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 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 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 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 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.
We talk to the multi-talented David Kwong about puzzling during lockdown, missing live audiences and his love of bringing magic to the big and small screens. David has leaned into the virtual world, hosting instagram live puzzles and now has a full set in his basement for the sold out 'Inside the Box' show. He tells us about compiling puzzles for the New York Times, his favorite magic history stories and working on movies like Now You See Me - where he had to literally tape a coin to Morgan Freeman's hand - and shows like Deception and Blindspot. We talk about the science of magic, taking advantage of faulty wiring in the brain and his TED talks about it. And he tells the amazing story of Chung Ling Soo. David drinks a Talisker 10 while I enjoy a Bunnahaibhain - which has the same Scrabble tile value as his name.
We talk to former Glasgow Warrior and Scotland rugby player Ruiradh Jackson. We talk about retiring early due to Covid and transitioning to a career in whisky and gin. He tells us about the re-launch of Glenturret, Scotland's oldest working distillery, describes his frustration at the recent closures of the Scottish hospitality industry and the importance of alcohol for a winter in Scotland. Ruaridh describes the highs and lows of his rugby career, mental health in sport and learning to drink whisky to unwind after games. He tells us about his Garden Shed Gin business, ignoring criticism on Twitter and why he wants to share a Balvenie 14 with Bob Marley on a Scottish beach.
We talk to Jael Ballard, director of corporate partnerships at LAFC. She tells us how much she misses live sport, how MLS has seized the moment with social activism and how the world has changed for women in sport. We talk about the principles behind the new Los Angeles MLS club, the passion of the fans and how there is enough room in Los Angeles for all the sports teams. She also talks about equestrian vaulting, family friendly soccer and why she wants to share a tequila with Michelle Obama.
We talk to British diplomat Richard Hyde, Her Majesty's representative to Texas, New Mexico, Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. He talks about diplomacy in the age of covid, diversity in Texas and in the British foreign service and his love for rodeo, bbq and breakfast tacos. We also cover the importance of teaching Americans to drink scotch while sharing Aberlour and Jura. He tells us about the importance of outreach to the Hispanic community in his States, female leadership in the British foreign office and growing up in Liverpool as the son of a disabled immigrant. The wide-ranging discussion also covers why Texans walk with a swagger, why the state is misunderstood in the UK and how comfortable cowboy boots really are.