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.

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