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

What would you think of someone who gives up a successful career to make Bourbon for a living? If you said they should seek professional help, Dr. Kaveh Zamanian might not disagree with you. Then again, that's just what this highly trained psychoanalyst did, setting aside his practice to form Rabbit Hole Distilling in Louisville. We'll talk with him on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth and get an update from Sweden with Mackmyra's Angela Forsgren D'Orazio. In the news, the saga of Australia's Nant Distillery is headed for court again, Tullibardine gets a new master blender, and John Glaser revives Compass Box's Double Single blend with a new edition.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170521.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:38am EDT

Most Scotch Whisky distilleries source their malted barley from large commercial maltsters today, but a handful of distilleries still maintain their own floor maltings to supply at least some of their malt. This week, we'll visit one of the malting floors at Highland Park and hear how they still do things the old-fashioned way. In the news, Heaven Hill master distiller Denny Potter gets a promotion, Scotch Whisky industry leaders are keeping an eye on the candidates in next month's UK parliamentary elections, and we'll update the story of Glen Fargo American Malt Whisky's trademark battle.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170514.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:06pm EDT

Denmark is known for its beers and aquavit, but is starting to develop a reputation for whiskies as well with distilleries like Braunstein and Stauning winning awards for their rye and single malt whiskies. Nyborg Destillerie hopes to make its own mark when it releases its first single malts next month and opens its new distillery to the public after laying down casks since 2009. Kim Møller-Elshøj is Nyborg's chief blender, and sat down with Mark Gillespie in Copenhagen the other day to talk about making whisky with a unique Danish character and passion, and you'll hear our conversation on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Edrington has acquired The Glenrothes and reunited the Speyside distillery with its single malt brand. We'll also find out how making Scotch Whisky has made one Scottish family very wealthy, and Hollywood is coming to Bourbon Country as an upcoming new movie depicts a band of secret agents as...Bourbon distillers. The latest movie in the Kingsman saga may not get four stars from the critics, but we have a rare 98-point whisky in this week's tasting notes!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170507.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:17pm EDT

This week, we're in Copenhagen, Denmark for the launch of Highland Park's new Valkyrie single malt and new packaging for its core range that doubles down on the Orkney distillery's Viking heritage. The Vikings ruled Scotland's Orkney Islands for around 800 years, and one out of three Orcadians today can still trace some of their lineage back to the Vikings. It's been ten years since Highland Park started embracing that lineage, and we'll discuss the thought processes behind a brand makeover with Highland Park's Jason Craig and Danish designer Jim Lyngvild, who created Valkyrie's unique look - and traces his own Viking heritage back to one of Orkney's early rulers. We'll also discuss the process of creating a new whisky from scratch with Highland Park's lead whisky maker, Gordon Motion. In the news, Scotch Whisky exports rose in 2015 on stronger sales overseas following the Brexit-induced freefall of the British pound. Environmental activists and the whisky industry are both criticizing a Scottish Government plan that could open up Scotland to fracking for shale gas with possible environmental impacts. Louisville now has its own official "Bourbon District" along Main Street's Whiskey Row, and a Speyside cooper set a new world record this weekend during the Spirit of Speyside Festival.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170430.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:23pm EDT

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. 

 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170423.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32am EDT

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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170416.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:55pm EDT

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 PriceWaterhouse Coopers 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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170409.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:37pm EDT

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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170402.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:36pm EDT

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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170326.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:49pm EDT

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.  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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170319.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:38pm EDT

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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170312.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:41am EDT

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.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170305.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

This week, we're in Ireland for the debut of the new Method And Madness range of Irish Whiskies from Irish Distillers. The name comes from the collaboration between Midleton's veteran masters and their apprentices, and it gives us a chance to catch up on Killian O'Mahony's story. In September of 2013, we first met Killian shortly after he became Ireland's first apprentice cooper in decades under the tutelage of Midleton Master Cooper Ger Buckley. Nearly four years later, his training is nearly complete, and we'll hear from both apprentice and master on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Scotch Whisky exports rose in 2016 after three years of declines, with single malt exports reaching an all-time record. One of Scotland's largest trade unions is worried about the future of those exports after Brexit, and is demanding the British government protect the whisky industry's jobs after the UK leaves the European Union. We'll also have a sneak preview of the Old Jameson Distillery in Dublin, which is about to reopen after months of renovation with a new focus...and a new name.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170226.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

Camden, New Jersey has a long manufacturing heritage dating back decades, but the city's glory days ended decades ago - leaving behind empty buildings, crime, and many other problems. James Yoakum is one of the entrepreneurs trying to bring back some of that faded glory with Cooper River Distillers in the heart of downtown Camden. He's been making whiskies and rums for the last couple of years, and stopped by our studio the other day with a sample of his first batch of Cooper River Bourbon. The Kentucky native tells us why he gave up on the real estate business to open an urban microdistillery on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. The whisky world lost two of its leaders this week, and we'll honor the legacies of Silvano Samaroli and Dr. Jim Swan. While we never had the chance to interview Silvano Samaroli, Jim Swan was a frequent guest on WhiskyCast, and we'll listen to part of a 2007 interview with him in the news. We'll also have details on master blender Rachel Barrie's decision to leave Beam Suntory to join BenRiach as its lead whisky maker, along with details on what the new trade deal between Canada and the European Union means for whisky lovers.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170219.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 2:09pm EDT

