showcase in Cannes. We'll also have the details on Diageo's 2015 Special Releases from Scotland, this year's Masters Collection release from Woodford Reserve, and tales of lawyers on the loose in Kentucky!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151024.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:58am EDT

George Washington's Scottish distiller never made single malt whisky at Mount Vernon in the 18th Century, but Scottish distillers John Campbell, Bill Lumsden, and Andy Cant did in the spring of 2012. They returned to Virginia this week to bottle that whisky for charity, and the first set of two bottles sold at the Spirit of Mount Vernon gala for $26,000. We'll hear from the distillers on the challenge of making whisky the "old school" way on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Pappy Van Winkle shortages will be even worse than usual this year, another rare Bourbon is making a comeback, and Irish Whiskey experts honor this year's crop of whiskies in the Irish Whiskey Awards.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151017.mp3
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It's rare that we talk about spirits other than whiskies on WhiskyCast, but with many people complaining that rising prices for single malts are forcing them to seek alternatives, it's a good time to take another look at Armagnacs. We first looked at the French spirit back in 2007, and while whisky prices have been rising sharply, prices for vintage Armagnacs have been rising much more slowly. Florence Castarède is the sixth generation of her family to manage Armagnac Castarède, and we'll discuss Armagnacs with her on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Sazerac plans to revive the Michael Collins Irish Whiskey brand - just in time for the centennial of the Irish revolutionary's rise to prominence during the Irish Civil War. Shakespeare asked "what's in a name" -- and two whisky makers are asking that after winding up with the same name on their whiskies...and Neiman Marcus has the $125,000 answer to the question "what to give a whisky lover who has everything."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151010.mp3
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Earlier this year, Japan's Nikka Whisky announced plans to replace many of its age-statement single malts with new no-age-statement versions. The company's past projections of estimated demand couldn't have forecast the current boom in Japanese whisky sales, and Nikka didn't lay down enough whisky to meet today's demand. We'll discuss the situation with Nikka's chief blender, Tadashi Sakuma, on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Brown-Forman has started construction of its new distillery at Ireland's Slane Castle, and the popularity of flavored whiskies may lead to a sale of its Southern Comfort whiskey liqueur. Heaven Hill's warehouses have yielded a treasure from the old Stitzel-Weller Distillery, and we now know what The Glenlivet's Alan Winchester had in mind when he hinted earlier this year that he'd been experimenting with peat.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20151004.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:17pm EDT

In this special bonus episode from Whisky Live Paris, we'll have more highlights from one of Europe's top whisky festivals. We'll look at the recent controversy over a legal definition of France's Breton Whisky, and hear from an American making single malt whisky in England...the very idea might make some heads explode in Scotland! In the news, Taiwan's award-winning King Car Distillery is starting a massive expansion project -- not just doubling production capacity, but boosting it by five times as much! There's also more news on new whiskies from around the world, along with tasting notes and much more...

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150928.mp3
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This time around, we're in Paris for the first of two episodes this weekend from Whisky Live Paris! Each year, Whisky Live Paris draws whisky fans and whisky makers from all over the world, and this year, that includes a record number of American distillers as Europeans discover a taste for US-made craft whiskies as well as their larger counterparts. We'll talk with several US distillers who made the trip to Paris as part of WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, one of Ireland's newest distilleries is already kicking off an expansion program, while construction at one of Kentucky's newest distilleries is well underway with a goal of opening next June. We'll also check on some of the new whiskies being introduced this weekend in Paris, and taste some, too!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150926.mp3
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Sam Mead is a fifth-generation rancher, but never had any interest in distilling...until he came back home to work at Wyoming Whiskey, the distillery his parents founded in 2006. He started at the bottom milling grain, and eventually discovered the distilling bug within him. After a series of changes at the distillery, he wound up being the head distiller (and won't allow people to call him a "master distiller"). We're on the trail in Wyoming this week, and we'll hear from Sam Mead on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also have coverage of this week's Kentucky Bourbon Festival, including a rare interview with Parker Beam after he received the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame's first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150919.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 4:38am EDT

