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.

Today's Buffalo Trace Distillery started out 164 years ago when Daniel Swigert started making whiskey on the banks of the Kentucky River. His distillery didn't really have a name back then, and the site's had many names over the years as part of its history...one that includes legendary names like Taylor, Stagg, Blanton, and Lee. F. Paul Pacult's latest book, "Buffalo, Barrels, & Bourbon" dives deeply into that history, and he joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, tariff talks between the U.S. and the European Union are coming down to the deadline again, and that has Bourbon makers nervous. Distillers in Ireland are proposing to update the legal standards for Irish Whiskey, and the world's oldest whisky goes on the auction block. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20211014.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:58pm EDT

Springbank's Findlay Ross and Ranald Watson joined us from Campbeltown, Scotland on the latest Happy Hour Live webcast to answer your whisky questions. We also talked about plans for J&A Mitchell's third distillery to be built in Campbeltown, with a goal of having it open in time for Springbank's 200th anniversary in 2028. There are also new environmental initiatives in the works for Springbank and Glengyle distilleries, along with new whiskies and the return of Springbank's popular whisky school in 2022.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20211008.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:59pm EDT

Master Blender Sandy Hyslop usually creates his whiskies and lets someone else worry about the packaging, but for the debut of the Royal Salute Couture Collection, he had the challenge of creating a 21-year-old whisky to match designer Richard Quinn's bespoke decanter. We'll discuss that challenge and the craft of whisky blending on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, longtime Laphroaig manager John Campbell is stepping down, while the Heaven Hill strike in Kentucky is now in its third week. We'll have those stories, along with the latest whisky news and a bit of advice: watch out for desk chairs...they can have a mind of their own!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20211004.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:00am EDT

Colby and Ashley Frey own and operate Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers, a true "grain to glass" farm distillery in Fallon, Nevada. Not only do they grow all of their own grain, but the only thing the Frey family didn't build themselves was the still - a unique combination of column and pot stills custom-built by Vendome. The Freys did have to assemble the still, though...and that's one of the stories they shared on our Happy Hour Live webcast the other night. We're also joined by Aberfeldy's Gareth Howells and actor Beth Behrs, known for her roles on "The Neighborhood" and "Two Broke Girls." They'll tell us about Aberfeldy's #BarrelsAndBees program to protect and expand critically endangered honeybee habitat, along with Beth's own experiences in both whisky and beekeeping.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210922.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:55am EDT

Bourbon fermenters are bubbling all over the United States because of unprecedented global demand for "America's Native Spirit." September is Bourbon Heritage Month, and there's a sound argument to be made that history will remember this as one of the brightest periods ever for Bourbon. We'll look at the business fueling that growth this week with Steve Beam of Limestone Branch Distillery in Kentucky, Trey Zoeller of Jefferson's Bourbon, and Craig Johnson of Pernod Ricard USA. His colleagues have been among the most active investors in Bourbon over the last five years, including acquiring Jefferson's 18 months ago. In the news, the U.S. will open its borders for whiskey tourism starting in November, while the Heaven Hill strike continues in Kentucky. In our Behind the Label segment, we'll look at two different methods of distilling whiskey...both involve grain, of course, but that's where the similarities end.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210920.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:34pm EDT

Live broadcasting is sort of like walking a tightrope...most of the time, it works. Then, there are those times when one's walking the tightrope while juggling chainsaws, and that's what happened during our #HappyHourLive webcast Friday night at the American Whiskey Convention. While the live video stream was plagued with technical glitches, our audio backup made this episode possible! Thanks to all of our guests who joined us Friday night, as well as those of you who watched the live video stream. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210915.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:00am EDT

Distillers like to say they're laying down whiskies for the next generation, but in many cases, it's their next generation who will be bottling those whiskies. That tradition is being passed on now in the Noe and Russell families, as Freddie Noe and Bruce Russell take on more and more responsibilities at the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey distilleries. Freddie is the eighth generation of his branch of the Beam family tree, and will eventually take over for his father Fred Noe as Beam's master distiller. Bruce is the son of Wild Turkey Master Distiller Eddie Russell, who had to work for decades under his father, the legendary Jimmy Russell...who celebrated his 67th anniversary at Wild Turkey this past Friday. We'll catch up with Freddie and Bruce on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, it's Kentucky Bourbon Festival week in Bardstown, but this year's festival is being hit by both Covid-19 and a strike at Heaven Hill that's forced that distillery to pull out of festival events.  We'll have those stories and in our Behind the Label segment, we'll remember one of whisky's unsung heroes who passed away the other day.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210913.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:43pm EDT

