Rank #1: WhiskyCast Episode 538: June 6, 2015
This week, we're looking at the end of an experiment nearly 14 years in the making...Buffalo Trace's Single Oak Project. The attempt to create "Bourbon's Holy Grail" used 96 trees to make 192 special casks filled with whiskey for 8 years, with nearly 1,400 different possible variables that could have an impact on the final whiskey. More than 5,000 people posted their tasting notes on the 192 different bottlings, but it took a team of whisky writers to make the final selection from five finalists. We'll discuss the results with Buffalo Trace CEO Mark Brown, along with the fallout from the "PappyGate" series of whiskey thefts, the distillery's expansion plans, and projections for future Bourbon supplies. In the news, Diageo's Bulleit Bourbon is the latest brand to face a class-action lawsuit over the language on its labels, Brown-Forman is jumping into the growing Irish Whiskey market with a $50 million deal for Slane Castle's fledgling distillery, and we'll have the latest on the week's new whiskies.
Jun 07 2015
Rank #2: WhiskyCast Episode 493: August 22, 2014
This week, we'll wrap up our conversation with Bourbon Hall of Fame member Chuck Cowdery, author of the new book "Bourbon: Strange" and get his views on more of the controversies facing the whisky industry. Diageo broke ground this week for the new Bulleit Bourbon distillery in Kentucky, and Chuck has some harsh words for the way Diageo and its predecessors have handled American whiskey in the past. He's also upset with what he and other critics see as lax oversight by federal regulators on whisky labeling, and doesn't hesitate to name names in Part 2 of our WhiskyCast In-Depth interview. In the news, we'll hear more from Tom Bulleit on the groundbreaking for the new Bulleit distillery and Cara Laing updates us on upcoming new whiskies from Douglas Laing & Co. Finally, we'll talk about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and the new Whiskey Ice Challenge in honor of Heaven Hill's Parker Beam, and Parker's wife Linda passed along a message to everyone supporting the fight against ALS.
Aug 23 2014
Rank #3: WhiskyCast Episode 532: May 1, 2015
We're kicking off this weekend's special coverage of the Spirit of Speyside Festival in Scotland this time around! Thousands of people from around the world are in Speyside this weekend, and you'll hear some of them take part in a blind whisky nosing and tasting competition. With the "PappyGate" arrests fresh in the news, we'll get a glimpse into the ancient art of whisky thievery with Glenfiddich's Ian Millar, and there's plenty of news as well!
May 02 2015
Rank #4: WhiskyCast Episode 458: December 29, 2013
The classic Irish pub is becoming an endangered species, thanks to a combination of progress and the economy. There are some pubs that still cling to tradition, and the Tap Tavern in Kinsale, County Cork, is a classic example. The Tap's been owned by four generations of the same family since 1886, and Mary O'Neill has been in charge since she inherited the pub from her aunt in 1974. We'll meet Mary and her son Brian on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the whisky industry loses two legends, another potential bidder may enter the contest for Whyte & Mackay, and Whisky Advocate announces its annual year-end awards.
Dec 29 2013
Rank #5: WhiskyCast Episode 623: January 8, 2017
The controversy over Beam Suntory's sudden decision to change its plans for a Booker's Bourbon price hike during the New Year's holiday weekend left both retailers and consumers confused. We'll look at whisky pricing from the retailer's perspective with Ryan Maloney of Julio's Liquors in the Boston suburb of Westborough, Massachusetts, and he'll explain how retailers set their prices and work with whisky makers and distributors. We'll also catch up with Ben Bowers as he winds up his "A Dram a Day" campaign to raise money for a British children's hospital on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Constellation Brands is still expanding its craft distilling portfolio with a deal announced this week for a stake in Virginia's Catoctin Creek Distillery, frequent fliers will find a new Bourbon bar in Louisville's airport, and with the inauguration of Donald Trump closing in, a signed bottle of the Scotch Whisky bottled for his first Scottish golf course is going on the auction block.
