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Irish Whiskey: A 1000 year tradition, Malachy Magee, O’Brien Press 1991.
This is a short but concise and well written book about Irish whiskey, describing the raise and fall of this whisk(e)y. Irish distillers used to produce the best pot still whisk(e)y in the world and refused to produce any plain (grain) spirit like their Scottish cousins, since they did not wish to alter the quality of their products. Furthermore, the Irish whiskey was strongly affected by the American prohibition, period during which the Irish whiskey was altered by the bottleggers and by the political situation in Ireland preventing export to their main market: England. Most of the Irish distilleries closed in the 1920-40s, with the few remaining ones amalgating to form the Irish Distillers. In addition to the history of the Irish whisky industry, this book contains a short history for each Iris distillery over approximately 1 page. It might not be as exhaustive as most books about Scotch whiskey, but well worth reading.
Rating: 4/5


The Ballantine’s story, Jonathan Mantel, George Ballantine and Sons 1991
This book was remarkably well written by Jonhatan Mantel. It retraces the story of the Ballantine’s brand trough the years, one of the major whisky brand of Scotch whisky. The historical information, as well as the development of the company (e.g., acquisition and development of the distilleries) and of the brand are described in details, without being in the "advertising style" as some might expect. Copies of this book are quite hard to find, but definitely worth buying if you can find one. P.S.: You don’t need to be a Ballantine’s drinker to enjoy the book.
Rating: 5/5


Malt Whisky Companion, Michael Jackson, DK, 6th Edition, 2010
Dominic Roskrow, Gavin Smith and William Meyers updated the Whisky Companion from Michael Jackson, once the inheritance issues following his death (2007) have been resolved. The introduction is the same as in the previous versions and the main changes are the replacement of 500 references by new ones, as well a new small section on blends and whiskies of the world. The information regarding the distilleries and the original style of Michael Jackson has been retained. However, I regret that references of whiskies still marketed have been deleted and that the details of the new bottles (mainly for the independent bottlers) do not allow identifying the bottle tasted.

Rating: 4/5

Anatomy of the whisky business, Frank Kane, Lake House Press, 1965

Written more than 40 years by Frank Kane, who worked for 30 years in the whisky business, this book provides a very good understanding about the whisky industry in the US and relationship between retailer, importer and wholesaler.

Furthermore, the legislation regarding the sale of alcohol, USA is the most complicated country in the world, with each state having its own rule. Although it is an old book, it will provide a good understanding to the reader about the history of the development of the whisky market in the US and to better understand the current situation. An interesting book, well written, but not easy to read.

Rating: 4/5 (if you are interested in the whisky business in the US).


Whisky Talk, Andrew Jones, Judy Piatkus Publishers, 1997

Or a "spirited collection of facts and essential information of the world". Over 150 pages, Andrew Jones, know as The Flying Wine Man is literally flying over facts, whisky characters, definitions and the whiskies from Scotland to America via New Zealand. The amount of information is very limited and outdated. The author tried to cover too manic topics in one flight. If your are interested by facts, figures and talks about whisky, there are many better books such as Whisky Tales, Charles Maclean.

Rating: 2/5


Single Malt Whisky: An Italian Passion, Umberto Angeloni, Brioni, 1999.

For some whisky enthusiasts, the association of Italy and whisky is not a pleasant one (fake bottles), but no serious whisky enthusiast should forget that the history of single malts is strongly associated with Italy, the most important market for single malts from the 1960s until at least the end of the 1980s. The cover page illustrates well the content of the book: whisky, Italy, passion and "dolce vita". In the first section, the author describes the notion of luxury à l'italienne before moving to the magnificent five, the 5 most important whisky collectors of Italy and from the world. Then, the reader is guided through the history and the development of the "whisky" culture in Italy during the 1960-70s. The book is pleasantly written, with passion and with the omnipresent "Italian way of life". I would not have minded a expanded version of the magnificent 5.

Rating: 4/5


The Enduring Legacy of Dewars: A Company History, Ian Buxton, Angel's share, 1st Edition, 2010.

This richly illustrated book is retracing the history of the Dewar’s brand, one of the “Big Three”, including its two distilleries of Aberfeldy and Tullymet. The book is very well written, with Ian Buxton as much as possible lain terms, so that even the neophyte in whisky can enjoy this book. The illustrations are abundant and of excellent quality. Not only the history of the Dewar family and of the Dewar’s whisky is described, but also the building of the brand and the marketing strategy, showing the openness of the new owners, Bacardi. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this excellent book and I can only recommend it. This book is limited to 500 copies.
Rating: 5/5


Scotch missed: Lost distilleries of Scotland, Brian Townsend, Angel's share, 3rd Edition, 2004.
This is the definitive book on the closed and mothballed distilleries in Scotland and the only one published so far. If you want to know the story of Glenugie or of the Cambeltown's distilleries, you will find them on this book! Each section start with the history of area (i.e. Northern Highlands), before detailing over about 1 page the history of each closed and mothballed distillery. The quality of the print is good and contain a very fair amount of old black and white photographs. A very pleasant book and a must for any connoisseur. The work done by B. Townsend is remarkable.
Rating: 5/5


Whiskey & Philosophy, Fritz Allhoff and Marcus P. Adams, Wiley, 2009

Whisk(e)y & Philosophy is published by Wiley,, a famous publisher known for scientific publications. F. Allhof and M.P. Adams managed to compile diverse chapters written by well known whisky experts such as Ian Buxton or Chris Bunting, as well as by philosophers (well know too?). The book covers several topics such as Whisky & Authenticity and explores questions such as what is the best whisky. Some of the chapters (essays) might be too metaphysical for some whisky drinkers, but the result is an interesting book addressing questions that most of us have already thought about.

If you want to discover whisky from a different angle and do not mind reading something different, more scientific or philosophical than the xth general book about whisky, then this book might appeal to you.

Rating: 4/5

Distilleries of Moray: an illustrated survey, Mike Seton, Moray District Libraries, 1980.


This quite rare book is reaching a high price on the different auction platforms. This book is an illustrated survey of the 49 distilleries in activity in Morayshire in 1979. The content is rather limited, with 1 page per distillery. On each page, there is a black and white photograph of the distillery as well as 4-5 lines of text. The photographs are of average quality and not particularly sharp. In conclusion, the interest of this book is rather limited, even from a historical perspective.

Rating: 3/5

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