Page: previous , next


The Best Collection of Malt Scotch Whisky, Valentino Zagatti, Formaggrafica Edizioni, 1999
This book is a photographic collection of the bottles owned by Mr Zagatti, owner of one the largest (“best”) whisky collections in the world. The quality of the photographs is excellent and covers all brands of Scotch Single Malt whiskies, including some whisky bottles from the 19th Century and from the early 20th Century. The core of the collection is from whisky bottles from the 1960-80s and commented both in English and in Italian. If you are a whisky collector or looking for a reference for old whisky bottles, this book is a worthwhile addition to your bookshelf.
Rating: 3/5 (for the general public) and 5/5 for the whisky collector.


The Return to the Glen: Adventures on the Scotch Whisky Trail, Richard Grindal, Alvin Rosenbaum Projects, 1991.
By the same author as The Spirit of Whisky, the content ishows strong similarities, but the flow not as smooth. The photographs are of very good quality for 1991, but somewhat too much of a cliché for me. In addition, for a general book, the content is somewhat light and would have benefited of a better structure.
Rating: 3/5

The Spirit of Whisky, Richard Grindal, Warner Books, 1992.
The style of the author is very pleasant to read, fresh, entertaining,  the book and covers all aspects about whisky.This book is rather short, but every reader will learn something while reading it. The author has been working in the whisky industry for several decades and the book contains information that has not been published elsewhere. It is not the most recent book, but most of the information is still up to date and I really enjoyed it.
Rating: 5/5


Chameleon Eye: James Buchanan & Company Limited, 1884-1984, Brian Spiller, 1984.

This book retraces the life of James Buchanan and the development of the famous whisky brand Black & White. The book is very well written and Brian Spiller was fortunate to have access to archives of the family as well as to these of the brand owner. The result is a captivating book, rich in information, without distracting the reader with an overload of details. The sections about marketing and distribution are the most informative ones I have read so far. It provides an interesting coverage of the evolution of the bottling and shipment since the 19th Century. In those days, the bottles used to be washed, hand filled and labelled, individually wrapped and placed in solid wooden boxes. It shows how productivity has changed and how the marketing techniques have evolved.

Not an easy book to find, but definitely worth reading. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

Rating: 5/5


101 Whiskies to try before you die, Ian Buxton, Hachette Scotland, 2010

Well, another whisky tasting book? Yes! So what is different? Well, this book contains a limited number of whiskies (i.e., 101) that can be easily found in shops and that are affordable. A few whiskies are worth over £250 (e.g., Highland Park 40 YO), but most of them can be found for less than £40 in most shops. Do not expect exclusive to find any single casks bottlings from an obscure independent bottlers, but only bottles that can be easily found worldwide. Not only Scotch whiskies are included, but also Irish, American, or Indian whiskies, for example.

The tasting notes are clear and give a good indication about what you might expect once you have opened the seal of the bottle. Secondly, tasting notes are provided and without any rating. It is simply about appreciation, so that the fun of whisky tasting (and drinking) remains (with moderation).

Otherwise, the layout is very bright and pleasant, and in addition to the tasting notes, information about the distilleries are provided in an "open", sometimes ironic style. Ian does not hide what he thinks and I like this style.  In conclusion, I enjoyed reading this book very much, especially if you want to read something relaxing and fresh.

Rating: 4/5

  Glenglassaugh: A Distillery Reborn, Ian Buxton, Angel's share and Glenglassaugh Distillery, 2010.

Written by Ian Buxton and illustrated by the beautiful photographs of Ian Macilwain ("Bottled History"), I really appreciated reading this book. Although supported by the Glenglassaugh distillery, the book is not a promotional book, as one might expect it.

The historical section is well documented and the text reads very well. Ian Buxton managed to recreate the special atmosphere I experienced when I visited the distillery in company of Graham Eunson, the distillery manager in 2009.  A large section is dedicated to work done by Stuart Nickerson and Graham Eunson. It is not everyday that a distillery is reborn and the story is worth reading.

Rating 5/5


The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom, Alfred Barnard, Birlinn Limited. 2008 ed.

This book is The reference book regarding whisky history. In his journey through the UK between 1885 and 1887, Alfred Barnard visited all the distilleries of Scotland and Ireland (and rest of UK) and published them in the Harper’s gazette. Every distillery is described over a few pages, including a drawing. Since Alfred Barnard was interested in the technical details, his work is utmost importance when studying the evolution of the technical processes in the whisky industry over the last 100 years. Unfortunately, there are no tasting notes. If you are interested in the history of the whisky distilleries, this book must be on your shelf. The original book is now selling for a few thousand £, but this facsimile is of very good quality and contain the same information at a very attractive price. So why not going for the copy?

Rating 5/5

Highland Park: A good foundation, 1924, reprint  by Brollachand Ltd (Ian Buxton) for Highland Distillery, 2010

This book is a facsimile of a promotional booklet published in 1924 by Highland Park to promote sales of fillings (new makes) to blenders. Found by Ian Buxton in a B&B on Islay, this booklet provides a good insight about the method of production at Highland Park 90 years ago. Included in the book are a fair number of black and white photographs from that period. A high quality print, with an interesting introduction from Ian Buxton and a worthwhile addition to your bookshelf if you can find it.

Rating: 5/5


The Whisky Companion, William Grant & Sons Distillers Ltd, 2004

Written by employees from William Grant & Sons (i.e., Givran, Glenfiddich and The Balvenie distilleries) and by well-known whisky writers like Ian Buxton or David Stirk, this book is a compilation of wide range of short articles on a wide range of topics covering the production (from malting to maturation) of whisky (grain and malt), as well as technical aspects like pot still manufacturing. This book is well written, without any overlaps, and pleasant to read. It is very informative and should have deserved more attention that it received. Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5


Locke's distillery, Andrew Bielenberg, Lilliput Press, 1993.

The distillery of Locke, previously known as Burna or Kilbegaan, is the Irish distillery with the most complete collection of historical archives. The author did an impressive and in depth historical work and checking all available references. As a result, this is one, if not the most detailed book I have ever read about the history of a distillery (Irish or Scottish). Even if the amount of the details is impressive, it reads quite smoothly. Since the author describes the history of the distillery and makes a parallel with the Irish whisky industry, this book is of interest not only for the enthusiasts of Locke’s distillery, but to the Irish whiskey industry in general. An impressive piece of work.

Rating: 5/5

Copyright © 2010 All Rights Reserved