We talk to veteran whisky and luxury travel expert Ricky Crawford. He tells us about the growing importance of sustainable travel, how it's going to become more important post-pandemic and the genesis of his Amazon Prime show Leave No Trace. We talk about green luxury travel in Scotland, the purity of distilleries and his time as a roving whisky ambassador - including a disappointing trip to the Playboy Mansion. Ricky tells us about his new virtual Scottish corporate tour company - where he is one of the three Dram Good Laddies, what he misses about drinking whisky with friends and his love for the Maldives. And he tells us why he wants to drink a Glenlivet with George Clooney.
We talk to Dom Madell, resident of Auckland, New Zealand. He explains what it is like living in a relatively covid-free country, survivor's guilt and the Kiwi view of the rest of the world. He talks about masks on trains - and nowhere else - in his country, the reality of being on an 'island of purity' and the inequity of billionaires of using his country as a safety bolthole. Dom explains his worries about New Zealand for when they re-open borders, he drinks a local Thomson whisky and we share stories of our childhood and our first (terrible) attempts at drinking illegally in pubs. He also talks about his new band, set up during the pandemic, and how Frayed Flag are happily playing gigs in busy pubs.
We talk to Tracie Franklin, Head Distiller Apprentice at the Nearest and Jack Advancement Initiative. She tells her story of moving from Broadway to whisky ambassador to the leadership acceleration program run by Jack Daniels and Uncle Nearest whiskey to increase diversity in the whiskey business. Tracie talks about diversity in the industry, her reluctant acceptance of being a role model and tells us the inspiring story of Nearest Green, a freed slave who taught Jack Daniels. We share a virtual Uncle Nearest 1820, talk about the modern dual role of a head distiller as brand ambassador and what she misses about showbusiness. And she tells us why she would want to drink a Glenfiddich 50 with her father.
We talk to Jon Ryan, the Super Bowl winning punter from the Seattle Seahawks. He tells us about the feeling of being part of a Super Bowl and the euphoria of victory. He also tells us about the feeling of being part of a Super Bowl the following year and the agony of a narrow defeat to Tom Brady. Jon talks us through his Championship game touchdown, the first play-off touchdown ever thrown by a punter. We talk about punters tackling, some of Jon's highlight reel - mostly painful-looking hits - and the under-rated value of the CFL, and why playing in his home country was so important to him. There is also time to cover soccer - including his love for Swansea City and Jordan Morris' transfer there - and his new career as an owner of rugby and baseball teams. We also cover retirement, Brady, Gronk and whisky. And Jon tells us why he wants to drink bourbon with Jackie Robinson in a minor league dugout. A fantastic discussion with one of the game's popular figures.
We talk to event and marketing expert David Balfour. The Scot living in Dubai with plans to expand in to the US talks events, how the pandemic has changed the industry, what is possible now and what direction he thinks events will go in the future. He tells us how the uneven pace of recovery is creating opportunities, the huge appetite to return to live experiences and how Usher nearly ruined one of his first events in the US. David tells us about his favorite whisky, his sneaker collection and the appeal of life in Los Angeles. And why he wants to share a Wolfcraig whisky with Sir Alex Freguson.
We talk to Estelle McCartney, Chief Customer Officer for Arctic Shores and veteran communications professional. She tells us about how the interface between business and Government has changed, the importance of ‘doing good’ and her first role with Britain in Europe. She talks about her work with Arctic Shores, using technology in recruitment to improve diversity and getting people into the right jobs for the long term. She also talks about watching her father compete in the Whisky Olympics, we debate how to pronounce Glenmorangie and she tells the story of pioneer Gertrude Bell.
We talk to screenwriter Grant Pierce Myers. He talks about the excitement of working on The Maze Runner, his parents organizing a special screening for their friends in his home town and his favorite line from the movie. He tells us how he celebrates movie projects by buying bottles of whisky, his love for the cherry-infused bourbon made by Traverse City Whiskey Company and he tells the story of being fired from the Maze Runner - and how the lead actor didn't even realize he was the writer. Grant tells us how he would pitch a movie about Trump, how the pandemic ruined one of his latest projects and whether his new projects will have masks and social distancing written in to them. He talks about script envy, the Maze Runner being sued for stealing someone else's idea and how he feels about the Maze Runner sequels making less money than the first. And he tells us why he wants to drink any whisky with Ernest Hemingway on a boat - and his favorite cocktail stories.