The Glenrothes was one of the first Scotch Whisky distilleries to label its single malts with wine-style vintages instead of age statements. While the Berry Bros. & Rudd-owned brand remains committed to vintages, it's re-launching its entire range of vintage-less whiskies known as The Glenrothes Reserve Collection. Luke Tegner of Berry Bros. & Rudd was in New York City this week to introduce the new range, and joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss the changes. We also have a lot of new whiskies to talk about this week, including the annual Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, single grains from a closed Glasgow distillery, more Laphroaig 200th anniversary single malts, and new expressions from Arran, Burn Stewart, The Dalmore, and more...along with a special segment on whisky and space!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150912.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:52pm EDT

Louisville isn't just famous for Bourbon...it's also becoming a popular city for culinary connoisseurs, and the foodies are flocking to Chef John Varanese's restaurant specializing in New American cuisine. The menu at Varanese also gets a lot of inspiration from Bourbon, and we'll kick off Bourbon Heritage Month in Kentucky by talking whisky and cuisine with Chef Varanese on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there's a new #1 at the top of the Single Malt Scotch whisky sales rankings and a new #1 at the top of the list of oldest Scotch whiskies ever bottled. We'll also have details on new whiskies from around the world and much more on this week's WhiskyCast.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150905.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:08am EDT

Kieran Folliard is a native son of Ireland, but calls Minnesota his home now. While running a group of Irish pubs in Minneapolis, he and his staff decided they should sell their own special Irish whiskey. Two Gingers became so successful in the pubs that Folliard decided to sell his stake in the pubs to his staff and make a go of Two Gingers, which was named for his mother and aunt back in Ireland. He wound up selling his brand to Beam, while retaining control over the day-to-day management. We'll hear more from this Irish entrepreneur on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Heaven Hill's hoping to raise more money for ALS treatment and research with the 2015 Parker's Heritage Collection whiskey and Old Forester honors its founder with the annual Birthday Bourbon. In Scotland, Royal Brackla finally gets its due as a single malt, Edinburgh could soon have its first malt whisky distillery in 90 years, and a forgotten time capsule yields a really old bottle of whisky!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150829.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:29pm EDT

Many American craft distillers produce single malt whiskies, but Seattle's Westland Distillery is one of the few that only produces single malts. The distillery in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood also produces one of the few peated American single malts, and while Westland is currently importing peated malt from Scotland, that's about to change. The distillery has exclusive rights to one of the only harvestable peat bogs in the Pacific Northwest, and is working with Skagit Valley farmers and a local malting house to produce Washington-grown peated malt for distilling. We'll visit the distillery -- and the peat bog -- on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Four Roses' Jim Rutledge goes out with a bang, Bowmore goes to Japan for its latest cask finish, and we'll go bottom-shelf in this week's tasting notes.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150822.mp3
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The "Bourbon Boom" has led to a corresponding boom in the publishing industry, with almost as many new Bourbon books as there are Bourbons on the market. Fred Minnick's second whisky book, "Bourbon Curious" not only shares some of the history behind many Bourbon brands, but breaks down many of them by flavor characteristics to help new Bourbon fans find the whiskies they're most likely to enjoy. Fred's based in Louisville, and keeps a close eye on the Bourbon industry. On this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth, we sat down over drams to discuss his book and the state of Bourbon today, including the growing interest among distillers in using technology to do what only time has been proven to do successfully, create a mature whisky. In the news, longtime Burn Stewart whisky guru Ian Macmillan is leaving to become Bladnoch's new master distiller and blender as part of that distillery's revival, the still maker under scrutiny following April's distillery explosion in Kentucky is keeping quiet, and we'll have a roundup of the week's new whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150817.mp3
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This week, we're on location at the M.B. Roland Distillery in Pembroke, Kentucky for a special benefit to raise money for the Lifting Spirits - Jay & Kyle Rogers Support Fund. Jay and Kyle were critically burned in the April 24th still explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin, Kentucky, and while Kyle died of his injuries two weeks later, Jay is well on the road to recovery. He and Silver Trail founder Spencer Balentine will share their stories of that tragic day and the weeks since then with us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also hear from M.B. Roland co-founder Paul Tomaszewski on why he and his wife opened their distillery to help Silver Trail get back in business. In the news, another suspect has pleaded guilty in the Kentucky Bourbon theft ring, Nashville's Corsair Artisan Distillery is expanding again in the Tennessee capital, another new Irish distillery has opened, and a 110-year-old New Jersey woman credits her longevity to a dram and three beers a day for the last 70 years!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150808.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:08am EDT