Four Roses is releasing its 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon this month, and Master Distiller Brent Elliott joined us on the latest #HappyHourLive webcast with the details. We're also joined by Darryl McNally. who stepped down as Master Distiller at Ireland's Dublin Liberties Distillery recently to start his own Limavady Irish Whiskey brand and revive his family's distilling heritage in Northern Ireland's County Antrim. Whisky Magazine editor Christopher Coates makes his first appearance on our Friday night webcasts, too. Join us each Friday at 5:00pm New York time for our live webcasts on the WhiskyCast YouTube channel, our Facebook page, Twitter, and Twitch!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210908.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:49pm EDT

On a cold, wintry Scottish day in February of 1940, one of Gordon & MacPhail's Sherry casks was filled with new make spirit at Glenlivet Distillery. That cask lasted through wars, recessions, and a couple of generations of Urquhart family members to become the oldest Scotch Whisky ever bottled: the Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 80 Years Old. Stephen Rankin of Gordon & MacPhail joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth to share the story behind this rare whisky...and we'll taste it, too! In the news, global shortages of glass bottles and packaging materials caused by the pandemic are about to result in higher whisky prices, while Diageo has opened its new Johnnie Walker experience in Edinburgh and Beam a new distillery in Kentucky. We'll also look at a unique way to add the character of a wood to whisky when it's impossible to actually make a cask from that wood.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210906.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:08pm EDT

Make sure your battery's charged for this one, since we spent nearly two hours talking the other night with longtime Scotch Whisky and Bourbon ambassdors Steve Beal, David Blackmore, and Ewan Morgan, along with Stranahan's head distiller Owen Martin. We covered everything from Steve's ongoing fight against pancreatic cancer to life on the road and Owen's latest distillery exclusive bottling for Stranahan's. Join us each Friday night for our #HappyHourLive webcast at 5pm New York time on the WhiskyCast YouTube channel, our Facebook page, Twitter, and Twitch.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210901.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:06pm EDT

Paul Hletko opened FEW Spirits in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois in 2011 as part of the explosion of small-scale distilleries around the United States. He became a leader in the craft distilling movement, and is celebrating FEW's 10th anniversary with the release of a commemorative four-grain Bourbon this week. We'll talk with Paul about balancing the art and commerce of making whisky on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, travel restrictions may be going back into effect that could affect whisky tourism, while the owner of a Kentucky distillery has now agreed to plead guilty to charges in the Operation Varsity Blues case and avoid a trial next month. We'll also have news on a new series of whiskies from The Macallan, and on Behind the Label, we'll explain why some distilleries use "The" in their names. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210830.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:23pm EDT

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210825.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:49pm EDT

If there's one thing that whisky teaches us, it's patience. Australians Vanessa Wilton and David Whittaker have learned that lesson over the last four years since they opened the Manly Spirits Company distillery in the Sydney-area beach resort of Manly. They had planned to release their first single malt whisky late last year, but of course, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns delayed that plan. The Sydney area is back in lockdown again, but they've decided to go ahead and release that first whisky through a ballot that opens this week. I talked with Vanessa and David during a trip to Australia two years ago, and decided to wait until their first whisky was ready to share the interview with you. In the news, Jack Daniel's is doing something it hasn't done since Jack Daniel himself was alive...release a whiskey with an age statement. We have the details, along with an update on events being affected by the pandemic and the rest of the week's whisky news. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210823.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:02am EDT

Brian Nation is best known for his work as Master Distiller at Ireland's Midleton Distillery, and he shocked Irish whiskey lovers when he stepped down nearly a year ago to join the startup O'Shaughnessy Distilling Co. in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Covid kept him from making the move with his family until a couple of weeks ago, so he did much of his work remotely from Ireland with occasional trips to Minnesota. Now, the distillery is complete along with Brian's first batch of Keeper's Heart Irish + American Whiskey, a blend of Irish Single Pot Still and grain whiskies with American Rye whiskey. He joined us from the distillery for our #HappyHourLive webcast the other night, along with J. Rieger & Co. co-founder Ryan Maybee. The Kansas City distillery is releasing its first Bottled in Bond Rye Whiskey this week, and it's the first whiskey legally distilled in Kansas City since the end of Prohibition.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210818.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Everyone has questions about whisky. Dr. Nick Morgan knows more about whisky than most people, and his second pandemic-era book has just been published in a partnership with The Whisky Exchange. Everything You Need to Know About Whisky (but are too afraid to ask) answers many of those questions. We'll talk with Nick about his new book, along with his recent Master of Malt blog column on the role some Scotch Whisky makers played in the rise of Japanese whiskies. In the news, Beam Suntory is entering the direct-to-consumer whisky business, while Beam's Freddie Noe has written a new chapter in his Little Book series of whiskies. There's also a new chapter in the Parker's Heritage Collection series of whiskies, while a couple of upstarts are starting their own histories in the whiskey world.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210816.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:07am EDT

