Whisky Advocate

Have you seen the History Channel show on Whiskey?

September 30th, 2011

A couple years ago, the History Channel featured a one-hour show titled “Whiskey.” It is part of their popular series called Modern Marvels. They’ve run the show again several times since then. I mentioned it here before for two reasons:

  • It’s a very entertaining and informative show that I think will appeal to both the novice and seasoned whisky enthusiast.
  • I’m interviewed several times during the show. (Let that be a warning to you…)

If you still haven’t had a chance to see it, or if you would like to watch it again, you can now catch it on Hulu. I’m including the link here. They excluded most of the commercials (thankfully), so the show is only about 45 minutes.

Check it out.  One bit of advice: having a whisky in your hand while watching it only enhances the pleasure!

20 Responses to “Have you seen the History Channel show on Whiskey?”

  1. Bob Siddoway says:


    I’ve seen it a few times and it is really a great, educational episode!

    Modern Marvels also has two other episodes on distilleries that cover whisk(e)y among other things (brandy, absinthe, etc). All three episodes are great.

  2. Scribe says:

    John, a great post and one quite helpful to those of us on a never-ending quest to learn more about whisky! Thanks for sharing!

    • John Hansell says:

      I’m trying very hard to keep a balanced blog. Thanks.

      • anorak77 says:

        Did you have input in this History Channel production?

        With so many vast areas to discuss and explore, why bring up a has-been TV show? I don’t even think it was filmed in HD! It’s a great program for an absolute novice, but I think that the majority of people who read this blog are a bit beyond that elementary a level of knowledge concerning whisky….

        Bring on the reviews! Please! The fluff is getting old.

        • John Hansell says:

          I didn’t have input to the show. I was interviewed as part of the show, and that was all.

          Try being a little less pushy and a little more grateful, Anorak. This is a free site that generates no income. I do it on my free time when I could be doing, well, just about anything else. Some perspective, please.

  3. PeteR says:

    I saw it not too long ago with my wife. It was very entertaining. When the show interviewed you I kept telling her “That’s John”, as if we had actually met.

  4. bgulien says:

    There is also a Megafactories show on National Geographic about the Jack Daniels distillery. Also highly educational.

  5. ESJ says:

    Thanks for the post John! I’ve wanted to see this episode for awhile now and somehow always missed it. You seemed like a natural. Your parts were very integral to the episode. And it was great seeing Stranahan’s alongside the likes of Jack, Jim, Jameson, Glenlivet, and Canadian Club! They make a yummy dram!

  6. anorak77 says:

    Yup. Seen it a half dozen times. It’s been on television for years. This really seems like a lame question John.

    It’s old news. Rather poorly produced and designed for short attention spans as are most tv shows in the recent past. If I remember correctly it also dealt mostly with the Bourbon industry.

    In reality, who cares? Why bring up an obscure old TV documentary with 15-20 minutes of commercial fluff when there are so many more interesting things to discuss (whisky reviews, anyone?) Anyone who is at all interested would be better off reading some of the countless blogs or books available.


    • John Hansell says:

      The show is only three years old and is not dated. The production processes and brands mentioned in the show are still the same today. Plus, there’s a lot of good information in there covering all the major whisky categories, “Anorak”.

    • Red_Arremer says:

      Wait– How come you watched it so many times, anorak?

  7. Coleman says:

    Funny, I was just on a bus from the airport in Boston back to my town, and they have a video system on the bus.. I was listening to an audio book, and sort of watching the screen, and then I saw the images of corn filling some hoppers, and then the Jack Daniels plant.. (not having much interest in bourbon) I didn’t start watching it until it was obvious that the show was about all whisky.. I was sort of hoping that it would go over to Scotland, and it did, and then John popped on the screen, I sort of chuckled with a knowing grin. It was a well produced show. Not to sound pedantic, but it was amusing how the show kept showing low prices for popular whisky like it was expensive, and then talking about “ultra premium” breaking the 50 dollar mark.. I’m thinking the producers need to drink something better then Canadian Club..

  8. Red_Arremer says:

    I’ll say my two cents about this for the record. It’s passable as introduction to whisky for extreme beginners, but it wastes a valuable opportunity to highlight the importance of being discerning and informed when it comes to this illustrious and often expensive category. There are many ways it could have done this:

    – getting into some non-mainstream distilleries
    – talking in more detail about ways to get the most out of your whisky experience (glassware, nosing, and all that)
    -exploring what it means to get a bang for your buck when it comes to whisky
    -giving less time to the Canadian Club Rep, who had particularly little of value to say 🙂

    • John Hansell says:

      I admit that I gave them a list of distilleries I thought they should visit, and I was mostly ignored. I think they were trying to cover the big names that most associate with.

      There’s nothing wrong with introducing whiskey to beginners Red. We were all there at one time, and look how far we’ve come.

      • Red_Arremer says:

        Nah John– Not me :). I wasn’t saying there’s anything wrong with introducing beginners. Actually saying they could’ve hyped being discerning and informed to beginners in a beginner friendly way. I’d be interested in your list of distilleries, but I’m sure we can all imagine some of the names on that list.

  9. Danny Maguire says:

    Not seen it and, if I’m correct, the history channel is only available on satelite ovr here. But anything that introduces people to whisky is worth doing.

  10. Louis says:

    Watching the show again would have been far preferable to the Jets last night, if Prohibition on PBS hadn’t been on at the same time 🙂 Bur seriously, 99.9% of the general population actually does NOT spend most/all of their free time reading about whisk(e)y, and the show will be useful to them. I am definitely going to send the link to my neighborhood whisky friends.

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