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WhiskyCast

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WhiskyCast

CaskStrength Media

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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.
 
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A century ago, Masataka Taketsuru was using the lessons he learned during his time in Scotland to build Japan's emerging whisky industry armed with a notebook full of information. While that notebook remains in Nikka Whisky's archives, it's now been translated into English for the first time. Ruth Anne Herd and Professor Alan Wolstenholme teamed up…
 
The excisemen of Scotland's past never found all of the illegal whisky stills being used around the country, and traces of those illicit distilleries can be found to this day...if one knows where to look. Derek Alexander knows, and he's on a mission to uncover as much of that history as possible in his role as an archaeologist with the National Tru…
 
We'll start the New Year off with an anniversary...the 1oth anniversary for the New York Distilling Co. in Brooklyn's North Williamsburg neighborhood. Allen Katz and his partners opened their distillery in what was at the time a fairly run-down neighborhood, only to see gentrification take shape around them. As Allen discloses on WhiskyCast In-Dept…
 
OK, the headline is a tease...of course Dr. Nick Savage is a whisky maker. In fact, he's been the master distiller and blender at Scotland's Bladnoch Distillery for the last couple of years. He's just created the latest three Bladnoch single malts, and joins us on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth. Speaking of heroes, though...there are a lot of them…
 
There are plenty of collaborations between whisky makers and the entertainment world, from singers and bands to actors who want to make their own whiskies. What's the key to making one of these collaborations work? We'll find out from Balcones Distilling's Jared Himstedt, who just released the Tres Hombres Texas Whisky collaboration with the member…
 
Ian Buxton is back with another edition in his popular "101 Whiskies" series, "101 Craft and World Whiskies to Try Before You Die." This time, he's defining craft whiskies using a similar standard to the classic one for obscenity: "I know it when I see it." Of course, that's tongue-in-cheek, and as Ian points out on this week's WhiskyCast In-Depth,…
 
John Campbell shocked the Scotch Whisky world a couple of months ago when he disclosed his plans to leave Islay's Laphroaig Distillery after 27 years, with the last 16 as distillery manager. At the time, he wouldn't say what his future plans were...but now, he's joined the young Lochlea Distillery as its production director and master blender. John…
 
Bourbon is booming, and perhaps no distiller is riding the waves of the Bourbon boom more aggressively than Bardstown Bourbon Company. Over its first five years of production, it's expanded to the point where the distillery is now one of the ten largest distilleries in the United States and sought out by potential collaborators of all kinds. Those …
 
The grain used to make many of today's whiskies isn't always picked for its flavor, but that's not the distiller's fault. Blame the commodity grain system, in which the largest grain customers determine what types of rye, corn, wheat, and barley are most widely planted by farmers. It's the Golden Rule, in which the one with the most gold gets to ca…
 
Stock car racing got its start when illicit whiskey makers took their souped-up cars to the track after outrunning the police at night, but Tom and Kim Carter Bard have flipped the script on that story. While they still go racing, they're also making whiskey at The Bard Distillery, and if that name sounds familiar, it's because Tom's ancestors foun…
 
Much has been written, and done, about the impact of Scotch Whisky production on climate change over the last decade. Much less has been written about the potential impacts of climate change to Scotch Whisky makers, from distillery water sources drying up in periods of drought to reduced crop yields for barley farmers. As world leaders are gathered…
 
Northern California is known for its wines, but distillers have been quietly making excellent whiskies there for many years. Now, Sonoma County's Redwood Empire Distillery is releasing its first bottled in bond whiskies: Grizzly Beast Bourbon and Rocket Top Rye, named for some of California's legendary redwood trees. Distillers Jeff Duckhorn and La…
 
Independent bottlers buy casks of whisky and sell them under their own labels, and while they're common in Scotland and other parts of the world, independent bottlers are much less common in the United States. Last year, Nora Ganley-Roper and Adam Polonski gave up their day jobs to start Lost Lantern with a goal of bottling some of the best America…
 
Today's Buffalo Trace Distillery started out 164 years ago when Daniel Swigert started making whiskey on the banks of the Kentucky River. His distillery didn't really have a name back then, and the site's had many names over the years as part of its history...one that includes legendary names like Taylor, Stagg, Blanton, and Lee. F. Paul Pacult's l…
 
Springbank's Findlay Ross and Ranald Watson joined us from Campbeltown, Scotland on the latest Happy Hour Live webcast to answer your whisky questions. We also talked about plans for J&A Mitchell's third distillery to be built in Campbeltown, with a goal of having it open in time for Springbank's 200th anniversary in 2028. There are also new enviro…
 
Master Blender Sandy Hyslop usually creates his whiskies and lets someone else worry about the packaging, but for the debut of the Royal Salute Couture Collection, he had the challenge of creating a 21-year-old whisky to match designer Richard Quinn's bespoke decanter. We'll discuss that challenge and the craft of whisky blending on WhiskyCast In-D…
 
Colby and Ashley Frey own and operate Frey Ranch Farmers + Distillers, a true "grain to glass" farm distillery in Fallon, Nevada. Not only do they grow all of their own grain, but the only thing the Frey family didn't build themselves was the still - a unique combination of column and pot stills custom-built by Vendome. The Freys did have to assemb…
 
Bourbon fermenters are bubbling all over the United States because of unprecedented global demand for "America's Native Spirit." September is Bourbon Heritage Month, and there's a sound argument to be made that history will remember this as one of the brightest periods ever for Bourbon. We'll look at the business fueling that growth this week with …
 
Live broadcasting is sort of like walking a tightrope...most of the time, it works. Then, there are those times when one's walking the tightrope while juggling chainsaws, and that's what happened during our #HappyHourLive webcast Friday night at the American Whiskey Convention. While the live video stream was plagued with technical glitches, our au…
 
