Mark Gillespie, the host of WhiskyCast, is a journalist with a perfect radio voice who is passionate about whisky. I don’t know anything about whisky, scotch, or bourbon. I’ve had a 7 and 7 before – that’s about the extent of my experience with the spirit. But after just a few episodes of WhiskyCast, I feel a lot more intelligent about whisky.
WhiskyCast is a podcast all about whisky (whiskey) – the industry, production, trends, tastes, and people. This show has been in production for an incredible 11 years: the first episode debuted in November 2005. Episodes are around 30-45 minutes long with several short segments. There are interviews with distillers, industry news segments, ingredient investigations, and event recaps.
In the beginning of the show, way back in 2005, Gillespie didn’t provide tasting notes or scores of whiskies he tried, but as he became more educated and experienced he began adding these notes to the end of his shows. I like this – it makes me feel like I’m listening to an honest, passionate person who just wants to share his knowledge, and over time, his knowledge expanded – so he decided to add it to the end of each episode.
Gillespie is able to coax more out of his guests than whisky production techniques, barrel choices, and personal favorite whiskies. In the episodes I’ve heard, guests have reflected on what it means to have a family whisky business, why an American company decided to bottle and distribute Canadian whisky, and what role women play in the industry. The quick pace of the short segments helps keep the listener engaged, but may not be in depth enough for the nerdiest of whisky nerds.
I rarely write about the business side of podcasts, but I have to commend Gillespie for the sponsorship he has gotten from well-known companies like Johnnie Walker, Redbreast, and Jim Beam. It makes sense that an alcohol-focused podcast would be a prime marketing opportunity for vendors, and Gillespie has smartly capitalized. And for the listener, the ads are much less annoying than most because the products are usually related to the content.
For as esoteric as an expensive hobby like whisky drinking may be perceived as, there is nothing about this show that feels smarmy or exclusionarily high brow. It’s just a guy who really loves drinking whisky and sharing news and developments from the industry. If you’re into whisky or want to learn more about it, you’ll definitely learn a lot from this well-produced and fast-paced show.
What do you think of this podcast? Leave a comment below and let’s discuss! Also subscribe to my twice-monthly newsletter!
Audible Feast Ratings
Educational Value (5 / 5)
Pop Culture Value (3 / 5)
Host Listen-ability (5 / 5)
Flow & Production Value (5 / 5)
Moves quickly through each segment – a smart choice for a topic where most listeners want to learn a lot of different facts and pieces of news (vs. go in depth on the production steps of different types of whisky or the history of one particular company).
Humor (3 / 5)
Storytelling (3 / 5)
Makes Me a Better Person (3 / 5)
Overall Audible Feast Rating: (4 / 5)
Start with These Episodes:
Gillespie recommends episodes 639, 641, and 632 (all from recent months). But you can really start anywhere and learn something about whisky!
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