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The Legend of  Port Ellen Distillery by Holger Dreyer, Unibuch Verlag bei zu Klampen, 2015

Port Ellen is one of the most iconic lost Scottish malt whisky distilleries and is triggering a lot of interest amongst whisky collectors. In this book, the history of Port Ellen is well described and contains a fair amount of black & white photographs of high quality that should please anyone interested in the distillery. It contains as well numerous colour photographs taken after the closure, but before and during its final destruction. Although it does not contain a list of bottling from the distillery owner, numerous photographs of Port Ellen bottles illustrate this book. I wished production details were provided instead of a “cask analysis”, which would be most relevant for some whisky enthusiasts such as myself. The layout is pleasant and the book reads well and would make a very good addition to the bookshelf for anyone interested about this legendary distillery. Of note, no tasting notes on the whisky are provided.

Rating: 4.5/5


A Glass Apart: Irish Single Pot Still Whiskey, Fionnán O'Connor, Images Publishing Dist Ac, 2015

The first book on the Irish Pot Still Whiskey is richly illustrated by high quality colour and black & white archives photographs. The book contains a section about the history and the recent development of the Irish Pot Sill whiskey industry, as well as tasting notes of most recent Pot Stills whiskies, including some old sought after whiskies, such as Comber or Coleraine. The section about appreciating whiskey is good, but rather lengthy, as well as the history about whisky in general. My main comment is that no legends or annotations are provided for most photographs and the text is pretty well written, but did not managed to capture my undivided attention.
A good book and the first book dedicated only on this topic.

Rating: 4/5

Whisky Guide Schweiz 2016, Patrick Tilke, Medienbotschaft, 2015 (DE)

This book is surprisingly thick (324 pages), of pocket size, with numerous high quality photographs and a pleasant modern layout. The first part of the book covers the history of the Swiss whisky, the details on the whisky production process and a whisky lexicon. The second part covers a selection of malt distillery, mainly from Scotland, briefly (over 2 pages, with a short history of the distillery, particularities and core range), as well as a subsection on the Swiss distilleries. The third part covers the whisky bars of Switzerland, with a short description of them, and icons to represent the levels of the whisky range, tastings organised and particularities. It focuses mainly on hotel bars and bars around Zürich. The fourth part covers the whisky shops and retailers from Switzerland and the last section, whisky clubs and resources about whisky (clubs, websites, etc). If Swiss whisky or any information about the Swiss whisky scene is of interest to you, then this guide should be on your shelve. Limited German knowledge is required. It can be ordered here

Rating: 5/5


Iron Rails and Whisky Trails, Ian Peaty, Irwell press, 2013

Browsing trough the book, I had to check twice the publishing date, as the layout reminds me very strongly of several books I read from the early 1980s. With the exception of a few colour paintings, all photographs are in black and white, the fonts are small, and the framing is thick. From the layout and style perspective, the book gives the impression of a reprint from an old book. Fortunately, the first impression is not a reflection of the content, well researched, detailed and informative. The approach is different from other whisky books, with the association of the whisky industry and the development of the railways. In addition, I enjoyed very much the association between the whisky, the development of the glass work and the coppersmiths in the first sections. The book contains numerous photographic archives I have never seen before and should appeal first to the whisky enthusiasts and to the railway enthusiasts. Mention of locomotives was made, unfortunately, only with the model number. I wished a short technical summary of the locomotives mentioned was provided.

Rating: 4/5


Spirit of Place: Whisky Distilleries of Scotland, Charles MacLean, Lara Platman, Allan MacDonald, Frances Lincoln ed, 2015.

Recently published, this book covers the malt whisky distilleries of Scotland, but from a different angle than the traditional review of the history and details of the distilleries that you find in most of the recently published books. The text from Charles MacLean is limited to approximately 1 page per distillery to support the superb photographs of Allan MacDonald and Lara Platman. The layout is clean, pure and allows the photographs to shine, showing both the whisky men and the distillery under a different angle than other whisky books. This book is thus more a photographic essay on the distilleries than a "traditional" whisky book. If you main interest is about the history and facts on distilleries, you might be disappointes, but if you enjoy art, then this book should be on your book shelf.

Rating: 5/5(! read description above).


