Mon, 22 February 2021
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.
Mon, 15 February 2021
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."
Mon, 8 February 2021
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?
Mon, 1 February 2021
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.