Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop Join

Discussions

Whisky Books

0 46

@bourbondrinker
bourbondrinker started a discussion

I usually buy on an annual basis the Malt Whisky Yearbook and/or Jim Murrey's Whisky Bible. What are your favorite ones? Or do you just rely on the internet?

4 years ago

Jump to last page

Replies: page 1/2

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

I just rely on the internet and friends/ colleagues. When I started out I was gifted with a couple of books and that was helpful because the history of the drink and the distilleries were new to me. But those things don't change much with time and reviews of the batches that the authors taste may be different from my experience.

I did snag a copy of de Kergomeaux (excuse spelling) book on Canadian whisky but even there, I've not read much of it. I find better authorities online (like @paddockjudge and @JasonHambrey).

I'm not able to smell or taste half of what the pundits do. I now have a good idea what I like and I know how to interpret the reviews of the people I read. So for books I choose fiction.

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

I have one older book detailing the historical origins of whisky distillation, thoroughly explaining tasting and giving a short rundown of most of the distilleries in Scotland (85 of them).

Looking into what to purchase I consult the internet.

4 years ago 0

@bourbondrinker

@Nozinan @Alexsweden The Malt whisky yearbook is a bit different, as it provides the latest news, trends and developments in the wisky world, and also when I take the kids to places with no internet and need to kill some time, this book comes in handy!

4 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@bourbondrinker

Well, given the industry influence on some of this stuff, It may fall under my chosen category... fiction

;)

But I prefer to get the news on the net. I've tried to "borrow" whisky books from the library on my Ipad but they are not available

4 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Ol_Jas
Ol_Jas replied

Yep:

  1. Library website.

  2. Search "whisky."

  3. Read for fun.

  4. Return to the library.

  5. Internet.

4 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

I see, @bourbondrinker, that sounds a bit different from my book. Ofcourse if you wish to "keep up" with what is happening in the business you need updated information

4 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

I just, somewhat belatedly, picked up this year's Whisky Bible, and it occurred to me that I hadn't really seen a conversation on whisky books here on Connosr. After using the search I discovered this one year old thread, and thought I'd bump it.

Aside from the aforementioned Whisky Bible (which I don't think need any further explanation) this is what's currently in my whisky books library:

Canadian Whisky by Davin de Kergommeaux - This is a must-read if you're curious about Canadian whisky, which most definitely is undergoing a bit of a renaissance at the moment. It covers how Canadian whisky is made and what makes it different, Canadian whisky history, and the main Canadian distilleries. There's a new edition coming in September, so you may want to hold off until then if the above sounds interesting.

Canadian Whisky: The Product and the History by William F. Rannie - Being from 1976, this is a bit older than de Kergommeaux's book, but I'd still very much recommend this if you've read the aforementioned and are still interested to learn more about Canadian whisky. It has some additional history, as well as some interesting things to say about the business side of the Canadian whisky industry. There's also some old pictures that are fun to look at.

Drink More Whiskey by Daniel Yaffe - This is an easy read with a very relaxed writing style, and it covers a lot of the basics. It's a good and accessible book to be sure, but probably best suited for absolute beginners. Sprinkled among the standard chapters that cover whisky production and whisky categories, there are cocktail recipes. I don't remember the last time I had a cocktail, so I can't really comment on how good they are.

The Whisky Cabinet by Mark Bylok - Another easy read with a relaxed writing style. And, like Drink More Whiskey, from a purely informative standpoint this book may not have that much to teach those of us who like whisky enough to frequent a site like this, but it's a good read with some gorgeous photos. I shouldn't short-change it too much, there are some informative nuggets in there and overall I think it might be one of the most enjoyable whisky books I have.

Whisk(e)y Distilled by Heather Greene - Out of all the books I've read on whisky, this one is probably the one that taught me the most and that covers the most ground. The first half is fairly academic and talks about everything from things like taste and smell receptors and why we sense certain smells and flavours in whisky, to whisky production techniques using different types of stills and cask designs and sizes, and many other things. The second half discusses the finished product and touches on different distilleries, whisky categories, and even cocktails.