Earlier this month, Nick Ravenhall and his brother Alex did something most of us would never dream of trying. They led a small team of swimmers through Scotland's treacherous Corryvreckan whirlpool as part of their Whisky and Waves campaign of open-water swims around Great Britain. The "Whisky Smugglers" are carrying small bottles of whisky during their swim that will be blended and sold later this year to raise money for Sea Shepherd's ocean conservation efforts in New Zealand, where the Ravenhall brothers call home. Nick joined us on the #HappyHourLive webcast along with Horse Soldier Bourbon co-founder Scott Neil. He and his partner, John Koko, were part of the U.S. Army's team of Green Berets that led the post 9/11 invasion of Afghanistan on horseback, a mission that was portrayed in the movie 12 Strong. They've turned to making whiskey now, with plans for a $150 million dollar distillery project in Somerset, Kentucky that is in the final stages of approval, but they still have adventure in their blood as well. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210811.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 5:26pm EDT

When you drink a glass of whisky, spare a thought for the lonely Quercus Alba. Without the thousands of American White Oak trees harvested every year, we wouldn't have Bourbon or most other whiskies, since Bourbon barrels wind up at distilleries all over the world. Kentucky claims to make 95% of the world's Bourbon, so one might think the Commonwealth would honor that with its choice for the state's official tree...but no. Lexington-based forestry scientist Tom Kimmerer and some of his colleagues want to change that, and are starting a campaign to persuade state lawmakers to replace the yellow poplar with a much more popular (and logical) choice. We'll talk with Tom on WhiskyCast In-Depth about the logical reasons for choosing the White Oak, along with his op-ed column last week in the Lexington Herald-Leader on how Kentucky could become a destination for "climate change refugees" escaping coastal communities. In the news, the big mystery in whisky circles is what happened to a $5,800 bottle of Japanese whisky given as a gift to former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo two years ago. State Department investigators are trying to find out, and we'll hear from Pompeo himself...who says he wouldn't be able to tell the difference between a $58 bottle of whisky and a $5,800 bottle.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210809.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:47pm EDT

We're going into the #HappyHourLive webcast archives for this episode! Legendary distiller Jim McEwan joined us last February on the webcast, shortly before he announced his retirement from the Scotch Whisky industry, and this was one of his final interviews. He shared stories and answered your questions for nearly two hours that night, and we thought it was worth sharing with more of you. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210804.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:33pm EDT

Jack Daniel's is arguably America's most well-known whiskey brand, but there's a lot we don't know about the history of Jack Daniel himself. The truth behind some of the mysteries around Jack Daniel's went to the grave with him when he died 110 years ago, and historians have been trying to piece together the details for years. Nelson Eddy is the distillery's official historian, and joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth to shed some light on those myths and misconceptions. In our Behind the Label segment, we'll also get the definitive answer from Master Distiller Chris Fletcher to another widely-debated question: should Jack Daniel's be considered a Bourbon? In the news, whisky lovers may think of a cocktail when they hear Manhattan, but that's about to change with the opening of Manhattan's first whisky distillery in 100 years. We'll have that and much more on this week's podcast!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210802.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:22pm EDT

Bob Baxter distills the award-winning Two Brewers Canadian single malts with co-founder Alan Hansen at their Yukon Spirits distillery in Whitehorse, Yukon, and Todd Leopold makes equally renowned whiskies with his brother Scott at Denver's Leopold Bros. Distilling. Bob and Todd joined us on the latest #HappyHourLive webcast to talk about their whiskies, along with the unique three-chamber still now being used at Leopold Bros. We also talked a bit of hockey, shared heritage in the Detroit area, and much more on the webcast, too! 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210728.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

Nearly four years after Toby Curtsinger was released from prison after serving just 30 days of a 15-year sentence, he's telling his side of the "PappyGate" saga. Curtsinger, his wife Julie, and eight other people were indicted in connection with the thefts of thousands of dollars' worth of whiskey from Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries, but Toby Curtsinger was the only one who served any time in prison. He's always maintained that he wasn't responsible for the 2013 theft of nearly 200 bottles of Pappy Van Winkle whiskies, and his story is part of the Netflix documentary series "Heist." We'll talk with "Heist" director Nick Frew on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, tickets for this year's Kentucky Bourbon Festival are sold out, but some Bardstown residents don't see that as a good thing. Whisky events in Europe are starting to require attendees to show proof of Covid vaccination or negative tests, and the push for sustainability has whisky makers looking to the forests. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210726.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:10am EDT