Scotland's Bladnoch Distillery will be 200 years old in 2017, but for more than a year, it was fair to question whether one of the oldest Lowlands distilleries would be around for that milestone. The questions about Bladnoch's future have been answered with the distillery's sale to Australian entrepreneur David Prior, who's making a "substantial investment" in equipment upgrades with plans to resume distilling in 12 to 18 months. We caught up with Prior in Bali during a combination business and surfing trip to discuss his plans for Bladnoch, including a release this fall of vintage casks maturing in the distillery's warehouses. He'll also explain why he decided to buy a distillery in Scotland instead of investing in Australia's growing whisky industry. In the news, investigators have released their report on the Silver Trail Distillery explosion in Kentucky, while the state's distillers are using the tragedy to start a new safety initiative. We'll also have details on two new distillery projects in Kentucky, a reprieve for a French distillery, and the week's new whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150801.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:07pm EDT

The history of Bourbon is filled with enough myths to make a dozen Disney movies, enough crimes for years of True Detective, and enough mysteries to make Sherlock Holmes hang up his deerstalker cap. In part two of our conversation with "Bourbon Empire" author Reid Mitenbuler, we'll look at the crimes, corruption, and prejudice that are part of Bourbon's past, as well as the resurgence of craft distilling and other factors that give Bourbon a bright future. In the news, Brown-Forman has started work on its new Old Forester Distillery on Louisville's Whiskey Row two weeks after a four-alarm fire threatened the $45 million dollar project, Utah's High West has opened its new distillery outside of Park City, and a rock group is lending its name to a new Irish whiskey.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150725.mp3
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Bourbon has a unique place in American history, but as with other elements of American history...many of the stories of Bourbon are based more on myth and legend than actual facts, and the truth often gets lost over decades of marketing mythology. Reid Mitenbuler debunks many of the myths and provides historical context in his book "Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey." He'll share some of his stories with us in the first of a two-part interview on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a more recent whiskey tale will cost Templeton Rye thousands of dollars in refunds and legal fees after the Iowa company settled three class-action lawsuits in what Templeton Rye co-founder Keith Kerkhoff called "legalized stealing." Scottish National Party activists want the Edinburgh government to intervene in the Scotch Whisky industry to keep more profits in Scotland, and we'll have details on new whiskies from Jack Daniel's, The Famous Grouse, The Dalmore, Pendleton, and more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150719.mp3
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There are dozens of stakeholders in the Scotch Whisky industry, and while they do work together on a few key fronts, their competitive nature makes it difficult to set aside their own needs for the common good. Victor Brierley is on a one-man mission to change all that with an ambitious dream of creating a unified marketing platform for Scotch Whisky. He'll share his plans with us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, sparks from a construction worker's tool are being blamed for this week's Whiskey Row fire in Louisville, while high winds get the blame for tearing roofs off two Heaven Hill warehouses in Bardstown. We'll also have word on new whiskies from Johnnie Walker and Kininvie, along with tasting notes for a collaboration between four craft distillers.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150711.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:41pm EDT

Jim Rutledge gets most of the credit for reviving Four Roses Bourbon in the US over the last decade after years of neglect by the brand's previous owners, who shipped the distillery's high-quality Bourbon to export markets while giving domestic consumers a cheaply blended Four Roses American Whiskey instead. This week, Rutledge announced his plans to retire September 1 after 49 years with Seagram and Four Roses, and will become the distillery's Master Distiller Emeritus. We'll talk with Jim about his plans for the future, and how the success of Four Roses in recent years came with a personal cost. We'll also talk about whisky and food with award-winning chef David Bouley, discuss Suntory's new Hibiki Japanese Harmony whisky with blender Shinji Fukuyo, and preview the upcoming Harlem Whiskey Festival.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150704.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 7:59pm EDT