This week, we'll be talking about money and politics along with whisky, and of course, there are connections between all three. With the world's attention focused on the transition to the Trump Administration in the U.S., the spirits industry is hoping to benefit from what it sees as a pro-business atmosphere in Washington. We'll discuss the political climate with Distilled Spirits Council CEO Kraig Naasz, and we'll get Wall Street's perspective with David Bolton of Spirited Funds and Alex Gordon of ETF Managers Group. They're behind a new exchange-traded fund that gives investors the ability to buy into the global whisky industry on the stock market. In the news, Beam Suntory plans to close its Canadian Club brand home in Windsor, Ontario next month, and the city's mayor will meet with company executives in Chicago this week to make the case for keeping it open. Bourbon has become Kentucky's fastest-growing industry, with an $8.5 billion economic impact on the state's economy each year...while the wider U.S. spirits industry also showed significant growth in 2016. We'll have details on the week's new whiskies, and this week's tasting notes include single malts from Scotland, India, and Ireland!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170212.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:48pm EDT

It's hard for some people to retire. Jim McEwan says he was pacing around his home on Islay "like a tiger" after retiring from Bruichladdich a year and a half ago...so when Stewart Laing offered him the chance to help build his family's new Ardnahoe Distillery on Islay from the ground up, Jim pounced on the offer. Stewart and his sons recently broke ground on the Hunter Laing & Co.-owned distillery overlooking Port Askaig, with plans to start distilling whisky next year. Jim shares the reasons behind his decision with us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also get some historical perspective from Irish Whiskey historian Fionnán O'Connor on Diageo's plans to revive the legendary Roe & Co. whiskey brand and build a new distillery at its Guinness St. James's Gate complex in Dublin. In the news, Distell plans to spend the next two years reworking its Tobermory Distillery and single malt brand, while another distillery project has been approved in Northern Ireland...and we'll also take a look at the week's new whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170205.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 11:24pm EDT

Marcio Ramos started his whisky journey as a bartender in his hometown of Lisbon, Portugal...but thought he'd left the whisky business behind when he moved to Canada a couple of years ago. That didn't last long, as he wound up becoming Beam Suntory's Canadian brand ambassador for Bowmore, Laphroaig, and Suntory's whiskies. Now, he spends his time traveling all over Canada, expanding his horizons and those of the people who attend his tastings. He'll share his story with us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we'll catch up on new Kentucky Bourbons with a vintage heritage, the tourism boom along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail, a distillery project in England that's being criticized by neighbors as "too Scottish," and the announcement Bourbon and ice cream lovers have been waiting for from Ben & Jerry's.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170129.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 10:44pm EDT

This week, we're on location at the Victoria Whisky Festival in British Columbia! We'll discuss a new range of premium Canadian whiskies coming this fall from the Hiram Walker Distillery with master blender Dr. Don Livermore, and sit down for a dram with veteran whisky writer Dave Broom to solve some of the whisky world's problems. In the news, there's a new Canadian Whisky of the Year, and we'll have highlights from the 2017 Canadian Whisky Awards, along with another expansion at Ireland's Midleton Distillery and a rare sighting of a "unicorn" whisky - believe it or not...a peated Balvenie!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170122.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 6:04pm EDT

This week, we'll tell you about two upcoming opportunities to taste rare whiskies in Scotland and Kentucky. David Faughn and Brian Shemwell will have the story behind a collaboration of several Bourbon clubs in Kentucky and Tennessee to organize the "Rare Bourbon for Rare Disease" charity tasting event on February 25 at Louisville's Haymarket Whiskey Bar. David's young daughter suffers from a rare genetic disorder, and his NUBPL Foundation received a bottle of Buffalo Trace's new O.F.C. Vintage Series Bourbon to use for fundraising. Brian heads up the Paducah Bourbon Society, and brought the Bourbon clubs together for the event. We'll also get details from Angus MacRaild on The Whisky Show: Old & Rare February 18 and 19 in Glasgow, which is being billed as the "whisky bar of a lifetime" with a chance to taste rare and vintage whiskies. In the news, we'll honor the legacy of Heaven Hill's Parker Beam, who lost his four-year-long battle with ALS this week. We'll also have news of new whiskies, update our story on Ben and Jerry's plans for a new Bourbon-flavored ice cream that's being welcomed along Louisville's Urban Bourbon Trail, and look at a uniquely Scottish whisky cocktail to be served in Edinburgh on Burns Night January 25. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170115.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:39pm EDT

The controversy over Beam Suntory's sudden decision to change its plans for a Booker's Bourbon price hike during the New Year's holiday weekend left both retailers and consumers confused. We'll look at whisky pricing from the retailer's perspective with Ryan Maloney of Julio's Liquors in the Boston suburb of Westborough, Massachusetts, and he'll explain how retailers set their prices and work with whisky makers and distributors. We'll also catch up with Ben Bowers as he winds up his "A Dram a Day" campaign to raise money for a British children's hospital on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Constellation Brands is still expanding its craft distilling portfolio with a deal announced this week for a stake in Virginia's Catoctin Creek Distillery, frequent fliers will find a new Bourbon bar in Louisville's airport, and with the inauguration of Donald Trump closing in, a signed bottle of the Scotch Whisky bottled for his first Scottish golf course is going on the auction block.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170108.mp3
Category: -- posted at: 3:18pm EDT

Blending is part art and part science, and unless you're drinking a single cask whisky, every dram you try has been tweaked by the nose of an experienced blender. Nancy Fraley describes herself as a "ghost blender," but it's fair to call her and other blending consultants "noses for hire" - working in the background to create whiskies for distillers large and small. Nancy's client list is shrouded in the secrecy of non-disclosure agreements, but she can talk about some of her work and shares some of her secrets with us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we'll look at a couple of whiskies raising serious money for charities, along with a new chapter of the Red Tape Follies. We'll also have some of your final drams of 2016 and the first drams of 2017 as we kick off a new year.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20170101.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:10pm EDT