The reaction to last week's bonus episode with Stephanie Macleod of Dewar's was so positive that we're doing it again this week! Wes Henderson of Angel's Envy joined us Friday night for the #HappyHourLive webcast, and we talked about everything from the construction underway at the distillery in Louisville to lab-created whiskies and what defines a "master distiller." That's something Wes knows well, since he co-founded Angel's Envy with his father, the late master distiller and original Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame inductee Lincoln Henderson. Wes joined his father in the Hall of Fame two years ago, and answered many of your whisky questions during the webcast, too!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210721.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:00am EDT

The Scottish town of Dornoch has a lot of history, and the Thompson brothers are adding a new chapter to the town's legacy. Their family owns the historic Dornoch Castle Hotel, and after managing the hotel and its world-class whisky bar for several years, Phil and Simon Thompson decided to open their own distillery near the hotel four years ago. They've only bottled one cask of their own whisky so far as a thank-you for supporters who helped crowdfund the project, and have also started their own range of independent bottlings to keep the business going while their own whisky continues to mature. That's also given them a unique perspective of the whisky industry as connoisseurs, whisky makers, and bar owners...and not everything they've seen in recent years makes them happy. We'll talk with the brothers on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the relaxation of some pandemic-related health restrictions could open up more whisky travel and event opportunities soon, and we'll have the details on the week's new whiskies. We'll also have a tribute to one of the great distillers of his day and tasting notes for a rare whisky sample that slipped through the cracks years ago!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210719.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:39pm EDT

With many people starting to return to the office, we know you may not have as much time to watch our #HappyHourLive webcasts on Fridays. That's why we're trying something new: a podcast version starting with last Friday night's conversation with Dewar's Master Blender Stephanie Macleod. You'll hear everything as it happened on the live show, with minimal editing to remove some audio glitches that come with producing live content on the web. If you have comments, please use the contact form on the WhiskyCast web site to let us know, since we're trying to decide whether to offer these special episodes in addition to the regular podcast episode each week. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210714.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:22pm EDT

There are lots of things about American history that never make into the history textbooks. For instance, the Mayflower left for America with three times as much beer on board as drinking water, and while George Washington may have been the first U.S. President to become a whiskey distiller, at least two of his successors also owned whiskey distilleries. Harris Cooper digs into some of the things the textbook writers left out in his new book "American History Through a Whiskey Glass," and he'll join us on this week's podcast. In the news, the Scotch Whisky Association is looking for a new leader as chief executive Karen Betts prepares to move on, while British officials may be ready to act on the American whiskey tariff soon. We'll have those stories and much more, and on Behind the Label, we'll explain what the story behind WhistlePig Rye's newest release has in common with a Margarita.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210712.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 3:00pm EDT

The Ayrshire farm where Scotland's legendary bard, Robert Burns, once worked the fields has now become intertwined with another Burns legacy: his love for whisky. The family-owned Lochlea Farm opened its distillery three years ago next month, taking the barley from those fields and turning it into whisky. Until now, the distillery has kept a low profile, but it's starting to bloom ahead of the first release of Lochlea single malt whisky later this year. Veteran distillery manager Malcolm Rennie is overseeing operations at Lochlea while David Ferguson handles the commercial side of the business, and they'll both join us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, South Africa is temporarily banning alcohol sales again with Covid-19 cases on the rise, while global travel restrictions caused the first year-over-year decline for Irish Whiskey sales worldwide in a decade. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210705.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 7:50pm EDT

Why do we drink, even though we know drinking too much isn't good for us? Is it human nature...perhaps in our DNA? Since there are people with a genetic mutation that makes them sick when they drink, why hasn't that mutation spread throughout the world? Is that a sign that perhaps evolution recognizes some benefits from the occasional dram? Those are some of the questions University of British Columbia professor Edward Slingerland looks at in his new book "Drunk: How We Slipped, Danced, and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization." He joins us this week on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll expand on the question in Behind the Label with a look at the lack of links so far between whisky and cannabis. In the news, the new Bourbon Alliance is pushing back on Great Britain's American whiskey tariff from both sides of the Atlantic, while whisky is flowing again from one of Scotch Whisky's most historic places.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210628.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 9:36pm EDT

Is Tennessee Whiskey Bourbon? That argument has divided whisky lovers for years, but Nicole Austin says it is. She's the head distiller and general manager at Diageo's Cascade Hollow Distillery, the home of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey. To prove her point, she created the new Dickel Bourbon, and she'll make her case on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Uncle Nearest opens up the latest phase of its new distillery in Tennessee, complete with artifacts from the original distillery Nathan "Nearest" Green and Jack Daniel ran following the Civil War. There's a cease-fire on one front in the trade war between Europe and the United States, and that means the end of U.S. tariffs on single malts from Scotland and Northern Ireland. We'll also have details on an upcoming extra-old whisky from Scotland, and on Behind the Label, we'll look at the difference altitude makes when you're making whiskey.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210621.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:39pm EDT