Just as whisky brands need to change things up once in a while to remain fresh, so do whisky festivals. Tickets have gone on sale for this September's Kentucky Bourbon Festival, and while most of the changes this year are taking place behind the scenes, next year's 25th edition of the festival should look very different. We'll talk with the Bourbon Festival's new executive director, Jill Hawkins, on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Silver Trail Distillery's Jay Rogers is back home two months after the explosion that destroyed the distillery, Heaven Hill is planning to expand the Bernheim Distillery in Louisville to avoid Bourbon shortages in the future while introducing a new/old Rye whiskey, Chivas Brothers opens the Dalmunach Distillery in Speyside, and Prince Charles visits Islay to help Ardbeg and Laphroaig celebrate their 200th anniversaries.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150627.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:12pm EDT

It's Father's Day weekend, and we have two stories to share on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. Euan Henderson didn't want to work in the whisky business when he left school, but when your father is veteran distillery manager Iain Henderson, it's hard not to wind up in the family business. Euan's now a team leader at Aberlour, Glenallachie, and Tormore distilleries...and he'll share his story - and his dream to ultimately follow in his father's footsteps - with us. We'll also talk with Phil Brandon, who's beaming like a proud papa this weekend as his Rock Town Distillery in Little Rock, Arkansas celebrates its fifth anniversary. Like any toddler, Rock Town's had some growing pains, too...and Phil discusses them all with us. In the news, Nikka makes the tough decision to replace its entire single malt range with no-age-statement versions because of inventory shortages, a billionaire gets into the whisky business with a new Baltimore distillery, and Heaven Hill is bringing back a revered name in rye whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150620.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:46am EDT

Dave Schmier and Michael Kandar started Bardstown Barrel Selections five years ago to bottle some casks of good whiskey they'd come across from MGP-I in Indiana, but their Redemption Rye business took off. In this case, success was too much of a good thing, and the partners ran out of capital to keep investing in new casks. This week, they sold Redemption Rye to Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits, which has already completed a long-term supply contract and plans to take the brand nationwide as part of its push into the whiskey business. We'll hear from Dave Schmier and Deutsch president Tom Steffanci on WhiskyCast In-Depth, and in the news, we'll look at a bunch of new whiskies hitting the market ranging from Bottled in Bond Bourbons to experiments with Oregon Oak and much more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150613.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:16am EDT

This week, we're looking at the end of an experiment nearly 14 years in the making...Buffalo Trace's Single Oak Project. The attempt to create "Bourbon's Holy Grail" used 96 trees to make 192 special casks filled with whiskey for 8 years, with nearly 1,400 different possible variables that could have an impact on the final whiskey. More than 5,000 people posted their tasting notes on the 192 different bottlings, but it took a team of whisky writers to make the final selection from five finalists. We'll discuss the results with Buffalo Trace CEO Mark Brown, along with the fallout from the "PappyGate" series of whiskey thefts, the distillery's expansion plans, and projections for future Bourbon supplies. In the news, Diageo's Bulleit Bourbon is the latest brand to face a class-action lawsuit over the language on its labels, Brown-Forman is jumping into the growing Irish Whiskey market with a $50 million deal for Slane Castle's fledgling distillery, and we'll have the latest on the week's new whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150606.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:32am EDT

Irish Whiskey once dominated the world, but several factors combined to nearly wipe the country's distillers out over time. While it's now the fastest-growing segment of the whisky industry, Ireland's distillers only have a 4% share of the global market - and now have ambitious plans to triple that over the next 15 years. Irish Whiskey Association chairman Bernard Walsh explains just how he and his colleagues plan to do that on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, more details are coming out about exactly what happened in last month's Silver Trail Distillery explosion, along with another round of arraignments in the Kentucky Bourbon thefts. There's also good news with expansion plans at Four Roses and another new distillery in Scotland, and The Glenlivet is shaking up its travel retail range of single malts...we'll have the details along with a roundup of the week's new whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150530.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:06am EDT

