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Wee Scotch Whisky Tales, Ian R Mitchell, Angels’ share, 2015

This is a nice little book about the history of whisky, from its foundations until today. It reads well and it is written in a rather simple and concise but witty way. In terms of layout, it is a standard black and white book, free of any illustrations. One would expect at least some illustrations nowadays. I might be an interesting book if you own a few general whisky books. If you are more advanced, then this might provide you with limited additional knowledge.
Rating: 3/5


Whisky: Technology, Production and Marketing, Russell and Stewart, Academic Press, 2014

Ten years passed since Russell and Stewart produced the first version of this book. This second edition has largely expanded, with number of pages increasing from 250 pages to over 440 pages, with new sections, such as energy efficiency, a marketing section expanded (with a sub-section on distribution and packaging). The layout was previously good, but it has been further improved and most sections revised.
It is a very good up-to-date reference book on the whisky production topics, but it requires certain scientific knowledge to get most of you. A good scientific background in biochemistry is desirable to cover the production part. Certainly an excellent book for a graduating student in brewing and distilling, but for someone with limited scientific knowledge, this book might be rather difficult and some sections will be at least partially skipped by the reader. It took me time to digest all the information and it is not a night cap reading.
I enjoyed the largely expanded marketing section, although I wished more figures were provided to illustrate the words.
In conclusion, a very good book and a new reference on the topic, but good scientific knowledge are required to get the most of it.

Rating: 4/5


But The Distilleries Went On: The Morrison Bowmore Story, Ian Buxton, Angel's Share, 2015

Impressive !

The work done by Ian Buxton on the history of Morrison Bowmore Distillers (MBD) is impressive. If you are interested in MDB, do not read this review further, just buy it. Nowhere will you find such comprehensive and exhaustive information about MBD.
This book is very well written and reads smoothly, with many rich high quality illustrations, collected in parts from private collections. The first section is about the rich history of the Morison Bowmore Distillers, starting with the foundation of the company by Stanley P. Morison and Jamwes Howat, and closing with the acquisition of Beam inc by Suntory Holdings Ltd last year.  Stanley P. Morrison started his whisky business as a whisky broker and the book provides interesting details about this activity and  how Stanley P. Morrison (and later his sons) managed to develop their business, including the purchase of Bowmore, Glengarioch and then Auchentoshan. The other parts cover the history of Glengarioch distillery, Auchentoshan and Bowmore distilleries. The book contains also many anecdotes, in particular about the Bowmore distillery, including some comments about the “French whore perfume” flavour, showing the openness of the company.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I wished that all the books were of the same quality as this one. Highly recommended, not only for the MBD fans, but for anyone interested in the whisky business and its history.
Rating: 5/5

  Malt Whisky Yearbook 2015, Ingvar Ronde, Magdigmedia, 2014

October is a nice period of the year. Not only a substantial amount of new releases are announced, but it is also the time for the annual release of the Malt Whisky Yearbook. The 2015 edition is of the same excellent level as the previous years, with articles on micromaturation, Irish whiskey, how to drink whisky, the history of age statement, a short review on the last decade and what to expect from the future. Even if you read the whisky news regularly, to have a compilation of all this information in one single source is very convenient and allows the reader to have a pretty good overview of the past year, including the numerous changes in the distilleries and the new products.
A most enjoyable book that I thoroughly enjoy reading on a year basis and a good Christmas gift. The book can be ordered directly from as well.

Rating: 5/5


Liquid Gold – Investing successfully in Whisky, Ralph Warth, Windsor Verlag, 2014

Until a decade ago or so, whisky was mainly a pleasure to taste and/or to drink, with some enjoying collecting it. With the increased popularity of the drink and its positioning more as a luxury/premium product than a popular product, prices are increasing and speculation as well. Ralph is providing some financial background on this “emotional” product, as well as the risks associated with it. In addition to a rather exhaustive summary of the different producers and independent bottlers, the majority of the book is a collection of score for different bottles. Since the price is variable, the value as investment, the “score” is a combination of the score from the producer (e.g., Port Ellen distillery is more attractive than a Speyburn), the bottler (original bottlings tends to be more “collectible”, thus more attractive than an poorly known independent bottler) and finally the bottling itself (based on number of bottles produced, distillation date, age and other specifics). A score is thus a subjective rating of the value of the whisky as in investment made by the author. As written by the author, the investor should not invest blindly on the whisky market based only on his rating, but he/she should gather knowledge on this market. Looking at the scores, I noticed a personal trend for some bottlers from Germany.
Of note, this book is not about the evolution of the prices of a given bottle, but only its intrinsic value. Thus, this book might be disturbing for the whisky enthusiast wishing to invest on whiskies.
The rating of this book is rather difficult, due to its uniqueness. I would strongly to read this book in conjunction with his interview.