Whiskey and Philosophy by Fritz Allhof and others - This is by far the most unique whisky book I have. It's a collection of essays on a wide range of topics that all have a connection to whisky in some way or another. If you feel like you've read them all and that all whisky books are alike, this is one book to prove you wrong. Here's a sampling of essay titles to give you an idea of what to expect: The Phenomenology of Spirits: How do Whiskeys Win Prizes?, Nasty Tempers: Does Whiskey Make People Immoral, Whisky and the Wild: On Preserving Methods and Distilleries, One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Buddhist Theory of No-Self.

Aside from the above, I have two more whisky books I have not yet read:

Booze by James H. Gray - This is about the history of the Canadian west and the impact booze in general, and whisky in particular, had on the settlers and life in the prairies provinces. It starts in the mid-1800's and continues until 1930 or so.

Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend by Al Young - Written by Whisky Hall of Famer and Four Roses brand ambassador Al Young, this book covers the rise, fall and rise again of Four Roses. I just ordered this and am very much looking forward to reading it.

And then there's a few books on my wishlist that I'll end up getting one of these days:

Bourbon Empire by Reid Mitenbuler and Bourbon: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of an American Whisky by Fred Minnick - I feel like there's probably a lot of interesting stories in bourbon's history, and I'm not talking about the romanticized gangster stuff, and with these books I'm hoping to learn some of them.

The World Atlas of Whisky by Dave Broom - I know, this is a classic that most every book-loving whisky connosr should own. And that's pretty much why it's on my wishlist. I have no doubt it's a good book, but the size and heft of it means it'll be a hard one to sit down a read properly, so I've just never gotten around to picking it up.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@ajjarrett
ajjarrett replied

Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch by Michael Jackson Updated by Dominic Roskrow and Gavin D. Smith

The World Atlas of Whisky by Dave Broom

3 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

@ajjarrett How do you find the World Atlas of Whisky? Do you use it as a reference book only? Or have you read it cover-to-cover like one would a regular novel or non-fiction book?

3 years ago 0

@ajjarrett
ajjarrett replied

@Nelom I only used it as a reference, but I am sure I will get down to read it from cover to cover. It was available on amazon.

3 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

I was recently gifted a book by Dave broom that was quite nice

3 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

@Alexsweden Which one? World Atlas? The Manual?

What did you like about it? Personally I prefer books with a bit of a narrative (for lack of a better word) rather than just lists of whiskies and distilleries along with a bit of commentary. That's the sort of thing I can get from blogs and sites like Connosr, whereas long-form, in-depth explorations of a particular whisky topic is harder to come by.

@ajjarrett You don't think The World Atlas would be too unwieldy to read cover-to-cover? That's a genuine question, and not a disguised statement. relaxed I've never held it in person, only seen the measurements on Amazon. They don't have it in bookstores around here. Next time I'm in Toronto I should try to remember to visit a store and check it out.

3 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nelom
Nelom replied

I just finished reading Four Roses: The Return of a Whiskey Legend by Al Young, and can heartily recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Four Roses. It's a well-written, easy read and has a number of nice vintage photos and images of old ad campaigns.

As a Canadian, I was particularly intrigued to learn of Sam Bronfman and Seagram's involvement in the brand, and them being the reason why Four Roses today have their five proprietary yeast strains.

Anyway, it's very much a recommended read.

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Nelom Did I ever mention to you that the guy who inspired my whisky journey (and gifted me a couple of special bottles) used to work for Sam himself?

And I've been lucky enough to meet the late Edgar and Charles (his sons) as well, though it was long before an interest in the spirit world.

3 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

@Nozinan No, I don't believe you've mentioned that. Pretty neat. What did your whisky mentor do for Mr. Sam?

3 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

I think he was involved in some bookkeeping, I never got those details, sadly.

3 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

@Nelom please forgive my late reply! I missed your post. I'll go home and refresh my memory regarding mr Broom's book and get back here!

3 years ago 0

@Alexsweden
Alexsweden replied

@Nelom, it's the 2010, world atlas. It's very thorough describing the whole process first and then gives a description of all (?) of the Scottish distilleries plus some "world" ones. Also if details the different regions and every distillery entry is completed with a few notes from a couple of bottlings. Some more rare than others and it also includes the new-make which is kinda fun!