Gordon & MacPhail reopened Benromach Distillery in Speyside in 1998 after 15 years of inactivity, and Keith Cruickshank has been there since the stills were fired up. After two years as a stillman, he was promoted to distillery manager, and remains one of the three men who tend the stills at Benromach. He'll take us on a tour of the distillery on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a lawsuit has been filed in connection with last month's explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Kentucky, and we have the first interview with the man who built Silver Trail's still and now faces a product liability lawsuit, Terry Wilhelm of Revenoor Stills. Five of the nine people indicted last month in connection with the Kentucky Bourbon thefts appeared in court this week, and a tenth person has been indicted on charges she looked the other way as whiskey was being stolen from Buffalo Trace. We'll also have a roundup of the week's new whiskies, including several Feis Ile festival bottlings.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150523.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:06am EDT

The labels on whisky bottles often give us more than just the legal description of what's inside the bottle. Good ones convey the character and heritage of the spirit...perhaps even a sense of what it tastes like. Author Noah Rothbaum has been looking at whisky labels from before Prohibition to the present day, and picked 100 of them for his new book "The Art of American Whiskey." He'll share the story behind the book in this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, one of the victims of last month's Silver Trail Distillery explosion has died, distillers in Ireland have ambitious plans for the future, and we'll have details on the week's new whiskies along with tasting notes for the new Glenmorangie Duthac, the Ben Nevis 10-year-old single malt, and the new Compass Box Hedonism Quindecimus.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150516.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:07am EDT

This episode wraps up our special coverage of the Spirit of Speyside Festival in Scotland, and we'll hear from soccer's Michael Owen. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star is working with Speyside Distillery as a global ambassador for its Spey single malts, and surprised visitors touring the distillery last Monday. He'll tell us why his whisky is better than David Beckham's Haig Club. We'll also look at another pairing -- this one matching whisky with bacon rolls, and George Grant of Glenfarclas let festival visitors pick the distillery's next Family Cask release. In the news, two of the Kentucky Bourbon theft defendants have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with prosecutors, Maker's Mark has won a court battle in Florida, and we'll have a roundup of new whiskies from all over the world.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150509.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:38am EDT

Lots of people try to pair whiskies with foods, but pairing whiskies with music? That's the challenge Neil Ridley and Joel Harrison took on when they curated the "Sound of Aberlour" tastings for this year's Spirit of Speyside Festival. We'll continue our special coverage from Speyside with Neil and Joel, along with the drams and musicians they put together. In the news, Glen Grant's Dennis Malcolm received the inaugural "Spirit of Speyside Award" for his contributions to both the whisky industry and the community, and we'll have the latest on a bunch of new whiskies from Speyside, the Highlands, and all over Scotland...along with music from Charlie McCarron and his friends performing at Fleming Hall in Aberlour.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150502a.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:48pm EDT

We're kicking off this weekend's special coverage of the Spirit of Speyside Festival in Scotland this time around! Thousands of people from around the world are in Speyside this weekend, and you'll hear some of them take part in a blind whisky nosing and tasting competition. With the "PappyGate" arrests fresh in the news, we'll get a glimpse into the ancient art of whisky thievery with Glenfiddich's Ian Millar, and there's plenty of news as well!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150501.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:26am EDT

It's been a busy week in the whisky world, and there's a lot to talk about on this episode. We'll have the latest on Friday's explosion at the Silver Trail Distillery in Hardin, Kentucky that left distillers Jay Rogers and Kyle Rogers critically burned, along with the outpouring of support for them following the accident. Nine people were indicted in the theft of thousands of dollars worth of Pappy Van Winkle, Buffalo Trace, and Wild Turkey Bourbon in Kentucky, but there's a viral campaign seeking a pardon...for the whiskey. Finally, Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan suddenly announced his plan to retire in July after 52 years in the whisky business...so he really can spend more time with his family. We'll have all that, plus more of the week's news and tasting notes for one of Jim McEwan's favorite whiskies along with two single malts from 1975.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150425.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:57am EDT

If distilleries have ghosts, the ones haunting the former Old Taylor Distillery in Kentucky finally have some people to scare. After nearly 43 years, the historic distillery is being restored with plans to begin distilling by the end of this year and open to visitors in the spring of 2016. Marianne Barnes left Brown-Forman recently to oversee the project for the distillery's partners and will be the master distiller when production begins. She joins us for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth with an update on the progress of bringing the old site back to life and trying to recreate the Bourbon that was originally made there for decades. In the news, investigators may announce indictments in the Pappy van Winkle and Wild Turkey Bourbon thefts this week, Scotland's newest distillery has been dedicated, and Scotch Whisky is helping global drinks companies weather the decline in Chinese spirits sales.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150418.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:35am EDT