Earlier this year, Japan's whisky makers agreed on a voluntary definition for "Japanese Whisky" after decades of quietly blending their own whiskies with imported whiskies from Scotland, Canada, and elsewhere. That new definition requires "Japanese Whisky" to actually be fermented, distilled, and matured in Japan, while whiskies blended with imports are now to be labeled as "world blends." The change has put Japan's whiskies under increasing scrutiny and demands for transparency, and one American-based upstart launched its whiskies last October with transparency in mind. While Shibui produces "world blends," it also works with distillers on the island of Okinawa to create single grain Japanese whiskies made from rice. Shibui co-founder Nicholas Pollacchi explains the difference on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also talk about Danish Whisky and a Whisky Danish, too...

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210614.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:36pm EDT

Brendan McCarron had a safe, secure job as Dr. Bill Lumsden's hand-picked "heir apparent" on the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg whisky creation team, but he was missing something. Earlier this year, he jumped at the chance to get back to distilling when Distell offered him the chance to become master distiller for its Bunnahabhain, Deanston, and Tobermory distilleries. Brendan did his first public appearances for Distell during Bunnahabhain's virtual Feis Ile events this past week, and we'll hear from him on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Islay's distilleries have starting to gradually reopen to tourists as pandemic-related health restrictions are easing, while whisky tariffs may be back on the table as the European Union tries to push Great Britain to follow through on key Brexit agreements. We'll also have the details on Uncle Nearest founder Fawn Weaver's mission to help other minorities succeed in the spirits industry and much more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210607.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:38pm EDT

Before Prohibition, New York was known for its Rye whiskies distilled from locally-grown grain. Decades later, a new generation of New York State craft distillers came up with the Empire Rye concept as a way to promote both their individual rye whiskies and help encourage farmers to grow more rye in their fields. The first Empire Rye-labeled whiskies came out four years ago, and the six pioneering distilleries now number nearly 30 either bottling their own Empire Ryes or maturing them for future releases. Jason Barrett of Rochester's Black Button Distilling was one of Empire Rye's founders, and he'll join us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we'll have details on some of the week's new whiskies from around the world. We'll also have an update on free trade talks between Great Britain and India that could ease the tariff burden on Scotch Whisky exports to India ...and the story of a very good dog helping to sniff out faults in whiskies.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210531.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:59pm EDT

Distillers depend on the environment for every ingredient that goes into making whisky and are under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of making whisky, even at distilleries that have been around for more than two centuries. Glen Garioch Distillery in the Scottish Highlands is one example where sustainability means a return to some of Scotch Whisky's traditional practices. As part of Beam Suntory's "Proof Positive" initiative, Glen Garioch has installed a new direct-firing system for its stills and resurrected the old floor maltings to produce some of its malted barley on-site. We'll get the details from Glen Garioch distillery manager Kwanele Mdluli and Alistair Longwell, who oversees Beam Suntory's distilleries in Scotland, on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the British government is starting a consultation process that could mean the end of the import tariff on Bourbon and other American whiskies, while one of Scotland's legendary distilleries has roared back to life after nearly four decades. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210524.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:03pm EDT

Ed Belfour has won all kinds of awards during his Hall of Fame hockey career, from the Stanley Cup to an Olympic Gold Medal. Last month, one of the Belfour Spirits rye whiskies he made with his son Dayn and daughter Reaghan won their fledgling whiskey company its highest honor yet - a Double Gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition. We'll catch up with Ed and Dayn Belfour on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth, and try to pin them down for a prediction on this year's Stanley Cup playoffs too. In the news, we'll continue the countdown to the doubling of Europe's tariffs on American-made whiskies at the end of this month. There's labor news facing whisky makers in Scotland and the U.S., while Ireland's Dingle Distillery is planning a major expansion. In our Behind the Label segment, we'll look at a patent dispute between Australian distillers that's threatening to become a worldwide problem.