Jan 08 2017
Rank #6: WhiskyCast Episode 622: January 1, 2017
Blending is part art and part science, and unless you're drinking a single cask whisky, every dram you try has been tweaked by the nose of an experienced blender. Nancy Fraley describes herself as a "ghost blender," but it's fair to call her and other blending consultants "noses for hire" - working in the background to create whiskies for distillers large and small. Nancy's client list is shrouded in the secrecy of non-disclosure agreements, but she can talk about some of her work and shares some of her secrets with us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we'll look at a couple of whiskies raising serious money for charities, along with a new chapter of the Red Tape Follies. We'll also have some of your final drams of 2016 and the first drams of 2017 as we kick off a new year.
Jan 01 2017
Rank #7: WhiskyCast Episode 628: February 12, 2017
This week, we'll be talking about money and politics along with whisky, and of course, there are connections between all three. With the world's attention focused on the transition to the Trump Administration in the U.S., the spirits industry is hoping to benefit from what it sees as a pro-business atmosphere in Washington. We'll discuss the political climate with Distilled Spirits Council CEO Kraig Naasz, and we'll get Wall Street's perspective with David Bolton of Spirited Funds and Alex Gordon of ETF Managers Group. They're behind a new exchange-traded fund that gives investors the ability to buy into the global whisky industry on the stock market. In the news, Beam Suntory plans to close its Canadian Club brand home in Windsor, Ontario next month, and the city's mayor will meet with company executives in Chicago this week to make the case for keeping it open. Bourbon has become Kentucky's fastest-growing industry, with an $8.5 billion economic impact on the state's economy each year...while the wider U.S. spirits industry also showed significant growth in 2016. We'll have details on the week's new whiskies, and this week's tasting notes include single malts from Scotland, India, and Ireland!
Feb 12 2017
Rank #8: WhiskyCast Episode 467: February 23, 2014
Alwynne Gwilt couldn't stand whisky...hated it, in fact. That is, until a former boss in London dragged the Canadian expat to a media tasting. It's not quite the same transformation Peter Parker had following his encounter with a radioactive spider, but that evening turned Alwynne into "Miss Whisky". Now, she's on her own blogging, freelance writing, and leading whisky tastings...and joins us for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Diageo plans to open Stitzel-Weller Distillery in Louisville to the public, but there are still no official plans to restart production...yet. Beam loses a preliminary battle in its legal fight over Irish whiskey supplies, Teeling Whiskey gets more distribution in Latin America, and The Glenrothes uncovers a single cask from 1969.
Feb 23 2014
Rank #9: WhiskyCast Episode 632: March 12, 2017
Whisky was historically thought of as a "man's drink" - but today, not only are more women drinking whisky, but women make up around 40% of the Scotch Whisky industry's work force. Diageo's Maureen Robinson is one of the industry's pioneering women, and is celebrating her 40th anniversary in the whisky business this month. She's the first woman to hold the title of Master Blender in Scotland, and joins us for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll talk not only about the changes she's seen over the last four decades, but the subtle art and science that goes into blending whiskies, too. In the news, the fight for control of Australia's Nant Distillery is getting uglier as Nant's founders and its would-be buyer fire charges of mismanagement and more at each other. The UK's government is raising taxes on domestic whisky and spirits sales this week in a move that caught the Scotch Whisky Association and other drinks industry groups by surprise, and the global boom in Irish Whiskey sales is leading to more expansion plans at Bushmills. We'll also have details on the week's new whiskies and tasting notes for whiskies from Balblair, Woodford Reserve, and Ardbeg.
Mar 12 2017
Rank #10: WhiskyCast Episode 617: November 27, 2016
What we think of today as the boom in craft distilling started 20 years ago this year, when San Francisco brewer Fritz Maytag bottled the first batch of Old Potrero Single Malt Straight Rye Whiskey at Anchor Brewing in the city's Potrero Hill neighborhood. In 1993, Maytag and his staff cobbled together parts to build a distillery inside the brewery, long known for its Anchor Steam beer, and Bruce Joseph was put in charge of running the still. Today, Bruce Joseph is still Anchor's head distiller, and he'll join us for this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the results of this year's International Wine & Spirits Competition are in, with William Grant & Sons taking top honors. Two more estate distilleries are being proposed in Scotland, and while North Dakota is known for its barley...it's never been known for its whiskey...until now. Glen Fargo American Malt Whiskey was unveiled this week in Fargo, and we'll find out how its creator avoided a costly legal battle over the name. We'll also have details on this week's new whiskies, along with a way to count down the days - or drams - until Christmas.