This week, we're on location at the Maker's Mark Distillery in Loretto, Kentucky for the annual Maker's Mark Handcraft Festival and the running of the Maker's 46 Mile at Lexington's Keeneland Race Course. Friday also brought an estimated 1,000 whisky and Kentucky basketball fans to Keeneland for the annual signing of the Maker's Mark Keeneland charity bottle. This year's bottle honors legendary University of Kentucky basketball coach Adolph Rupp, and several of his former players spent hours signing bottles for the fans who turned out at Keeneland. We'll have a complete wrap-up of the weekend's events on this week's WhiskyCast. In the news, Tennessee's controversial whiskey law will stand for at least another year after a repeal attempt was scrapped, Scottish doctors want to see the drinking age raised from 18 to 21, and we'll get the latest on new whiskies from BenRiach, Amrut, High West, and Heaven Hill.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150411.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:42am EDT

Bacardi took a step into the Bourbon business this week with its acquisition of Angel's Share Brands, the parent company of Angel's Envy Bourbon and the Louisville Distilling Company's distillery under construction in Louisville. The deal is a friendly one, since Bacardi had owned a small stake in Angel's Share since it was founded by the late Lincoln Henderson and his partners in 2006. Henderson's son Wes and the other Angel's Share executives will run the company as a separate division within Bacardi, and he joins us to discuss the reasons behind the sale on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Bacardi has also acquired a small share in Compass Box as part of a larger deal to supply whisky for the Compass Box blends, one of the whisky industry's major travel retail companies is being sold, and the Scotch Malt Whisky Society is changing hands, too.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150404.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:13am EDT

Suntory Holdings CEO Takeshi Niinami is one of Japan's leading business executives. He's the first CEO from outside the founding Torii family, and is also a key economic adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinz┼Ź Abe. He inherited last year's $16 billion acquisition of Beam when he joined Suntory six months ago, and has been focused on making the deal work while changing Suntory's internal culture. We'll discuss the growing pains of the deal, which made Beam Suntory the world's #3 spirits company, with Takeshi Niinami on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, a preliminary ruling in one lawsuit against a "handmade" spirits maker could be a sign of problems for whisky makers facing similar lawsuits, Four Roses plans another round of construction in Bourbon Country, and milestones mean commemorative bottlings of whiskies from around the world.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150328.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:47pm EDT

US President Barack Obama visited a whisky maker for the first time this week during his trip to Cleveland for a speech to the City Club of Cleveland. He visited the small business incubator that's home to Tom Lix's Cleveland Whiskey, along with nearly two dozen other small manufacturers. Lix's proprietary -- and controversial -- process takes young whiskey and gives it what Lix claims is the color, aroma, and taste of older Bourbons. He'll tell us about the President's visit and discuss his process on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the investigation into the theft of whiskey from a Wild Turkey warehouse in Kentucky continues, Jim Beam fights back in the courts, another "world" whisky is named the World's Best Single Malt, and a Japanese CEO has banned his executives from drinking some of his company's own whiskies to make more available for consumers.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150321.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:36pm EDT

Anthony Bourdain is many things...a chef, author, journalist, and media personality. At heart, though, he's a hedonist seeking pleasure from everything he encounters - including whisky. The host of CNN's "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" was the lead juror for this year's American Craft Council Rare Craft Fellowship Awards presented by The Balvenie, and we spent a few minutes discussing whisky at Tuesday's awards luncheon in New York City. He'll share his thoughts on the global interest in whisky, along with his take on what defines a "craft" whisky and more on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth.