Note: Several hours after this episode was released, the European Union announced that it would temporarily suspend the tariff increase on American whiskies that had been set to go into effect on June 1. We will have complete coverage on the next episode of WhiskyCast and elsewhere here at WhiskyCast.com.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210517.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:51am EDT

Counterfeit whiskies are becoming more of a problem, but technology might just help provide a solution in the future. Whisky makers are starting to explore the use of blockchain technology to provide a traceable record of their whiskies right down to the bottle, with increased transparency and the potential to show if a bottle has been tampered with. Chris Ratcliff will break the code behind blockchain for us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the deadline for a doubling of tariffs on American whiskies by the European Union and Great Britain is getting dangerously close at a time when federal pandemic economic aid for distilleries is still in its early days. We'll have those stories and later, we'll bust the myth of the so-called "neck pour."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210510a.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:08pm EDT

Skinner's Joe Hyman is used to seeing bottles of pre-Prohibition whiskies, and even some going back to before the Civil War. That's what he thought he was looking at when a South Carolina family decided to auction a bottle of Old Ingledew Bourbon that had been in its family for the last three generations. While the story was interesting, carbon dating testing came back with something even more unusual...the whisky had likely been distilled between 1760 and 1803! Joe Hyman joins us with more of the story on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we'll have the real numbers on what Conor McGregor and his partners made for selling their Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey brand, and it's nowhere near the $600 million various media reports are claiming. We'll also hear a tribute to Scotch Whisky from Prince Charles and much more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210503.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:51pm EDT

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210503.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:51pm EDT

In our last episode, we looked at how different types of Rye produce different flavors in whisky. While that's relatively new understanding for Rye, it's been common practice for generations among distillers to search out the latest, greatest Barley strains available for making single malts. However, most of those strains are selected not by distillers, but by maltsters looking for yield per acre and not necessarily flavor per dram. Seattle's Westland Distillery has been working with Barley mavericks in Washington's Skagit Valley to explore strains that don't exist in the "commodity system" for several years, and master distiller Matt Hofmann joins us with the story behind Colere, their upcoming single malt series that focuses on those unique strains of Barley. We'll also have the week's whisky news, including a management shakeup on Islay that caught the island by surprise. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210426.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:55pm EDT

Whisky lovers can probably name at least a few varieties of barley commonly used to make single malts, but rye? Rye doesn't get the same respect for its diversity, even though it's been around for hundreds of years. Mike Swanson of Minnesota's Far North Spirits has led a team of researchers looking into the flavors different strains of rye have when they're distilled into whisky. That study has just been released, and he'll discuss the findings with us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also compare some of the whiskies from that study, cover the week's whisky news, and much more!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210419.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:04am EDT

Bourbons Bistro had everything ready to go for its 15th anniversary dinner in April...of 2020. Of course, the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Louisville landmark to cancel its plans, and there were times when it looked like the bistro might suffer the same fate as many other bars and restaurants that went out of business over the past year. Jason Brauner and his team made it, though, and will celebrate with a 16th anniversary dinner on April 21.  We'll talk with Jason about the events of the past year - and the 15 years before it - on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we now know more about Jeff Arnett's future plans after leaving Jack Daniel's ahead of a formal announcement next week, while Diageo plans a pricey release of rare Brora whiskies next month to celebrate the distillery's reopening. We'll also have details on two charity projects from the Bourbon world and much more on this week's WhiskyCast!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210412.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:26am EDT

Distillers are always looking to the future. After all, many are laying down casks of whisky for future generations to bottle. Now, more distillers are looking ahead for a different reason...to make sure their distilleries have a minimal impact on the environment. Scotland's Nc'Nean Distillery was named "Sustainable Distillery of the Year" in Whisky Magazine's 2021 Icons of Whisky Awards, and we'll talk with Nc'Nean founder Annabel Thomas on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Scotland's government is slowly relaxing strict public health restrictions, and that's allowing distillery shops to start opening again. We'll also have details on a groundbreaking new Bourbon, the latest innovation from Bruichladdich, the retirement of a longtime whisky blender, and the celebration of a 60-year-long (and counting) career for Glen Grant's Dennis Malcolm.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210405.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 6:58pm EDT

Virtually every major whisky event worldwide in the past year has been cancelled, postponed, or gone virtual because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, live events are returning in Florida, Texas, and Nevada over the next month as vaccination rates in the U.S. rise, and more event promoters are preparing to return later this year. Is it too soon, and can live whisky events be done safely? Dave Sweet's Whiskey and Barrel Nite event last September in New Jersey was one of the few in-person events that went on as planned, with no Covid-19 cases later connected to the event. Now, his team is preparing to hold what may be the largest whisky event in a year. Nearly 500 tickets have been sold for the Whiskey Obsession Festival in Tampa April 8th, even though many major whisky brands will not be participating. We'll talk with Dave Sweet about the event's health guidelines and his timeline for a "return to normal" on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Ardbeg has opened its new stillhouse, Beam Suntory is reviving some of Glen Garioch's past, and we have highlights from Whisky Magazine's World Whiskies Awards and Icons of Whisky Awards.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210328.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:28pm EDT