We talk to magician Kayla Drescher. She tells us about swapping science for magic, her dislike of Las Vegas and why the market town of Dunstable is her favorite place. She talks about her Magic in Heels business, the challenges for women in magic and her favorite trick. We share a (virtual) whiskey as she tells us about a magician's life in Los Angeles compared to Boston, how much she enjoys corporate events and travel and why she wants to share a Jefferson's with Celine Dion.
We talk to David Mackay, the Chief Pilot for Virgin Galactic. He tells us his journey from a young boy in northern Scotland watching the moon landing on television to his own flight into space. David, who has more than 15k flying hours, talks about testing aircraft for the British Royal Air Force, his transition to commercial airliners for Virgin Atlantic and then his move to flying spacecraft for Virgin Galactic. He describes the simple joy of his first ever flight, the beautiful vistas he has captured from the cockpit of planes around the world and the thrill of flying into space and the unique experience and view. David talks through what a Virgin Galactic astronaut will experience, the types of passengers who have signed up for space travel and why he enjoys a post-flight Clynelish. And he tells us why he wants to share a whisky with Neil Armstrong.
We talk to James Keston, owner of Orange County Soccer Club. He explains why he bought a USL team, what he is hoping to achieve on and off the field and how hard the pandemic has hit live sport. James talks about the unique partnership with Glasgow Rangers, the CBS documentary about their deal and why all the Scottish players needed subtitles. He tells us that he doesn’t think a promotion and relegation system will happen in US soccer in the next 30 years, the importance of giving American youngsters a pathway to pro that avoids college and how close he came to owning an MLS team. And why he wants to share a highland whisky in a European pub with Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin.
We speak to immigration lawyer Lorraine D'Alessio, founder of the D'Alession Law Group. She talks about the 'hardest year' for her and her clients, battling the combination of the complex and ever-changing world of the Trump administration's immigration policy combined with the challenges of Coronavirus. She tells of the heartbreak of stranded families, jobs lost and her efforts to find novel ways of helping families. And hope that the new Biden administration will make immigration pathways clearer again. The former model also tells her personal journey from catwalk star to award winning lawyer. How her first clients were models and casting agents and some of the prejudice she faced both at the beginning of her career and even now. And Lorraine tells us why she wants to share a Jefferson 17 Presidential Select with her English grandfather.
We talk to whisky entrepreneur Steve Lipp, the man behind everything from Alexander Murray, to Costco's Kirkland whisky and also banana flavor bourbon sensation Howler Head. He tells us about how near-death experiences took him from the oil business to the whisky trade, why he named his brand after his great uncle and how a drowning fisherman helped Lagavulin 16 become his favorite whisky. He talks about banana bourbon - and his partnership with UFC owner Dana White, his beer/whisky partnership with Firestone Walker and what next for Costco whiskys. And why he wants to share a Lagavulin 16 with Sean Connery at the Pittodrie House Hotel.
For our 50th episode of the podcast, we have ex-CIA operative John Sipher. In a powerful and damning interview he talks about the damage being done to the Intelligence Community by the current administration, the risks to America from a delayed transition and his anger at the current relationship with Russia. He talks about how the pandemic will change intelligence gathering, the complications those currently serving face doing their jobs and how dangerous the politicization of intelligence work can be. John also explains how his company Spycraft Entertainment bridges the intelligence services and Hollywood, which shows are the most realistic (very few of them!) and how much material there is to work with at the moment. He also talks about scotch and espionage, taking a Russian defector to Scottish distilleries and why he wants to share a Lagavulin with Winston Churchill.
We talk to documentary filmmaker Tom Stubberfield, founder of Bullitt Films. He talks about his projects with the Chilean mine rescue, the Thai cave rescue as well as Hurricane Katrina and the Kilauea eruption in Hawaii. Tom talks about why documentaries are enjoying a golden age, the emotion of filming rescues and dropping dynamite out of a helicopter. He tells about his travels around America, the power of human story telling and why he wants to share a Laphroaig with Martin Scorsese in his garden.
We talk to former British Deputy Ambassador in Washington Patrick Davies. He talks about Biden's historic victory, the chaos of working with the Trump administration and what next for America. Having met President elect Biden many times, he talks about what sort of man he is, his relationship with Britain and his reputation for reaching out across the political divide. The author of a new book - the Great American Delusion - Patrick admits his fears about the huge divides in America, the myths that drive America to behave the way it does but his hopes for the country going forward. The former diplomat talks about conducting active shooter drills in the Embassy, how Britain and America are going down the same path and the need for electoral reform in the US. And why he wants to share a Macallan with historic Vice President Elect Kamala Harris on the White House lawn.