Whisky has become more attractive as an investment asset in recent years, but a new report indicates the value of luxury whiskies has declined over the past year. We’ll talk with the report’s author, Duncan McFadzean of Scotland’s Noble & Company, on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, lots of hardware was handed out at this week’s awards ceremonies in Scotland and Ireland, and we’ll have the details. Chivas Brothers faces strikes by its union workers next week, and there’s less than a month left before American whiskies face European import tariffs again.
There was a time when Belfast and the surrounding counties led the world in whisky production. Several factors led to that tradition all but disappearing over the last century, but now, the six counties of Northern Ireland are bringing new life to their distilling heritage. We’ll visit several of the country’s distilleries on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Chivas Brothers faces holiday strikes by distillery and bottling plant workers, while UK Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has given the country’s distillers a break by freezing excise taxes.
One of the highlights of this week’s New Brunswick Spirits Festival was the food and whisky pairings created by The Spirited Chef, Taylore Darnell. She and the staff at the Delta Fredericton created spirited breakfasts, lunches, and dinners featuring unique combinations of food and whisky. We’ll talk with Chef Taylore about matching food to whisky and how our senses perceive those combinations on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, there’s a new world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold at auction, and American single malt makers are still waiting for an official definition for their whiskies.
WhiskyCast celebrates our 18th anniversary this week, and Stephanie Macleod has been the Master Blender for Dewar’s almost as long. She was named Master Blender in 2006, and has won a shelf full of awards for her work since then. Stephanie joins us this week on WhiskyCast In-Depth to discuss malts, the relationship between blender and distiller, and her role in bringing along the next generation of women in the whisky industry.
Balcones Distilling in Waco helped put Texas whiskey on the map when it opened in 2008, and this past weekend, the distillery marked it’s 15th anniversary with a rain-soaked party. We spent the weekend in Waco for the celebration, and sat down with longtime head distiller Jared Himstedt to get answers to some of your questions. In the news, whisky cask investment schemes in the UK are coming under scrutiny, while a charity auction to benefit victims of the recent Irish floods has raised nearly €35,000.
Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery was once Tennessee’s largest distillery in pre-Prohibition times. The great-great-great grandsons of Charles Nelson revived the family business in downtown Nashville, and have been making Tennessee whiskey along with sourced Bourbons and now, a Rye Whiskey. The distillery underwent a major expansion recently, and we’ll talk with co-founder Andy Nelson on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, time is running short to avoid a return to Europe’s import tariffs on American whiskies, while a new Wild Turkey Bourbon features something different…three generations of Russells on the label.
What do you call a distillery with no brands of its own? A contract (or custom) distiller creates whiskies for its clients, and many of Kentucky's largest distillers have often sold excess capacity by distilling for others. Bardstown Bourbon Company pioneered the current wave of contract distillers in Kentucky, and co-founder David Mandell is now one of the partners behind the new Whiskey House distillery. It will focus exclusively on custom distilling for its clients, and David Mandell will explain why on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Midleton Distillery's brand-new visitors center is closed after this week's flooding caused extensive damage, while time is running out to avoid a return to tariffs on exports of American whiskies to Europe.
Anyone can blend one whisky, but to blend a whisky with long-term consistency between batches takes a true talent. This week, we'll share an informal blending session with Widow Jane head distiller and blender Sierra Jevremov on WhiskyCast In-Depth, along with tasting notes for Widow Jane's latest release, The Vaults 15-year-old Bourbon. In the news, Kentucky is getting a massive new distillery project, while we were on hand as The Hearach single malt from Isle of Harris Distillery made its U.S. debut in New York City Thursday night. We'll have tasting notes for that one, too, along with the new Glenglassaugh 12-year-old and Bruichladdich's Octomore 14.3 single malts.
Actor Sam Heughan is best known for his starring role on TV’s “Outlander,” but he’s a whisky lover, too. Sam started his own whisky brand, The Sassenach, and he’ll join us on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth to talk about his love for whisky. We’ll also hear from the new master distiller at Angel’s Envy, Owen Martin. He’s just unveiled this year’s Angel’s Envy Cask Strength releases, a Bourbon, and for the first time, a Rye. In the news, Pernod Ricard is planning a new distillery on Islay, while Compass Box wants to build one in the Highlands.
We’ll have a double feature on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth, as Diageo’s Dr. Stuart Morrison joins us to detail this year’s Special Releases series - including a Lagavulin finished in tequila casks - and Donnis Todd of Texas’s Garrison Brothers Distillery gives us a preview of this year’s Cowboy Bourbon. It’s an uncut, unfiltered whopper of a Bourbon at 70.45% ABV! In the news, the TTB avoids being caught up in a U.S. government shutdown after Congress passed a short-term budget extension. Kentucky regulators want to shut down two of the state’s biggest buyers and sellers of vintage spirits over liquor law violations, and Scotch Whisky tourism has recovered from the pandemic.
It's been three years since Colin Gordon left Islay's Lagavulin Distillery to move down the road and take over for the retiring Mickey Heads at Ardbeg. Since then, Ardbeg has commissioned a completely new stillhouse and visitor traffic has recovered from the pandemic. We'll catch up with Colin Gordon on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the clock is ticking toward a partial U.S. government shutdown that could affect whisky makers and consumers, while Scotland's government is debating an increase in the minimum unit price for whisky and other alcoholic beverages. We'll also hear from Campari CEO Bob Kunce-Concewitz on his company's expansion plans, check in with Wild Turkey's Eddie Russell on the latest expansion of the Russell's Reserve Single Rickhouse Series, and get a preview of this year's Diageo Special Releases from master blender Stuart Morrison.