A German version of this book is available as well

Rating: 4/5

Glen Grant, A distillation of 150 years, Glen Grant Distillery 1989
A nice book to celebrate the 150 years of the Glen Grant distillery. The writing is clear, concise and provides a good description of the history of the distillery, from its foundation until 1989. It is complemented by several black and white illustrations and photographs, including the original drawing of the distillery. It retraces also the history of the Grant family in a comprehensive manner, without being excessively detailed.
If you want to learn more about Glen Grant distillery and its history, this is the book you need to have.
Rating: 5/5



The Science and Commerce of Whisky, I. Buxton and Paul S. Hughes, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2013
The book is divided in 3 main sections: whisky history, whisky science and sales and marketing.
The first section is concise and condensed, while the second one requires pretty good scientific knowledge in chemistry or biochemistry to get most of it. Even with a university background in plant physiology and biochemistry, I found it sometime challenging, since the text was sometimes too succinct and for several figures, the legends were incomplete or partially missing. On the other hand, the sales and marketing was more accessible, with case studies to better deliver the message. Very informative.
According to the book description, “The style is readable and accessible and will appeal to undergraduates on appropriate degree courses, industry and craft practitioners and the many whisky enthusiasts around the world.” If you are indeed an industry practitioner or undergraduates, you might appreciate the whole book, while most whisky enthusiasts might have to skip most of the science part. Personally, I would not have minded a slightly more detailed and exhaustive book, since some topics were only superficially discussed.
In terms of layout, it is rather simple, academic style, with limited colored illustrations.
Books on these topics are rare and this is a welcomed addition to the Whisky book of Inge Rusell or the Science and Technology book of Piggott.

Rating: 4/5


Whisky Magazine Tastings, The First 10 Years, Paragraph Publishing,

The idea to gather tasting notes of 1700 whiskies tasted over 10 years of Whisky Magazine is a good one. With all whiskies tasted blind by at least 2 whisky connoisseurs, this gives a nice source of information for the reader. Unfortunately, description of the whisky is mainly limited to brand, bottler, abv, age and/or vintage. This is unfortunately insufficient to identify correctly bottling from independent bottlers, therefore limited strongly the use of this book, almost free from any photographs.

Rating: 2/5


The House of Dewar 1846-1946, Royle and Son, London

Printed for Dewar to celebrate the 100 years of the House, this book is a tribute to the Dewar Family and their success in the blended Scotch whisky, with a strong emphasis on the two sons of John Dewar, John Alexander and Thomas Robert, their success in developing their brand, as well as their political and social carriers. Unfortunately, the evolution of the brand is most limited. Therefore, the interest from a historical perspective on the Dewar’s whisky is rather limited. In terms of layout, this book is superb, with well-made portraits and colourful illustrations and an abundance of rich ornamentation.

Rating: 3/5 mainly for its aesthetics.






Malt Whisky Yearbook 2014, Ingvar Ronde, MagDig Media 2013

As every year at the beginning of the October, the new version of the Malt Whisky Yearbook is published. The section “meet the distiller” is now replaced interview of whisky aficionados from all around the world in order to have a global view on the whisky perception from the consumers. It includes more distilleries and tasting notes that before, while retaining its quality. Some readers might wonder if there is a need to purchase this edition, if they purchased the previous edition and my recommendation is yes. Over the last 12 months, reading through the distillery section, one can only be impressed by all changes taking place in Scotland and elsewhere over the last 12 months. Although Scotch volumes were down in 2012, the distillers are increasing the production markedly in order to anticipate the growth expected for the next 5 to 10 years and new distillery are being built. Several articles included in this book try to explain this phenomena and the optimism reigning in the whisky industry. A highly recommended reading!

Rating: 5/5

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