In the news, a Buffalo Trace employee has been arrested has been made in the theft of five barrels of Bourbon from Wild Turkey, and investigators are looking for any links to the infamous 2013 "Pappygate" theft. Scotch Whisky industry leaders are hoping for a tax cut in this coming week's UK budget announcement, and a Bourbon brand not sold in the US for two decades is coming back. We'll also have plenty of feedback on last week's interview with class-action attorney Abbas Kazerounian on his consumer fraud lawsuits against Jim Beam and Maker's Mark over their claims of being "hand-made."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150314.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:48pm EDT

Lawyers are circling around the whisky industry, much like sharks around a shipwreck. At least five different US distillers and bottlers have been hit with class-action lawsuits since last September accusing them of misleading consumers. The litigation largely focuses on whether their whiskies are "hand-made," "small-batch," or claim to come from a small-scale distillery that actually purchases bulk whiskey from larger distillers.

This week on WhiskyCast In-Depth, we'll hear from one of the attorneys targeting the whisky industry. Abbas Kazerounian's California law firm specializes in class-action consumer cases, and is currently suing Maker's Mark, Jim Beam, and Tito's Vodka over claims that their products are hand-made. His goal is to get drinks producers to be more honest with consumers, and plans to expand that fight to Scotch Whisky and other spirits as well. Beam Suntory declined to make anyone available to discuss the lawsuits, but company spokesmen have said the lawsuits are without merit.

In the news, George Dickel master distiller John Lunn is leaving Diageo for a new opportunity, Brown-Forman plans to turn up the heat on Fireball with its Jack Daniel's Tennessee Fire, and two sides are squabbling over the trademark rights to a historic distillery name. This week's tasting notes feature The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve and the Evan Williams Single Barrel 2005 Vintage Bourbon.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150307.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:20pm EDT

Lots to talk about this week, with news from all over the world! Bruichladdich's Jim McEwan joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth to talk about the world's peatiest whisky ever -- his Octomore 6.3 with a phenol level of 258ppm! We'll also hear about new whiskies from Tomatin, Duncan Taylor, Midleton, and Whistlepig...the latest on Teeling Whiskey's new Dublin distillery that could be ready to make whiskey by St. Patrick's Day, and look at the Bourbon boom with Beam Suntory's chief of marketing and sales for Whiskies and Cognacs, Chris Bauder. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150228.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:05pm EDT

For the second straight year, a Texas whiskey has won Best in Show honors at the American Craft Spirits Association competition. San Antonio's Ranger Creek Brewing & Distilling .36 Single Barrel Straight Bourbon beat a field of whiskies and other spirits from around the US. Ranger Creek co-founder Mark McDavid joins us this week on WhiskyCast In-Depth to share the story behind that whiskey and the distillery. In the news, a California law firm is challenging Beam Suntory on two fronts now over claims that Jim Beam and Maker's Mark are "hand-made", a distilling prodigy is leaving Brown-Forman for the craft distilling world, and doctors don't want us to confuse the "Bourbon Virus" with the "Whisky Bug".

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150221.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:02am EDT

It's Valentine's Day, and who better to explain his passion for making whisky than Rifino Valentine of Valentine Distilling. His Woodward Ltd. Bourbon is named after Detroit's legendary Woodward Avenue, which runs just a couple of blocks away from his distillery in the suburb of Ferndale, Michigan. Valentine is preparing to move from his original site to a brand-new facility in Ferndale, and is part of a craft distilling boom in the Detroit area. We'll talk with Rifino Valentine and his head distiller, Justin Aden, on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. There are plenty of new whiskies to talk about this week, and we'll also have more tasting notes from the #28DramsIn28Days project.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150214.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:08am EDT