Nov 28 2016
Rank #11: Think You Know Bourbon? Here's a Chance to Prove It! (Episode 748: January 6, 2019)
There are plenty of competitions to find the best whiskies, but what about competitions to find the best whisky tasters? Those are few and far between, but The Big Blind Bourbon Taste-Off will give whisky lovers a chance to test their skills later this month in Lexington, Kentucky. The winner gets $2,000 in cash, a barrel head trophy, and most of all...bragging rights. Daniel Marlowe of Lexington's Whiskey Bear bar is one of the organizers, and we'll discuss the competition on WhiskyCast In-Depth. There's also a discount code in the podcast if you're thinking of entering the competition. In the news, Sazerac continues its acquisition binge as it ups its stake in India's John Distilleries, while Diageo's distillery expansion plans in Scotland are working their way through the approval process along with Islay's latest distillery project. The New Year also brings a handful of new whiskies, and we'll share some of your New Year's drams on Your Voice.
Jan 06 2019
Rank #12: WhiskyCast Episode 550: August 29, 2015
Kieran Folliard is a native son of Ireland, but calls Minnesota his home now. While running a group of Irish pubs in Minneapolis, he and his staff decided they should sell their own special Irish whiskey. Two Gingers became so successful in the pubs that Folliard decided to sell his stake in the pubs to his staff and make a go of Two Gingers, which was named for his mother and aunt back in Ireland. He wound up selling his brand to Beam, while retaining control over the day-to-day management. We'll hear more from this Irish entrepreneur on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Heaven Hill's hoping to raise more money for ALS treatment and research with the 2015 Parker's Heritage Collection whiskey and Old Forester honors its founder with the annual Birthday Bourbon. In Scotland, Royal Brackla finally gets its due as a single malt, Edinburgh could soon have its first malt whisky distillery in 90 years, and a forgotten time capsule yields a really old bottle of whisky!
Aug 30 2015
Rank #13: A Breakup in the Irish Whiskey Business (Episode 752: January 27, 2019)
Even when things appear to be going well, there are sometimes undercurrents of trouble behind the scenes. That played out in Ireland this week after Walsh Whiskey Company and Italy's Illva Saronno Holdings agreed to dissolve their five-year-long joint venture because of disagreements on the company's future. Walsh will keep its Writers' Tears and The Irishman whiskey brands, while Illva Saronno gets the distillery near Carlow. We'll talk with Bernard Walsh about the future of the company that bears his name on WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news U.S. Treasury Department employees are returning to work after the tentative end of the federal government's partial shutdown, and they're facing a big backlog of applications for new whisky, spirits, wine and beer labels that piled up during the shutdown. We'll also have details on the long-awaited opening of Michter's new Fort Nelson micro distillery and visitors center on Louisville's Whiskey Row and the rest of the week's news, too.
Jan 27 2019
Rank #14: WhiskyCast Episode 631: March 5, 2017
Mickey Heads grew up about three miles from Islay's Ardbeg Distillery, but the third-generation whisky maker never thought he'd wind up as the manager at Ardbeg. This week, he's celebrating his tenth anniversary as Ardbeg's manager and joins us on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also hear from Isabel Graham-Youll of Whisky.Auction, who helped police in London catch an alleged counterfeiter specializing in antique whiskies after spotting fakes the suspect tried to sell through her company's online auction site. There's plenty of news to report this week, including an update on the dispute over the future of Australia's Nant Distillery and hundreds of barrels of whisky owned by investors. We'll also update the progress of the new Slane Distillery in Ireland, meet some of the winners of Whisky Magazine's U.S. Icons of Whisky Awards, and catch up with Jane Maher of Tullamore D.E.W. as she nears the end of a cross-country bus tour across the United States.
Mar 05 2017
Rank #15: WhiskyCast Episode 488: July 18, 2014
Celebrity-branded spirits are a big trend these days, and the whisky world is no exception. Last week, we reported on the lawsuit filed by John Wayne's heirs against Duke University seeking to protect the family's trademark rights to produce a "Duke Bourbon" featuring the late actor. It's a little easier when the brand is based on a character instead of the actor, though...and this week, we'll hear from two entrepreneurs who have done just that. Michael Howard of Prairie Creek Beverages in Dallas is behind the J.R. Ewing Bourbon named after the legendary "Dallas" villain, and Ed Caan of Riviera Imports worked with Paramount Pictures on Ron Burgundy Great Odin's Raven Scotch as part of last winter's "Anchorman 2" premiere. He'll tell us what Paramount executives originally wanted to call the whisky, too.
