WhiskyCast
The cask-strength podcast on whiskies from around the world, including Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, and Canadian whiskies. Listen for the latest whisky news, interviews, tasting notes, and much more! To find out more about WhiskyCast, visit us at WhiskyCast.com.

Spain's tonelerias supply the Sherry-seasoned casks that help give some whiskies their unique character, but those casks are increasingly in demand by whisky makers worldwide. Rafa Cabello is a second-generation master cooper and the CEO of his family's Toneleria del Sur cooperage in Montilla, Spain - and he's become the go-to supplier in Spain for many American craft distillers. One of his clients is Seattle's Westland Distillery, and we spent some time with Rafa Cabello there during the recent World Whisky Forum. You'll hear our conversation on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the unions representing many Scotch Whisky workers are fighting attempts to restart production while the UK remains in a COVID-19 lockdown, while the one state that shut down liquor sales during the pandemic is having problems bringing online sales...well, on line. We'll also have the winners of two recent whisky competitions and name this month's Whisky Club of the Month.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200405.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:09am EDT

There's still a lot left to discover about whisky, even though the "water of life" has been around for centuries. Scientists are still unlocking the mysteries of whisky, and we'll meet a couple of them on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. Seth DeBolt is the director of the Beam Institute at the University of Kentucky, and is leading a project to decode the DNA sequences that make up the genome of Quercus Alba, the American White Oak tree that many of the world's whisky makers depend on. We'll also talk with Stuart Williams of the University of Louisville's engineering school about his development of a new technique for "fingerprinting" Bourbons - and it's one you can replicate at home (though it may not be appropriate for your kid's science fair project)! We'll also have the latest details on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it's affecting the whisky industry, along with a look at why pot stills may make great whisky, but lousy hand sanitizer. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200329.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:15am EDT

The global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic took full hold on the whisky industry this week, as governments not only shut down bars and limited restaurants to take-out and delivery service, but imposed more bans on large public gatherings such as whisky festivals and even closed liquor stores in at least one U.S. state. That's led to tens of thousands of layoffs throughout the hospitality industry globally and economic stimulus programs aimed at mitigating some of the impact. We'll take a look at the big picture and a close-up view as well, including one Minneapolis distillery where the entire tasting room staff was laid off this week. Chris Montana of Du Nord Craft Spirits is still trying to keep production going while also fielding calls from his colleagues around the U.S. as president of the American Craft Spirits Association. Spirits producers have already donated nearly $2 million to help laid-off bartenders and bar workers, and we'll find out where that money is going and how you can help as well.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200322.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:13pm EDT

Since so many people are working from home, "self-isolating" or more because of the coronavirus crisis, we've decided to produce some extra content to help you pass the time. Earlier this month during DramFest 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand, WhiskyCast's Mark Gillespie took part in a panel discussion on "the past and future of whisky" with veteran whisky writer Charles Maclean, Michael Fraser Milne of the Whisky Galore shop in Christchurch, and moderator Dave Broom. Their hour-long discussion is a bit too long for one of our regular episodes, but we thought you might enjoy listening to it on its own. The panel covered everything from the collapse of the Scotch Whisky industry in the early 80's to what the future holds given the combination of a growing craft distilling movement, global politics, and climate change. Thanks to Michael and Stella Fraser Milne of Whisky Galore and DramFest 2020 for helping to make this special episode possible, along with the sound crew at Christchurch Town Hall and the staff at Whisky Galore.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200318.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:47pm EDT

Louise McGuane wants to revive a key part of Irish Whiskey's past, but she keeps wrestling with its present-day form in a bid to change the future of Ireland's whiskey industry. The Chapel Gate Whiskey Co. founder has become one of Irish Whiskey's most outspoken voices in recent years and recently spoke at the World Whisky Forum in Seattle. WhiskyCast is the only place where you'll be able to hear her comments on this St. Patrick's week...a week in which the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic has forced Ireland's legendary pubs to close, along with bars and distillery visitor centers around the world. We'll have the details in this week's news, along with updates on whisky festivals and other events cancelled or postponed by the pandemic. We'll also honor longtime Bruichladdich legend Duncan McGillivray, who passed away this past week.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200315.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:36am EDT

