This episode of The Spirit Guide Society podcast is definitely one to savor. The host, Pedro Shanahan, takes listeners on a picturesque journey made for the senses. The mouths of whisky drinkers from across the nation will be watering by the end of it.
The Spirit Guide Society airs its podcast every Tuesday and Friday. As they travel across California, the podcast usually has a live audience. Yet, this episode is a bit different from the norm.
Pedro Shanahan opens the podcast with how he will be using an interview-style format. He then kicks things off with the introduction of Glenmorangie and Ardbeg West Coast Ambassador, Travis Tidwell. Travis always brings the goods, and this time he brought Brendan McCarron from Scotland.
McCarron is exceptionally knowledgeable about whisky and has been in the industry for about fifteen years. He is the Glenmorangie and Ardbeg Distillery Manager and “Heir Apparent.”
Brendan McCarron experiments with flavor profiles and works with Dr. Bill Lumsden, the Director of Distilling at Glenmorangie and Ardbeg.
Tidwell used to be a bartender, and he remembers serving more “Vodka-based cocktails” back in those days.
When he visits a bar today, “I see people drinking whisky and old fashions. New drinkers are getting back to the classics that are native to the US,” said Travis.
Tidwell continues, “After people try bourbons, they want something more, like the smoky malts from Ardbeg or something classic and elegant from Glenmorangie.”
He finishes with, “So it is a good time to be in the whisky business.”
As a creator and master brander, Pedro Shanahan knows how to paint a vivid picture. He does it so well with each of the drinks he samples.
Pedro’s natural way of narrating each podcast allows audiences to feel integrated into the experience of The Spirit Guide Society.
Listening to the descriptions Pedro and Brendan speak about the different whisky flavor profiles is fascinating. As the aromas hit their noses and palettes, their depictions fill our ears with glorious visions.
Pedro Shanahan is, hands-down, a word wizard. He describes whisky with sentences like,
“It is a really bright orange, and the dark chocolate is really beautiful.” As well as,
“It is like a nicely toasted piece of bread with butter on it, but then it tastes like grilled pepper and raspberry syrup.”
Shanahan is great at igniting and enhancing the listener’s imagination. The audience can almost see the colors, feel the textures, and taste the whisky.
Brendan McCarron describes one of Ardbeg’s latest malts as “a big smokey monster.”
What McCarron is referring to is Ardbeg’s fourth permanent whisky, the An OA. Ardbeg is well-known for releasing temporary smoky whiskies, but not this time around, the Ardbeg An OA is staying put.
Brendan explains the difference: “The Ardbeg An OA compares and contrasts with Ardbeg 10. The Ardbeg An OA is a smokier, sweeter, rounder version of Ardbeg 10.”
After Pedro takes his first sip of the Ardbeg An OA, he exclaims, “Wow, that is Awesome!”
At the same time, Travis Tidwell says, “It is a creamy whisky.”
On The Spirit Guide Society podcast, Pedro Shanahan, Brendan McCarron, and Travis Tidwell sampled a few drinks.
The taste-testing included the following drinks:
- Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Ardbeg An OA Single Malt Scotch Whisky
- Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year Old Scotch Whisky
- Ardbeg Supernova Limited Edition Scotch Whisky SN2019
Both Glenmorangie and Ardbeg have won many awards over the years. This year’s honors include the new permanent whisky, that is right, the Ardbeg An OA has already won several awards in 2019.
Below are the results of the 2019 International Whisky Competition (IWC) for Scotland.
The Ardbeg An OA won:
- Best Single Malt Scotch NAS (Non-Age Statement): 1st Place
- Best Islay Single Malt: 1st Place
- Best Peated Whisky: 1st Place
- Best Single Malt Whisky: 3rd Place
You can hear the conversation in its entirety on the podcast:
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