Distillers like to say they're laying down whiskies for the next generation, but in many cases, it's their next generation who will be bottling those whiskies. That tradition is being passed on now in the Noe and Russell families, as Freddie Noe and Bruce Russell take on more and more responsibilities at the Jim Beam and Wild Turkey distilleries. F…
 
Four Roses is releasing its 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon this month, and Master Distiller Brent Elliott joined us on the latest #HappyHourLive webcast with the details. We're also joined by Darryl McNally. who stepped down as Master Distiller at Ireland's Dublin Liberties Distillery recently to start his own Limavady Irish Whiskey brand…
 
On a cold, wintry Scottish day in February of 1940, one of Gordon & MacPhail's Sherry casks was filled with new make spirit at Glenlivet Distillery. That cask lasted through wars, recessions, and a couple of generations of Urquhart family members to become the oldest Scotch Whisky ever bottled: the Gordon & MacPhail Generations Glenlivet 80 Years O…
 
Make sure your battery's charged for this one, since we spent nearly two hours talking the other night with longtime Scotch Whisky and Bourbon ambassdors Steve Beal, David Blackmore, and Ewan Morgan, along with Stranahan's head distiller Owen Martin. We covered everything from Steve's ongoing fight against pancreatic cancer to life on the road and …
 
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 …
 
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 Co…
 
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 wo…
 
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 h…
 
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 …
 
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 Commonwea…
 
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 thou…
 
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 di…
 
Bob Baxter distills the award-winning Two Brewers Canadian single malts with co-founder Alan Hansen at their Yukon Spirits distillery in Whitehorse, Yukon, and Todd Leopold makes equally renowned whiskies with his brother Scott at Denver's Leopold Bros. Distilling. Bob and Todd joined us on the latest #HappyHourLive webcast to talk about their whis…
 
Nearly four years after Toby Curtsinger was released from prison after serving just 30 days of a 15-year sentence, he's telling his side of the "PappyGate" saga. Curtsinger, his wife Julie, and eight other people were indicted in connection with the thefts of thousands of dollars' worth of whiskey from Buffalo Trace and Wild Turkey distilleries, bu…
 
The reaction to last week's bonus episode with Stephanie Macleod of Dewar's was so positive that we're doing it again this week! Wes Henderson of Angel's Envy joined us Friday night for the #HappyHourLive webcast, and we talked about everything from the construction underway at the distillery in Louisville to lab-created whiskies and what defines a…
 
The Scottish town of Dornoch has a lot of history, and the Thompson brothers are adding a new chapter to the town's legacy. Their family owns the historic Dornoch Castle Hotel, and after managing the hotel and its world-class whisky bar for several years, Phil and Simon Thompson decided to open their own distillery near the hotel four years ago. Th…
 
With many people starting to return to the office, we know you may not have as much time to watch our #HappyHourLive webcasts on Fridays. That's why we're trying something new: a podcast version starting with last Friday night's conversation with Dewar's Master Blender Stephanie Macleod. You'll hear everything as it happened on the live show, with …
 
There are lots of things about American history that never make into the history textbooks. For instance, the Mayflower left for America with three times as much beer on board as drinking water, and while George Washington may have been the first U.S. President to become a whiskey distiller, at least two of his successors also owned whiskey distill…
 
The Ayrshire farm where Scotland's legendary bard, Robert Burns, once worked the fields has now become intertwined with another Burns legacy: his love for whisky. The family-owned Lochlea Farm opened its distillery three years ago next month, taking the barley from those fields and turning it into whisky. Until now, the distillery has kept a low pr…
 
Why do we drink, even though we know drinking too much isn't good for us? Is it human nature...perhaps in our DNA? Since there are people with a genetic mutation that makes them sick when they drink, why hasn't that mutation spread throughout the world? Is that a sign that perhaps evolution recognizes some benefits from the occasional dram? Those a…
 
Is Tennessee Whiskey Bourbon? That argument has divided whisky lovers for years, but Nicole Austin says it is. She's the head distiller and general manager at Diageo's Cascade Hollow Distillery, the home of George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey. To prove her point, she created the new Dickel Bourbon, and she'll make her case on this week's WhiskyCast In-…
 
Earlier this year, Japan's whisky makers agreed on a voluntary definition for "Japanese Whisky" after decades of quietly blending their own whiskies with imported whiskies from Scotland, Canada, and elsewhere. That new definition requires "Japanese Whisky" to actually be fermented, distilled, and matured in Japan, while whiskies blended with import…
 
Brendan McCarron had a safe, secure job as Dr. Bill Lumsden's hand-picked "heir apparent" on the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg whisky creation team, but he was missing something. Earlier this year, he jumped at the chance to get back to distilling when Distell offered him the chance to become master distiller for its Bunnahabhain, Deanston, and Tobermory…
 
Before Prohibition, New York was known for its Rye whiskies distilled from locally-grown grain. Decades later, a new generation of New York State craft distillers came up with the Empire Rye concept as a way to promote both their individual rye whiskies and help encourage farmers to grow more rye in their fields. The first Empire Rye-labeled whiski…
 
Distillers depend on the environment for every ingredient that goes into making whisky and are under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of making whisky, even at distilleries that have been around for more than two centuries. Glen Garioch Distillery in the Scottish Highlands is one example where sustainability means a return to …
 
Ed Belfour has won all kinds of awards during his Hall of Fame hockey career, from the Stanley Cup to an Olympic Gold Medal. Last month, one of the Belfour Spirits rye whiskies he made with his son Dayn and daughter Reaghan won their fledgling whiskey company its highest honor yet - a Double Gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition…
 
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 wit…
 
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 dat…
 
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 distil…
 
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 whe…
 
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