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.

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

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.

RRRRzCsDDkXm7XiZgmzs

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