Malt Whisky Yearbook 2016, Ingvar Ronde, Magdigmedia, 2015

The Malt Whisky Yearbook is  an eagerly expected publication at the end of the year, at the same time as the new and/or special releases from the whisky producers.  Last year, for its 10th anniversary, changes were modest. But what about the 2016 edition?
Well, changes have been substantial, mainly on the graphical aspects. The history of the distillery was presented in a green column and the descriptive about the distilleries in white. On the new version, everything is white. Also, the old photographs have been replaced by new photographs of better quality and more numerous as well.
In terms of the articles on the first section of this book, there is one article less on the previous years, in order to expand the section about new distilleries that boomed last year. As part of the articles, there are culinary recommendations from Martine Nouet, a slightly superficial and inconclusive article from Neil Ridley, a good about the peat (turf) by Johnny McCormick and well written about wood by Charles McLean and about Craft and Innovation by Ian Buxton. I like these articles, but I wished they were even more in depth.
The section about distilleries and new distilleries is always interesting. It is only once you have been through all them that you realises that 2015 has been a very intense year for the whisky and the number of changes that took place.

I cannot refrain from reading this book from back to front as soon as I can, since this best yearly reference book that you can have. It is well written, extremely informative and a must have for any serious whisky enthusiast.  Even if you do not have the previous editions or your are new to the whisky,  I will enjoy this book tremendously.

A perfect Christmas gift as well. My only regret the font size. Rather small, in order to pack all the information that Ingvar would like to share with us. Maybe there would be two versions of this book? One covering the UK distilleries and a second one, covering the World distilleries?

Rating: 5/5


The Malt Project DVD serie (
Volume 4: Distilleries of Speyside
Volume 5: The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival

The Malt project is a serie of 7 DVD visiting different malt distilleries in Scotland.

The Volume 4 covers several inconic Speyside distilleries such as The Macallan, Glendiffich, Glenlivet or Strathisla.The format and structure of the film is similar to the previous volume. This documentary is rather a monolgue with a presentation of the distillery by the distillery manager or the manager of the visitor centre followed, including a rather lengthy tasting of their core range of single malts in their office. Images of the distilleries are limited and I wish to have more of that.

Volume 5 covers the Speyside whisky festival. By the nature of the event, the move is less static than Volume 4. Unfortunately, the images are not very sharp and quite often, slightly out of focus. It was a nice idea to cover this festival, but the quality could have been better.
Video (image) quality: 2/5 (for Today’s standard).
Sound: 3/5
Content: 3/5 for Volume 5 and 2/5 for Volume 4



The Myth, the Mafia and the Magic: The History of the Edradour Whisky Distillery, Andrew Cameron, Matador, 2015

The Author wrote a first version of this book 10 years ago. After its publication, Andrew Cameron received additional information about the distillery and decided to update the contact. Substantial research was done in the writing of this book, retracing the history of the distillery from its origins up to today, and the plans for the future! If you want to learn more about Glenforres Malt, the King Ransom Malt, Edradour distillery, and the link between the mafia and the whisky business during the prohibition, do not look further. This book is for you.
It reads very well and  it is very informative. It is evident that the author had access to a rich collection of records and I wished that some more details were provided, as well as more illustrations. Surprisingly, there is not even a map of the distillery or an aerial view of it.  In any case, a very good book, that should not only appeal to amateurs of Edradour, but any whisky enthusiasts.
Rating: 4/5 (5/5 for the text, 3/5 for the illustrations and layout)

The Malt Project DVD serie (, Volumes 2 and 3

The Malt project is a serie of 7 DVD visiting different malt distilleries in Scotland. The Volume 2 covers the Feis Ile, the Festival of Whisky and Music on Islay in 2003, as well as the different Islay distilleries.
The Volume 3 covers some Island (Talisker), Lowlands (e.g., Bladnoch) or Highland distilleries (e.g., Dalmore, Glen Ord, Clynelish).
Since the videos were made to the standards of this time, the quality can be considered as rather low compared to today’s standards. The Volume 2 is a rather dynamic one and allows either to get an impression of the Feis Ile (if you have not been there) or to remind you of some good memories. In addition, Volume 2 contains a lengthy interview with the whisky writer Michael Jackson. The Volume 3 is slightly less interesting, featuring several Diageo’s distilleries represented by their respective distillery managers, with a rather calibrated format (trained by their PR department)?
I appreciated the Volume 2 very much, but I had more difficulties with the Volume 3.
Video (image) quality: 2/5 (for Today’s standard). Good initiative and I wish we had more documentaries on this topic.
Sound: 3/5
Content: 4/5 (for Volume 2) and 3/5 (for Volume 3).


Whiskey Opus, Gavin D. Smith & Dominic Roskrow, DK, 2012

A nicely written Whisk(e)y book, richly illustrated with a modern and very pleasant layout. Browsing through the pages the quality of the DK is very apparent and the text is informative, rather concise and includes several tasting notes of each distillery covered. This is a “world” whisky book, not only covering Scotch or American whiskies, but also whiskies from all over the world. Although the description of the distilleries is rather concise, the authors took the efforts to contact whisky men to provide information that might interest most whisky enthusiasts (e.g., the waxiness of the Clynelish whisky). A book that I really enjoyed reading.

Rating: 5/5

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