Ian MacMillan has been overseeing the whiskies from Deanston, Tobermory, and Bunnahabhain for years...but Cognac casks were one thing he hadn't experimented much with until the opportunity presented itself several years ago. The result is the new Deanston 18 Cognac Matured single malt that's being released in the US this month. We'll discuss Cognac casks with Ian on WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with his other single malts and his new take on the Black Bottle blend In the news, there's word that The Glenlivet may be replacing its flagship 12-year-old expression with the no-age-statement Founder's Reserve in some markets, old stills from Islay will be getting a new life in Ireland, and whisky sales keep growing in the US. We'll also kick off the #28DramsIn28Days series of tasting notes, too.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150207.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Graeme Macaloney gave up a secure career in the pharmaceutical industry to pursue his dream of making whisky, and the Scottish expat is getting closer to realizing his dream. He's hoping to begin construction on the Victoria Caledonian Distillery in Victoria, British Columbia soon, and has already brought Dr. Jim Swan and former Diageo distillery manager Mike Nicolson as consultants. Graeme explains why he and his family mortgaged their future (and their house) on his dream on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Wild Turkey's Eddie Russell joins us to discuss his promotion to Master Distiller alongside his father, the legendary Jimmy Russell. We'll also look at whisky economics in Scotland, where a new report estimates the industry's economic impact at £5 billion annually. There's word on new whiskies from anCnoc and GlenDronach, and this week's tasting notes include whiskies from Kentucky, Texas, Scotland, and France!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150131.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:52am EDT

Kentucky's Four Roses Distillery announced this week that supply problems will prevent this spring's release of the annual Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel Bourbon. In his first interview on the subject, master distiller Jim Rutledge explains why dropping the limited-edition release will make more single barrel bottlings available to consumers, along with the prospects for bringing back the annual release in the future. In the news, Scotch Whisky producers are preparing for a fight with Westminster over taxes, we have more details on last weekend's Sunday Herald report about water usage violations at some Scottish distilleries, US regulators are cracking down on vague age statements, and there are new whiskies to talk about from Woodford Reserve and Glenmorangie. Finally, tasters at an event planned for Valentine's Day in London may really detect a note of sweat in their whiskies...

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150124.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:15am EDT

In the second of our two episodes from this weekend’s Victoria Whisky Festival, we'll catch up on more of the week's news - including more details on the $50,000 bottle of The Balvenie 50 stolen in a Montreal robbery Thursday and a Scottish newspaper report that several distilleries are in hot water with environmental protection officials over using too much water. We'll also get the latest on new whiskies from Springbank, the revival of a historic blended Scotch brand, and Corby's Dr. Don Livermore clears up more misconceptions about Canadian Whisky.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150118.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 1:51am EDT

We're on the road for the first time in 2015 this weekend, with the first of two episodes from the 10th annual Victoria Whisky Festival in Victoria, British Columbia. The weekend kicked off with the annual Canadian Whisky Awards presentation Thursday night at the Hotel Grand Pacific, including a special Lifetime Achievement Award presented to Forty Creek founder John Hall. We'll hear from John and Canadian Whisky Awards founder Davin de Kergommeaux on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Montreal police are looking for a robber with very expensive taste in whisky following a holdup Thursday at the SAQ's flagship store in Montreal, Collingwood Rye takes Canadian Whisky of the Year honors, and Beam Suntory plans to export Alberta Premium for the first time.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150117.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:15pm EDT

On New Year's Day, David Perkins and his team at Utah's High West Distillery fired up the still at their new distillery for the first time. High West has been making whiskey since 2009 at its historic distillery and restaurant in the heart of Park City, and while the current distillery will continue, the bulk of High West's production will eventually come from the new facility located on a dude ranch and resort along Interstate 80 a few miles north of Park City. Perkins joins us to discuss the new distillery on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also have details on the latest chapter in the Balcones saga, a fake whisky scam in the UK, new whiskies from Aultmore and Balblair, and tasting notes on whiskies from Glencadam, Glenfiddich, and a new single barrel from Crown Royal.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150110.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 12:26am EDT

Irish whiskey will take another step in 2015 with the first exports of Yellow Spot to the US market, still the strongest market in the world for Irish whiskey sales. While Yellow Spot is produced by Irish Distillers at Midleton Distillery near Cork, the brand is owned by Dublin-based whisky and wine merchant Mitchell & Son. Robert Mitchell is the latest family member to head up the 210-year-old business, and joins us to discuss this month's US launch of Yellow Spot, along with the global potential for Irish whiskey sales. In the news, Japan's Nikka Whisky is mourning the death of former president Takeshi Taketsuru, the adopted son of founder Masataka Taketsuru, Chip Tate is expected to announce more details on his new Texas distillery this coming week, and Laphroaig will revive its 15-year-old Islay single malt for 2015 as part of the distillery's 200th anniversary celebration.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20150103.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:16pm EDT