Distilling is one of the oldest chemical processes we know of, and many people have made great whiskies without formal training in chemistry. That doesn't necessarily make it an art, though...and Diageo's Lora Hemy recognizes elements of both art and science in her work. She's the head distiller at Roe & Co. in Dublin, but started out as an art student in college and sees a lot of similarities between art and chemistry. We'll talk with her on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth and answer another age-old question: Just what does an Irish Whiskey distiller do on St. Patrick's Day? In the news, new U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai plans to make a priority out of solving the steel and aluminum trade battle with Europe that led to tariffs on U.S. whiskeys...before those tariffs double on June 1. We'll also have the latest from the law and order department as lawsuits pit distillers against each other, the week's tasting notes, and how a common fertilizer used by many farmers can cause problems for whisky makers.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210321.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 4:13pm EDT

Women make up a growing percentage of whisky industry leaders, from distillers and blenders to spirits company executives. However, a new study from OurWhisky.com shows that women still have a long way to go when it comes to equal treatment in whisky marketing -- especially in social media. OurWhisky.com co-founder Becky Paskin joined us this week on the #HappyHour webcast to discuss the findings as part of our writers' roundtable with Jonny McCormick of Whisky Advocate, and we'll share part of that discussion with you on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, federal help will soon be available for struggling U.S. distilleries, while Kentucky Bourbon Festival organizers are hoping the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic will be behind us by this September's festival. We'll have details on new whiskies and much more on this St. Patrick's Week edition of WhiskyCast.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210314.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:48am EDT

It's been a year since we took WhiskyCast to New Zealand for the first time to do the show from Whisky Galore's DramFest in Christchurch just before the Covid-19 pandemic shut down worldwide travel. Since then, more distilleries have come on line in New Zealand, with 19 distilleries now making whisky. Now, the distillers have come together to create a set of standards defining New Zealand whisky - with an eye to both protecting the whisky and the country's indigenous culture. Tash McGill of Distilled Spirits Aotearoa (New Zealand's original name) joins us this week on WhiskyCast In-Depth to share that story. In the news, there's a cease-fire in the trade war between the U.S. and Europe, though American whiskey makers are still taking fire from tariffs on their exports. We'll have that story and much more, including the unique method of an award-winning master blender and March's Whisky Club of the Month.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210307.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:37pm EDT

Silicon Valley is the technology center of the world, but Virag Saksena has made the switch from mashing together code to mashing barley. He's a former software engineer and Oracle executive who founded San Jose's 10th Street Distillery in 2017 with his partner, chemical engineer Vishal Nauri. They're exploring a shared passion for single malt whiskies...especially peated single malts, with the goal of creating a "great" California single malt whisky. We'll meet Virag Saksena on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, help  is getting closer for the U.S. hospitality industry to cope with the economic impact of the pandemic, while Scotch Whisky makers are hoping for help from their government when the new budget is announced this week. New Zealand's whisky makers are joining the rush to define the terms for their whiskies, and the pandemic-delayed Canadian Whisky Awards winners are celebrating.

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Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210228.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:29pm EDT

Japan's whiskies have been getting more attention on the world stage. While some "Japanese Whiskies" are rightly winning awards in major competitions, others with the same label are often Scotch or Canadian whiskies imported into Japan - where there's no legal definition for what is a "Japanese Whisky" and what isn't. Now, Japan's whisky makers are stepping in where the government has so far failed to act, creating an industry-wide definition requiring that whiskies labeled as "Japanese Whisky" must actually be distilled in Japan. We'll discuss the new standards with Makiyo Masa of Dekantā, one of the largest online retailers specializing in Japanese whiskies. In the news, Texas distillers are trying to thaw out after winter weather left many of them without utilities for the last week, while Brown-Forman plans to invest $95 million to expand its flagship distillery in Louisville. We'll have details on the week's new whiskies and look at the latest scientific research on terroir in whisky.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210221.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 2:04am EDT

Scotland's legendary whisky island is getting yet another new distillery. Local officials have approved the plans for the new Elixir Distillers project just east of Port Ellen, making it the third new distillery to be built on Islay in the last five years and the 11th overall. Elixir Distillers co-founder Sukhinder Singh has been trying to get the project past the planning stage for nearly three years, and gives us his first interview on the distillery in this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also have reaction from one of the Islay groups that fought against the distillery over its potential impact on the island. In the news, an Australian distiller is in critical condition following a fire at a Tasmanian distillery this past week. We'll also have the latest Scotch Whisky export data that shows a really rough year for the industry with a double whammy from the Covid-19 pandemic and U.S. import tariffs, the week's new whiskies, and why the cocktail of choice for some distillers might just be an "enzyme cocktail."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210214.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