This week, we're on location at Whisky Galore's DramFest 2020 in Christchurch, New Zealand! They've been making whisky in New Zealand since the first Scottish settlers arrived, but after the country's one remaining distillery closed in the early 90's, New Zealanders had to import almost all of their whisky. That changed a few years ago with the growth of a farm-based distilling industry that's a return to the days when farmers turned their crops into whisky.  We'll take a look at this resurgence on WhiskyCast In-Depth, taste a few local whiskies, and get some perspective from whisky lovers in Your Voice. In our Behind the Label segment, we'll meet a Christchurch businessman with a unique hobby - he's amassed one of the world's largest collections of Jim Beam memorabilia!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200308.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:09am EDT

If you just needed a whisky-related reason to visit Iceland, we have one for you on this week's episode. Eimverk Distillery grew out of the dreams of two brothers who just wanted to be farmers, but found it was cheaper to import grain for cattle feed than grow it themselves. There was also some whisky involved, as Eimverk production manager Eva Mariá Sigursbjörnsdóttir explains on WhiskyCast In-Depth. There were also some sheep involved in at least part of the process, since one of Eimverk's whiskies is smoked not with peat - but with sheep dung! We'll have tasting notes for it, too. In the news, the coronavirus outbreak could cost Diageo as much as £200 million in profits this year and other whisky makers are preparing for losses of their own. The University of Kentucky is not only building an on-campus distillery in Lexington, but a million-dollar donation this week will fund construction of a new barrel "dormitory" as well. We'll have that story and look at how the mavericks at Brewdog are already ruffling feathers in the Scotch Whisky industry. Finally, if you've ever wondered why the hoops on whisky barrels are covered with rust, we'll explain on Behind the Label.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200301.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:26pm EDT

There's an old saying that "sometimes, you choose the whisky business...and sometimes, it chooses you." That could be said for Victoria Eady-Butler, who retired last year after 31 years in federal law enforcement. As it turns out, the great-great granddaughter of Nathan "Nearest" Green inherited some of her ancestor's talent. She was the first member of the Green family to pick barrels for the Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch whiskey last year, and was so good at it that she's started a second career as the master blender for Uncle Nearest. She's also made a place for herself in the history books as the first African-American woman to serve as master blender for an American whiskey brand. In the news, another milestone in whisky collecting has fallen with the first million-dollar bid for a whisky in an online auction. We'll have the details, along with highlights from this week's World Whisky Forum in Seattle, the Distilled Spirits Council's conference in Louisville, and a bunch of ba-a-a-ad puns around Ardbeg's latest limited edition release. Yes, we're a bit sheepish about that!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200223.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:11pm EDT

This week on WhiskyCast, we're sharing a special story of strength. Not the kind of strength one can build in the gym, but the inner strength that comes from within. Una Green is the West Coast brand ambassador for the Dewar's single malts, and a year ago last week, she received the kind of news no one ever wants to hear from a doctor - a diagnosis of breast cancer. That inner strength - and the support from her friends and co-workers - helped her manage the pain of surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, and all of the side effects. Now cancer-free, she's preparing to return to work after spending this week in Denver for the latest round of Speed Rack's ninth season. Una took part in the national bartending competition for women a couple of years ago, and has made it her goal to help support Speed Rack and its mission of raising money for breast cancer programs. We'll talk with her on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Trump Administration is holding firm on single malt Scotch Whisky tariffs for now while trade talks continue with the European Union. There's new data showing just how much the U.S. and EU tariffs have cost whisky makers on both sides of the Atlantic, while Kentucky saw a record-breaking number of Bourbon tourists in 2019. We'll also take a look at just how the bottling strength of a whisky can affect its flavor on Behind the Label.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200216.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:18pm EDT

World leaders will be in Glasgow later this year for the United Nations COP26 Climate Change Conference, and Scotch Whisky industry leaders plan to be ready. Not with drams, but with plans for a second decade of adapting whisky production to the needs of the changing climate while not ruining the whisky. The Scotch Whisky Association released its first environmental progress plan in 2009, and is now reviewing progress over the last decade with a goal of setting even more ambitious targets for the future. We'll talk with CEO Karen Betts as part of our year-long look at the impact of climate change on whisky around the world.