3 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

@Alexsweden Thanks for taking the time report back with that. Sounds like a worthy addition to any whisky library.

3 years ago 0

@NNWhisky
NNWhisky replied

I would highly recommend 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die by Ian Buxton. Currently in it's 3rd edition, the book is designed to convince you try as many different types of whisky as you can. I find it fun to hunt down samples, bottles and drams at festivals to complete the set (I'm no where near!)

3 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

@NNWhisky I didn't realize there were different editions of that book. Hopefully they're weeding out unicorns whenever the they come out with a new edition. I've heard those can be a problem when it comes to hitting all 101. I'm also not sure how I feel about including things like Hibiki 30, which is out of reach for most people. Then again, I can see how for some folks that'll add to the challenge and be more fun.

3 years ago 0

@NNWhisky
NNWhisky replied

@Nelom you're right in the money. Some in there are too hard to get hold of these days and the author describes the book as a learning experience rather than a challenge. In fact, when he signed my book he wrote 'stop at 100 and live forever' haha

3 years ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound

I’m reviving an old thread here. I read (and reviewed) Fionnan O’Connor’s “A Glass Apart” and I highly recommend it. I’m not just excited about this book because its review is already my most popular blog post of all time (it generated almost double the views of any other blog post in less than 12 hours), but because of the way the book is organized. It is quite accessible “cover to cover”, and unlike most books I’ve read about whisky, the author takes a firm position on things like sulphured casks, E150A, Chill-filtration, shady marketing etc. I highly recommend this book.

And I’m planning on getting Davin DeK’s book as well because I like the look of all my whisk(e)y books, so their value is aesthetic as well as informative.

2 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

@OdysseusUnbound A Glass Apart has not been on my radar at all until now, but from your small description I'm intrigued. I'll make sure to visit your blog to read the full review.

As for Davin de Kergommeaux new edition, I haven't yet started reading my copy, I'm saving it for a trip I'm going on in a couple of weeks, but I from flipping through it I can say that it seems like it's a significant update since the 2012 edition.

One thing I can state with certainty, from an aesthetic perspective it's a huge upgrade, both inside and out. I find the new cover much more attractive, and in the old version they had tinted all photos a whisky orange - which may have seemed like a cute and fitting design idea on paper, but in reality didn't work very well at all. In the new edition the images have been left alone, which is nice.

2 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Nelom The problem with these industry books is that they get old quickly. Les Miserables remains up to date for decades.

The other problem is that they are often biased. I have a few but I have decided to not try to keep up.

2 years ago 0

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

Raw Spirit: In Search of the Perfect Dram by Scottish novelist Iain Banks is supposed to be a good read. I have read three of his 30+ novels. All were quite weird and full of quite weird people. Should be right in the connosr group's wheelhouse. grin

2 years ago 0

@Nelom
Nelom replied

The problem with these industry books is that they get old quickly.

@Nozinan That depends entirely on the type of book it is. Many won't really age at all (Booze by James H. Gray, Whiskey and Philosophy by Fritz Allhof, to name two from my own library) and some will barely age (Whisk(e)y Distilled by Heather Greene, Four Roses by Al Young, also in my library) in that the bulk of their content is information that will never change, with only small sections devoted to the current state of affairs.

But yeah, books that talk about specific whiskies and distilleries can indeed age quickly, not to mention the annual Whisky Bible.

As for bias... Sure, but that's pretty much the case for most interesting (non-academic) non-fiction books. Authors will have a perspective and an opinion, and I for one welcome that. I don't particularly care to read regurgitation of facts.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@Nelom I guess I've been reading medical texts too long... in my job we prefer facts to speculation.

But I agree with you, outside of medicine, I prefer thought, not just recitation.

2 years ago 0

@OdysseusUnbound

@Nozinan They get old, but they still make fun conversation pieces. And I don’t mind the biases, especially when the author doesn’t try to hide them. I have plenty of fiction as well; heck, we don’t have enough bookshelves to accommodate all of our books.

2 years ago 0

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@OdysseusUnbound

My mom moved into a condo and had to downsize her books. We moved and I saw the extent of our accumulated books. Overwhelming.

2 years ago 0

You must be signed-in to comment here

Sign in