Welcome to the premier episode!

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About The Whisky Guy

The Whisky Guy is Ari Shapiro and has been an ambassador in the whisk(e)y industry for 10+ years.  Learn more about The Whisky Guy on the About page.

About The Whisky Guy Podcast

The Whisky Guy Podcast is not just about drinking whisk(e)y – it’s also about history, and stories, and heritage, the community and the stories that come from whisk(e)y.  Each week will feature an interview with industry leaders.

An Interview with Breck Taylor, Master of Whisky

Breck Taylor - Master of Whisky

Breck Taylor – Master of Whisky

  • Scottish/Irish Herritage on both sides of his family
  • From Salt Lake City, UT
  • Moved to Portland, OR in Spring, 2004
  • Worked with McMenamin’s for 6+ years, creating cocktails then moved to their breweries and distilleries
  • ‘Cut his teeth’ on how distilling works while there
  • A Master of Whisky is an ambassador for Diageo, which includes lots of continuing education at distilleries and facilities around the world
  • Breck has a preference toward Scotch Whisky
  • “Whisk(e)y is a distilled beverage made from some type of cereal grain or grains, and aged in a cask”
  • Whisk(e)y is different from Tequila is made from Blue Agave Juice, Rum is made from sugar or sugar byproducts.
  • With grain spirits it takes an extra step; Malting
  • “Whisk(e)y is a family with members of the family from all over the world, with different personalities”
  • Similar to Champagne, certain types of whisk(e)y can only be made in certain parts of the world
  • Scotch is a Whisky – Must be produced in Scotland, made from cereal grains and matured in oak for at least 3 years
  • Bourbon is a Whisk(e)y – Native Spirits to the US, must be made in the US from at least 51% corn
  • Bourbon does not need to come from Bourbon County
  • Bourbon vs. Scotch – Generally, Still type (pot vs column still) is one of the biggest differences
  • Whisk(e)y starts by making beer
  • Distillation is simply the process of evaporation, taking the alcohol out of beer
  • Probably started by monks in Scotland and Ireland
  • Spirit when it came out of the stills is disappointing; hot, sour and was likely flavored with herbs and honey, likely used medicinally
  • Time in the oak cask gives the whisk(e)y softness, color, flavor and aroma
  • The goal in making whisk(e)y is often to let you taste the flavor of the grains
  • Time in the cask is known as the “Long Sleep”
  • Casks both add and remove flavor
  • Older doesn’t always mean better when talking about whisk(e)y
  • ‘Smooth’ shouldn’t be a word used to described whisk(e)y
  • Whisk(e)y-makers are trying to make their mark and make different styles by choice
  • “The Irish invented whisk(e)y but the Scots perfected it”
  • Scotch’s 2 distillations mean even the most gentle are a little more robust
  • The 2 big differences between Scotch and Irish whisk(e)y are the influence of peat in the flavor (Irish=no, Scotch=yes) and the number of distillations (Irish=3, Scotch=2)
  • Different distilleries producing the same thing would be boring
  • ‘The sky’s the limit’ when it comes to what might happen with whisk(e)y-making
  • Different cask types for finishing is popular with rum gaining in popularity
  • Ex-sherry wine casks and ex-Bourbon casks are more common
  • Flavored whiskies are a natural progression of the overall alcohol market and gear to a different drinker
  • Flavored whiskies are “not really (his) style”; he prefers a “whisk(e)y flavored whisk(e)y”
  • Craft distillation in whisk(e)y-making is exploding
  • Lots of different techniques including styles, methods, types, combinations of grains, etc in craft distillation
  • “Whisk(e)y will be around for a long, long time, and it’s going to change”
  • His favorite whisk(e)y is the one in his hand
  • “Words like ‘better’, ‘best’, ‘favorite’… don’t really apply when it comes to whisk(e)y and spirits”
  • He has a Top 5 list that changes, but Bushmills 16 Single Malt, matured in a combination of ex Bourbon, Sherry and Port casks is always on the list
  • Mortlach is another fave
  • Visit Malts.com for more info on Oban, Talisker, Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, etc

Tasting Notes from The Whisky Guy

Congrats to California Chrome for the Kentucky Derby Win!

Knob Creek

Knob Creek - Photo by Ari Shapiro, The Whisky Guy

Knob Creek – Photo by Ari Shapiro, The Whisky Guy

  • 9 Year Age Statement
  • Bottled at 100 proof (50% ABV)
  • Color: Deep Caramel, almost sherry-influenced ruby
  • Nose: Very little heat; Cherry Syrup, Vanilla, charred wood and wood stain, like a fresh hardwood floor being stained
  • Palate: Very little heat on the lips and tongue with a very creamy mouthfeel, the consistency of maple syrup fresh from the refrigerator. Maple flavor comes through.
  • Finish: Starts strong but mellows fast and lasts a long time.
  • Diluted: Any heat that was there is completely gone now.  The aroma has settled a little has gone to brown sugar.  The mouthfeel is still creamy, but the finish has picked up and is much stronger up-front, almost like it’s mad that I added water to it.

Leave The Whisky Guy a Voicemail!

Leave your questions, comments or anything else you’d like on The Whisky Guy’s voicemail; I might feature you on an upcoming show!  To learn more, visit TheWhiskyGuy.com/voicemail  Question from Liz in Seattle: ‘How do craft bartenders get so fantastic at combining great cocktails with great whiskies?’  Tune in next week – On next week’s episode, Bobby G, Master Mixologist with Beam Suntory will help us answer that!  He’ll share his tricks, tips, and the tools he uses for making a great cocktail, and even share a very easy recipe we can all do at home.

How to Taste Whisk(e)y

The eBook is available now for FREE!  Sign up for The Whisky Guy Newsletter and receive a special download link for How To Taste Whisk(e)y – an eBook written by The Whisky Guy.

Thank You!

Special Thank You to Michael Stelzner with Social Media Examiner and Pat Flynn with Smart Passive Income for making me ask myself why I didn’t start a podcast sooner.  Check out Michael’s podcast here and Pat’s podcast here.  Thanks also to Chris Ravenscraft – The Podcast Answer Man – for all the great resources he shares on his podcast, and to Jason Moore from Zero to Travel (and his podcast) for pushing me off the cliff.

Be sure to subscribe to the podcast!  Join me next Whisky Wednesday for Episode #2