Ann Marshall and Scott Blackwell founded High Wire Distilling in Charleston, South Carolina 10 years ago this week. They started out with no distilling experience, but have earned the respect of other distillers with their unique Jimmy Red Bourbon distilled from an endangered strain of corn. We’ll talk with them on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, two distilleries were sold to new owners this week, while planning permission has been granted for two more distilleries in Scotland. Former Diageo master blender Maureen Robinson has come out of retirement to lead the Kentucky Owl Bourbon brand, and Sweden’s Mackmyra Distillery marks a milestone.
Women still face huge barriers to equality within the whisky industry, according to a new survey from the Our Whisky Foundation. The survey found high levels of unconscious bias and sexual harassment along with a perceived lack of respect for women working in the industry. We’ll discuss the survey’s findings with Becky Paskin of the Our Whisky Foundation on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, Heaven Hill’s new Bardstown distillery reached a major milestone this week, while the Bourbon Women honored this year’s Women in Whisky Award winners.
There's a lot of data behind the whiskies we enjoy, and analyzing that data can give us some insights into the health of the whisky industry. Martin Purvis and Duncan McFadzean examine whisky data for their Commercial Spirits Intelligence newsletter, and concluded that last week's Scotch Whisky export numbers aren't as bad as they might appear on face value. We'll talk with Martin Purvis about the analysis on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, we have details on this year's crop of annual releases from Four Roses, Heaven Hill, and Old Forester, along with the rest of the week's new releases. We'll also have our Community segment and explain in Behind the Label why you can't get a Kentucky Bourbon Trail passport stamped at one of the Commonwealth's most popular distilleries.
Valuations for rare whiskies have started to slow down after being one of the best performing alternative investments over the last ten years. The latest Knight Frank Luxury Investment Index shows a four percent decline year-over-year in the value of the rare whiskies that make up the index. Is this the start of a trend? We'll ask rare whisky consultant Andy Simpson, who helps compile the index for Rare Whisky 101. In the news, Scotch Whisky exports fell during the first six months of 2023 compared to last year, with a sharp 20 percent decrease in volume. Irish whiskey exports rose during 2022, according to a new report released this week, and Hedley Wright, the longtime chairman of Springbank owner J&A Mitchell Co. Ltd. passed away this month at the age of 92.
Whisky and music go perfectly together, but Felipe Schrieberg and Paul Archibald are taking the volume up to 11 with Rhythm & Booze Records. They're combining an independent record label with an independent bottler and making whiskies to match their music, which can be streamed using a QR code on each bottle. We'll talk with Felipe Schrieberg on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth and share tasting notes for their debut release, Rhythm & Booze Records Release #1. In the news, Molson Coors has acquired Blue Run Spirits to expand its presence in the whisky business, and we'll talk with David Coors and Blue Run's Mike Montgomery about the deal. David Beckham is splitting with Diageo's Haig Club Scotch Whisky brand, and there's a new Elijah Craig Bourbon out to celebrate next month's Ryder Cup.
Thousands of illicit distilling sites exist around Scotland. Derek Alexander and his team of archaeologists at the National Trust for Scotland have barely scratched the surface of the country’s bothys, but their recent digs have uncovered some rare artifacts of illicit distilling’s past. We’ll catch up with Derek on this week’s WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, The Balvenie’s longtime Malt Master, David Stewart, is standing down after 47 years in the post. The UK, Australia, and New Zealand all raised liquor taxes this week, and Suntory is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a “tiny house” tour of America.
The 128-year-old family-owned independent bottler stunned the whisky world this week with news that it will stop sourcing new make spirit from other distillers starting next year. Instead, Gordon & MacPhail will focus on single malts from its two distilleries, Benromach and The Cairn in the future. With decades of maturing whisky on hand, the change won't be felt for at least 12 to 15 years and Gordon & MacPhail will continue bottling older whiskies for decades to come. We'll discuss the change in philosophy with G&M managing director Ewen Mackintosh on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. On Behind the Label, we'll celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Excise Act of 1823, which directly led to today's Scotch Whisky industry, and we'll have tasting notes for whiskies from Bunnahabhain, Lost Lantern, and Dràm Mòr, too.
When Rosebank Distillery's stills went silent in 1993, many whisky lovers assumed the Falkirk distillery was gone forever - especially after thieves stole the copper stills for scrap a couple of years later. Now, after 5 and a half years of work, Rosebank has come back to life, and the team at Ian Macleod Distillers filled the first casks of Rosebank since 1993 this week. We'll talk with Ian Macleod's Gordon Dundas about the revival of Rosebank on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. In the news, the whisky world pays tribute to the Bon Accord's Paul McDonagh after the legendary Glasgow whisky bar's owner passed away this week. Speyburn Distillery in Scotland is opening its doors to visitors for the first time starting next week, and we'll have the details. We'll take a look at sweet mash and sour mash distilling on Behind the Label, and our tasting notes this week include whiskies from Amrut and Arran distilleries.