We'll also have the latest on the pending sale of Whyte & Mackay, along with word that distillers just down the road from J.R.'s Southfork Ranch have won a zoning battle for their new distillery site. David Beckham, Simon Fuller, and Diageo have launched their Haig Club single grain Scotch in London, and The Famous Grouse releases a special bottling for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Finally, we'll look at ideas for summer whisky cocktails with bartender Jeff Bell of PDT in New York City.
Jul 19 2014
Rank #16: WhiskyCast Episode 446: October 5, 2013
Baker Beam comes from one of Kentucky's legendary Bourbon families. However, the grand-nephew of Jim Beam and cousin to Booker Noe, Fred Noe, and Parker Beam doesn't often get the spotlight. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he's the namesake for Baker's Bourbon from Beam's Small Batch Collection, and that makes him one of the few living distillers with a Bourbon that bears his name. He'll share his history in distilling and memories of working with Booker Noe on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the U.S. government shutdown is affecting whisky makers, but plenty of new whiskies beat Washington's budget clock in time to hit the market this week.
Oct 06 2013
Rank #17: WhiskyCast Episode 553: September 19, 2015
Sam Mead is a fifth-generation rancher, but never had any interest in distilling...until he came back home to work at Wyoming Whiskey, the distillery his parents founded in 2006. He started at the bottom milling grain, and eventually discovered the distilling bug within him. After a series of changes at the distillery, he wound up being the head distiller (and won't allow people to call him a "master distiller"). We're on the trail in Wyoming this week, and we'll hear from Sam Mead on WhiskyCast In-Depth. We'll also have coverage of this week's Kentucky Bourbon Festival, including a rare interview with Parker Beam after he received the Kentucky Bourbon Hall of Fame's first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award Wednesday.
Sep 20 2015
Rank #18: Glencairn's Whisky Glasses Shatter Expectations (WhiskyCast Episode 648: July 2, 2017)
When Raymond Davidson and his sons started marketing the Glencairn Whisky Glass in 2001, they thought the target audience was whisky blenders and industry professionals, and never imagined much consumer demand. Last year, Glencairn Crystal sold more than three million of its iconic and often-copied whisky glasses worldwide - up 22 percent from the previous year. Scott Davidson is Glencairn Crystal's managing director now, and joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Bacardi is entering the Irish Whiskey market with a deal to acquire a minority stake and U.S. distribution rights for Teeling Whiskey. Sweden's Box Distillery is planning a major expansion, and a few bottles of the final cask of Black Bowmore 1964 are now available in the U.S. We'll also welcome another new Brand Partner to WhiskyCast and announce the winner of our latest giveaway, too!
Jul 02 2017
Rank #19: WhiskyCast Episode 551: September 5, 2015
Louisville isn't just famous for Bourbon...it's also becoming a popular city for culinary connoisseurs, and the foodies are flocking to Chef John Varanese's restaurant specializing in New American cuisine. The menu at Varanese also gets a lot of inspiration from Bourbon, and we'll kick off Bourbon Heritage Month in Kentucky by talking whisky and cuisine with Chef Varanese on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there's a new #1 at the top of the Single Malt Scotch whisky sales rankings and a new #1 at the top of the list of oldest Scotch whiskies ever bottled. We'll also have details on new whiskies from around the world and much more on this week's WhiskyCast.
Sep 06 2015
Rank #20: WhiskyCast Episode 463: January 25, 2014
Colin Scott is celebrating two anniversaries -- his 40th anniversary in the whisky business and 25th anniversary as the Master Blender for Chivas Regal and Royal Salute whiskies. His latest release is a tribute to Royal Salute's ties to the world of professional polo, and Colin took his inspiration for the blend from working with his family's polo ponies. He'll discuss his blends and working with whiskies that were just being distilled when he started his career on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Suntory denies reports that it's bidding for Whyte & Mackay and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail sets a new visitor record. We'll also have reaction to a moment in this week's WhiskyCast HD interview that caught Richard Paterson off guard, along with tasting notes for the Dalmore expression he created with Chef Daniel Boulud.
Jan 26 2014