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Japanese Whisky: Facts, Figures and Taste, Ulf Buxrud, DataAnalysis Scandinavia AB, 2008.

After his first book on the Rare Malts selection from Diageo, Ulf opened a new and fresh window on a rising whisky country: Japan. Over the last years, the Japanese whiskies have acquired a very good reputation, with several awards. The latest products from Japan are surprisingly good and this book is the first serious book on Japanese whisky.  The layout is very pleasant, rich with illustrations and technical details. It contains also useful information about Japan and visiting the distilleries. Even though some images are heavily pixelized, this book is very well done and will fit very well in your shelf close to your whisky bottles (from Japan). Kampai!

Rating: 5/5

  Whisk(e)y, Stefan Gabanyi, Abbeville Press, 1997
A nice looking book, with a pleasant layout providing a short description of most single malt whiskies, blends and whiskies available at the end of the 1990s. The cartoons are well done, but the information is limited to few lines on the whiskies and the distilleries. Out of date.
Rating: 2/5
  Malt Whisky Yearbook 2009, Ingvar Ronde, MagDig Media Ltd, 2008.
The 2009 edition is a good as the previous edition, with all the data updated and new high quality articles, in particular, an excellent article from Ian Buxton on the World Whiskies Conference. New for this year are selected tasting notes. What else can I say about this book? An annual must-have…and should probably be published more than once a year?
Rating: 5/5
  Whisky, A Brief History, Gavin D. Smith, Facts, Figures and Fun, 2007
Compiling this history, the making, the drinking, the vocabulary and the barons of whisky in less than 100 pages in a pocket-sized book is quite challenging. The book is interesting, with a nice layout and very concise, sometimes too much, since he is not only talking about Scotch whisky, but also American, Irish and Japanese whisky. This book is a nice reference book for a tour guide or for reading in the plane before your first distillery visit, but do not expect to know anything about whisky after having read this book.
Rating: 4/5

Spirit of Adventure, A journey beyond the whisky trails, Tom Morton, North Atlantic Media, 2nd Edition, 2007

This book is the true story of a Scot, Tom Morton, who suddenly decided to spend three weeks touring the Scotch whisky distilleries. This book reminds me of Iain Brinks, since both authors started their whisky journey, with basically not knowing the difference between a blend and a single malt. It is written in a very British style, like a narrative and if you do not like this style, then forget it. If you cope with the “British style”, then this book offers a nice and naïve view of the scotch whisky and its distilleries and a good lecture for your holidays.
Rating: 3/5


Ardbeg: A peaty Provenance, Gavin D. Smith & Graeme Wallace, GW Publishing, 2008.

The book is heavy, with a solid and nice cover page. The first contact with the book, which is confirmed by the content and its superb illustrations gives a feeling of quality. The text is rich and reads nicely, although the intensity and the details of the history of the distillery have not reached the same level as another book recently released (The Legend of Laphroaig). However, what I really appreciated, were the narratives from the former and current distillery employees, which provide life and dynamism to this book. The book also contains photographs of the collection of Geert, a famous Belgian Ardbeg collector.
Rating: 5/5


Whisky, Eyewitness Companions, Charles McLean et al., Dorling Kindersley, 2008

As you might expect from a DK book in the Eyewitness serie, this book benefits from its nice and colourful layout. This introductory book is written by Charles McLean, with the contribution of famous whisky writers such as Dave Broom, Ian Buxton, Ulf Buxrud, or Hans Offringa. It covers all aspects of the whisky, not only Scotch whisky, but also world whisky and includes tasting notes. The book is well written, clear, concise and an excellent introduction to whisky. My only comments are that the European section might have benefited from some extra pages and I was surprised that there was no diagram showing the whisky production process.
Rating: 5/5


Whisky Dream: Waking a giant. Suart Rivans, Birlinn Ltd, 2008

Partially autobiographic, partly promotional, this book retraces the creation of the Bruichladdich Company Ltd as seen by the some of the founders of the company (Mark Reynier, Simon Coughlin and Jim McEwan). Surprisingly, about Gordon Wright, one of the founders, there are no more than 2 lines. The book is quite well written and will interest anyone interested in the Bruichladdich distillery. However, if you have not heard of Bruichladdich and do not have basic knowledge about whisky production, then you might not fully benefit from reading this book.
Rating: 4/5


The Whiskies of Scotland, R.J.S. McDowall, John Murray, 3rd edition, 1975.

This was the last version published by Dr McDowall and it differs from the previous edition by supplements. I bought this version after having read the 4th  edition, since Dr Wraught re-wrote most of the text written by his father- in- law. This 3rd edition is quite different from the 4th and can be considered as two different books based on the same template. The content is very different and enjoyed the 3rd edition better than the 4th. It is concise, but very detailed and accurate. The text is pleasant to read and I found that the content is very up-to-date, as it seems that the whisky industry in 2008 is not much different than it was 30-35 years ago. A captivating book.
Rating: 5/5

Whisky Today, Michael Gill, Trafford Publishing, ed. 2006.

Well, the cover page is a reflection of the content: austere and with pictures of mediocre quality. On the back, it says “includes latest industry news”, but the news are a bit outdated. With an author with over 25 years in selling alcoholic beverage, you would expect something detailed and accurate, but this is not the case and the book contains a considerable amount of incorrect information and imprecisions. In conclusion, if you do not have this book in your library, you will not miss it.
Rating: 2/5

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