Mickey Heads retired recently after 13 years as Ardbeg's distillery manager and four decades of work at distilleries on Islay and Jura. Now, Ardbeg has released a special whisky in Mickey's honor, and the label for Arrrrrrrdbeg features him as a pirate! We'll catch up with Mickey Heads on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth and share tasting notes for his whisky, too. In the news, U.S. tariffs on single malt Scotch whiskies have cost Scotland's distillers £500 million in lost sales, and industry leaders are looking to the Biden Administration for help. There may be help on the way for struggling bar and restaurant owners in the U.S. to cover costs from the Covid-19 pandemic, and on Behind the Label, we'll look at one of whisky's oldest questions: Was whisky invented in Ireland or Scotland?

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210207.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:29am EDT

Hong Kong has become a key center for the world's whisky makers, and we had more evidence of that this week. Gordon & MacPhail's new 72-year-old Glen Grant single malt won't hit the market until the end of March, but one bottle went on the auction block Friday at Bonhams in Hong Kong. We'll talk with Hong Kong whisky importer and retailer John Rhodes about that whisky and the growing role Hong Kong plays in the whisky business on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival is joining the growing list of spring whisky events either being postponed or cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic, with plans to move this year's festival to November. We'll also have the latest data on how the pandemic and tariffs combined to cut into global whisky sales this year, and why the U.S. market may have been an outlier...and on Behind the Label, some sage advice on how we could all learn a lesson from the help distillers give each other. 

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210131.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 12:58am EDT

For the second straight year, Islay's biggest party of the year has been cancelled because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Fèis Ile, the Islay Festival of Malt & Music, will be replaced this May by a series of virtual events because of the uncertainty created by the pandemic and travel restrictions within the United Kingdom. We'll talk with Ben Shakespeare of Islay's Fèis Committee about the decision to cancel five months before festival week, along with the threat going ahead with the festival could pose to the island's residents. In the news, MGP is buying Lux Row Distillers owner Luxco and all of its spirits brands for $475 million, while business leaders from both the U.S. and Europe are calling on the Biden Administration and European Union leaders to end their trade disputes. Finally, January 25th is celebrated worldwide as Burns Night honoring the Scottish poet Robert Burns, and we'll take a look at how he might have fit into today's world on Behind the Label.

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210125.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:16pm EDT

It's been a little more than three years since Billy Walker and his partners acquired Scotland's Glenallachie Distillery from Chivas Brothers. What had previously been single malts destined for blending use are now on store shelves and bars around the world...with Walker's own unique touch honed by years of making and blending whiskies. Now, the GlenAllachie team is turning to two legacy brands that were part of the distillery deal, McNair's and White Heather, with plans to make them relevant once again. We'll talk with Billy Walker on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. 

In the news, whisky industry leaders are hoping the change in U.S. administrations will lead to a removal of tariffs on whiskies and other spirits, along with economic help targeting the nation's hard-hit bars and restaurants. A Virginia distillery and its founder are facing felony charges after being indicted by a grand jury for allegedly dumping distillery waste water into a stream following a two-year investigation, and on Behind the Label, we'll solve the mystery of a ghostly "whisky mist."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210117.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:25am EDT

Irish Whiskey makers once dominated the world with their single pot still whiskies, but the collapse of Ireland's whiskey industry a century ago   closed dozens of distilleries and consigned their unique recipes to history. Irish Whiskey historian Fionnán O'Connor has been working with Boann Distillery in County Meath to produce spirit using many of the recipes he's uncovered as part of his doctoral degree research at Dublin's Trinity College. Those recipes will be put to the test in the coming weeks in blind tastings with today's Irish Whiskey distillers, as Fionnán tells us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also have the week's whisky news, tasting notes, and some of your unique ways to describe your favorite whiskies, too!

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210110.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:42am EDT

Welcome to a new year, fans of the Water of Life! That's exactly what we'll be talking about on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. "The Water of Life" is a new Scotch Whisky documentary film that will debut later this month online after having its premiere delayed because of the pandemic. Director Greg Swartz joins us to discuss plans for the premiere, including tasting kits geared to specific parts of the film. In the news, 2020 ended with a busy week whisky-wise as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration tried to hit distillers who produced hand sanitizer during the pandemic with a $14,000 fee - only to get slapped down by the Trump Administration...while the TTB opened up the U.S. whisky market by allowing imports of Europe's standard 700m whiskies for the first time. We'll have all of the news, including a royal honor for "The Nose."

Direct download: WhiskyCast_20210103.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 8:53pm EDT