In the news, the coronavirus outbreak in China is starting to have an impact on whisky-related events and travel - and there are fears that it could lead to lower whisky sales in the Asia-Pacific region. Ian Macleod Distillers has unveiled the first new Rosebank single malts since plans to reopen the distillery were announced. We'll have the details and an update on construction at the distillery, along with the rest of the week's whisky news and more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200209.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:27am EDT

The whisky industry has become collateral damage in the ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union, with tit-for-tat trade tariffs making life miserable for whisky companies on both sides. This week, the Scotch Whisky Association estimated annual lost exports from the U.S. tariff on single malts could reach £100 million, and industry leaders are presenting a united front to demand that politicians on both sides work toward resolving the dispute. We'll have an in-depth report on this week's WhiskyCast, along with the rest of the week's news. We'll also announce  February's Whisky Club of the Month and take a look at why some whiskies can smell like burned matches on Behind the Label. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200202.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:31pm EDT

Is making whisky an art or a science? In "The Amber Light," filmmaker Adam Park makes the argument that Scotch Whisky is an art as important to Scottish culture as writing, music, and other creative endeavours. Park worked in collaboration with veteran whisky writer Dave Broom, who stars in the film and wrote the screenplay. He joined us for this week's WhiskyCast from Santa Barbara, California, where "The Amber Light" had its North American premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. In the news, no new tariffs this week - but the aftermath of Brexit later this week could create even more concerns for whisky lovers. For Australian whisky makers, fires and drought remain very real concerns that make politics look minor - and Aussie distillers are teaming up to help rural communities affected by that country's devastating bush fires. We'll have details on the upcoming Aussie Spirit Auction and how you can take part.

“The Amber Light” Brings Scotch Whisky to the Big Screen”

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200126.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:05pm EDT

This week, we're in Victoria, British Columbia for one of the world's best whisky festivals, the 15th annual Victoria Whisky Festival! This year's event also included the 10th anniversary of the Canadian Whisky Awards, and we'll hear from some of the top winners along with other highlights from Victoria on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, whisky industry leaders from Scotland and the U.S. spent much of the week in Washington trying to persuade Trump Administration officials to ease off on a trade tariff targeting whisky imports from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We're already starting to see some of the initial impact from the tariff on Scotch Whisky producers, with word that some smaller companies may be pulling out of one of the world's largest export markets because of the trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union. That's just one of the stories we'll bring you on this special episode of WhiskyCast from the Victoria Whisky Festival.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200119.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:03am EDT

Over the course of this year, we'll be looking at the many ways climate change could affect whisky makers - and whisky lovers. Since whisky always starts with the grain, that's where we'll start - and grain farmers are clearly seeing the impact of climate change. So-called "100-year floods" are now an annual occurrence for farmers in the U.S. Midwest's grain belt along the rivers that flow into the Mississippi River, which is already approaching flood stage from Missouri to Louisiana this week. We'll talk with Dr. Chad Lee of the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, who's tracking crop and climate change issues affecting whisky makers and the world at large. In the news, this could be a pivotal week for whisky makers hoping to avoid an escalation in the trade dispute between the U.S. and the European Union. We'll have that story, along with details on the first new whiskies of 2020 and much more. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200112.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

The last decade was one of progress for women in the whisky industry, with more women than ever working as distillers and blenders. The real change is that women distillers are rarely viewed as a novelty now compared to the past, and we'll hear from three of them this week. Recently retired Michter's master distiller Pam Heilmann, Jeptha Creed's Joyce Nethery, and Widow Jane's Lisa Wicker were panelists at a recent Bourbon Salon discussion with Bourbon Hall of Fame historian Michael Veach at Louisville's Oxmoor Farm, and we'll have part of their conversation on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, local officials have given the green light to Diageo's plans for reviving the Port Ellen Distillery, while the backers of another proposed Islay distillery went back to the drawing board to overcome local objections to their project.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20200105.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:33pm EDT